Etchells Worlds 2011- Bill Hardesty returns to San Diego

by Bill 
Bill Hardesty, Erik Shampain, Steve Hunt, and Jennifer Wilson of San Diego take their first Etchells World Championship - 2008 Etchells World Championships Chicago
Etchells Worlds - San Diego Yacht Club (SDYC) and Etchells Fleet 13, co-hosts of Etchells Worlds 2011, today reported that hometown icon Bill Hardesty, (Etchells World Champion, Chicago, 2008), is returning to his home yacht club of SDYC to begin a concerted campaign to win the 2011 Etchells World Championships, to be sailed in Hardesty’s home waters off San Diego.

Hardesty’s entry brings to five the number of former world champions who have been participating in the local regattas for purposes of tuning up for the world title (Dennis Conner, Judd Smith, Vince Brun, Dirk Kneulman). Hardesty plans to have Point Loma High School sailing coach Steve Hunt on board for the worlds. Hunt recently finished second out of 47 boats while sailing Line Honors, hull number 979, on loan from Hardesty.

The Etchells is a fixed keel racing sloop which weighs 3250 pounds and is sailed by a weight limited crew of three or four. First designed in 1968 by world class boat designer Skip Etchells as a potential competitor in the Olympics, the Etchells class is known for its fiercely competitive yet close knit competitors. Despite beating the eventual Olympic selection, the Soling, the Etchells (then referred to as an Etchells 22 for its 22 foot long waterline), instead relied on grass roots growth and a strong commitment to its one design integrity.

In addition to a timeless design and strong fleet organization, the Etchells class remains one of the few classes open to professional crew and weekend warriors alike. It remains a draw to the fleet that the weekend sailor can compete, and occasionally (and usually temporarily) prevail over sailing greats such as Dennis Conner, Gary Jobson, Ian Murray, Vince Brun, Judd Smith and Kenny Read.

The 2011 Etchells World Championships will draw approximately 75 boats from 12 different countries, from as far away as the UAE, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australia. Although the event commences with boat measurements on June second through the fourth, and racing on June fifth, there are several feeder regattas for which sixty boats will compete.

The SLAM Etchells Midwinters will be April 8th through the tenth, and the Sailing Supply Sailing Supply Orca Bowl - Pre-Worlds will be on May 21-22.

With some teams already taking up part time residence, the Point Loma area is abuzz with Etchells sailors and added economic activity has been welcomed by the local businesses.

Etchells Worlds and San Diego Yacht Club