Bada Boom, Bada Bing
There were so many stories of collisions among the 60-strong Etchells fleet on Saturday that I’ve lost count. In the windy, rough conditions, the usual light, “eggshell” taps are transformed into something more…substantial. Most incredibly, an cruiser somehow got into the middle of the course near the windward gates – and the sailor was amazingly inspired to round the port gate and head around the offset mark. With the fleet crowding around, Chicago sailor Rock Kaiser gently offered suggestions to the wayward cruiser, but he was already a deer in the headlights and bashed an Etchells with his transom as he flailed about.
You’ll recall that the windward gate was a 2008 addition to a big Etchells fleet, and with the dual offsets, it works wonders for spreading the fleet out – but the talent in this class means that a lot of them are always going to get to the bottom within seconds of the rest. While all the bar talk after Saturday’s carnage was about the Islander, I watched Argyle Campbell’s boat nearly sink after being holed by some friends who were mere inches from us – Argyle was not so lucky. “We had to tack to port for a short time to get back home, and the water came in like a fire hose,” said Argyle. You can’t help but cringe at the sound of fiberglass crunching – and while everyone was OK, Argyle’s day was obviously over.
So the bashing and crunching – that’s the bad news. The good news was yet more fantastic competition. Sunday morning the forecast was similar to Saturday’s, with breeze in the 13-18 range out of the ENE. I ran into one of Bill Hardesty’s crew at the scoreboard and noted that they were 14 points out of first. He said, “We can do that.” And sure enough – they did.
Hardesty is a very intense guy – it’s practice, practice, practice – they were out on Friday as soon as their crew arrived from the airport and geared up. Morgan Larson and Larry Suter usually set up a W/L racecourse on Friday afternoon and welcome all comers. It’s a short course that pushes the boat handling skills of the crew, working out some of those winter cobwebs before the regatta starts.
Sunday, Hardesty and Brun read the clouds for pressure and picked their spots perfectly, pulling out a 1,2. Jud Smith couldn’t hold on to his lead in the face of these scores, and Hardesty went on to win by just a point. The scores deeper in the fleet were tight including ties for third and fifth, once again proving how hard it is to win in this tough fleet.
Here are the top 7. Click here for full results.
- Bill Hardesty, Vince Brun, Eric Shampain, Jennifer Wilson: 12
- Jud Smith, Dirk Kneulman, Darby Smith, Tim King: 13
- Ante Razmilovic, Stuart Flinn, Chris Larson: 23
- Tony Rey, Billy Bennett, Ched Proctor: 23
- Jeff Linton, Frank Atkinson, Jamie Stewart: 24
- Marvin Beckman, Tim Banks, Andrew Lee :24
- Bryon Eherhart, Rodney Hagebols, Chris Lieffereink, : 27
Photo Becky DaMore/Sail22