Monday, June 07, 2010

Six months of training or instant chemistry

The Etchells North American Championship begin in San Diego on Wednesday, but for a lot of teams the preparation began over the winter. Amid an intensive renovation of San Diego Yacht Club, the local Etchells fleet has hosted out of town boats for practice and the monthly one design regatta. While best laid plans would have allowed for hugely competitive training events, Southern California chose to have an actual winter that saw most every storm synched with the regatta schedule. The end result was cancelled races or conditions atypical of June sailing.

What has given the North Americans additional drawing power is that the class World Championship is one year away at the same venue. Committed sailing programs from Jud Smith of Doyle Sails, Dave Ullman of Ullman Sails, and Vince Brun of North Sails have also heightened the interest. The entry list now numbers 43, and includes local heavy hitters like Dennis Conner, Bruce Nelson, Chris Busch, and Brian Camet.

One team that also hopes to have an impact will be led by 2008 World Champion Bill Hardesty, who called me four weeks ago to join him. Bill reminded me that it had only been 20 years since we had sailed Snipes together, which was preceded by a cross-country drive and a towing accident that involved Mark Reynold’s Star boat (sorry again Mark!). Fortunately we are joined by Mandi Markee, who Bill has teamed with in match racing, and Tyler Sinks who arrives home after helping his Boston College team win the Coed Dinghy Nationals.

We all will meet for the first time Tuesday to find our boat ‘Line Honors’ with her rig down and in need of a bit of work to get her going. We will soon find out what is better: six months of training or instant chemistry. In this era where the cost and effort to remain competitive may be be slipping out of reach for some people, I know I will be rooting for us. - Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt editor

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