Sailing Tips from a World Champ

Champion sailor Bill Hardesty

Champion sailor Bill Hardesty

Bill Hardesty asked the crowd, “How many of you have a plan before the start?” Did you raise your hand? I did. But then he explained what he meant by a plan and suddenly mine looked pretty incomplete.

Bill Hardesty’s sailing resume is gold-plated: 10-time world champion, a 30-time national champ, and 2011 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year.

When Bill makes a plan for a start, he breaks it down to the second before doing what we all need to do when a plan doesn’t quite match the situation: improvise.

And had you heard of the 20-80 rule? Short explanation: it’s the rule that keeps you from driving all the way to the layline on one tack, leaving yourself some margin for wind shifts or competing boats getting in the way. If you have 20% of one tack remaining and 80% of the other, it’s time to turn the boat.

We had a nice June turnout to hear this exceptional sailor, watching as he moved magnetic boats and sketched starts and mark roundings and kept us all engaged and thinking.

It takes a lot of people to make a meeting go smoothly and Commodore Chris Smith says, “Mike and Maryellen Ferring provided the white board, boats and markers. Peter Lehrach and Victor Felice helped with the set up and dismantling of the sound system and screen and Victor took some fun photos. Steve Brown brought the trophies. Lori Reger welcomed guests. Peter Lehrach worked with Jim Brewer to kick off preparations for next year’s Birthday Regatta and Leukemia Cup. And big thanks to Cindy Pillote for digging into her personal supply of AYC swag, which we gave to Bill.”

Bill Hardesty talks through what it means to have a plan before the start of a race. Photo: Chris Smith

Bill Hardesty talks through what it means to have a plan before the start of a race. Photos: Chris Smith