Three-way fight for lead at Etchells US Nationals
Published on April 11th, 2015
San Diego, CA (April 11, 2015) – When a fleet’s roster has as many World Championships as the 2015 Etchells US National Championship, you know the points are going to be tight. By the end of the regatta’s second day of racing, only three points separated Bill Hardesty, Marvin Beckmann and Argyle Campbell in the top three spots.
For current regatta leader Bill Hardesty, the competition is close in more than just points. Hardesty won the 2014 Etchells World Championship sailing with both Steve Hunt and Stephanie Roble, who are now crewing with Marvin Beckmann.
With points this tight, Hardesty knows that holding onto his current place on top will be a challenge in the next two races. “There’s a famous saying in sailing that you can’t win the regatta on the first day, but you can definitely lose it,” Hardesty explained. “Our goal for every regatta is to sail so that we have a chance to win going into the last day.” Hardesty and his crew finished Day Two with a total of 15 points.
One point away from first is World Champion Marvin Beckmann, who is grateful for the tight-knit group of scores at the top. “It’s good that there are three boats really in the running for first,” Beckmann says. “That way there aren’t just two boats chasing each other around.”
The wind on the second regatta day was off to a slow start on Coronado Roads, with the Race Committee deciding to wait for the breeze to pick up and fill out before starting. Racing was postponed until 12:30 PM, where breezes of about 7-8 kts took boats off the starting line.
Three races were completed during the day, with the chance to throw out lowest scores being activated at Race Five. Only two possible races remain in the regatta, per the Sailing Instructions that dictate the regatta must have no more than eight total races.
After leading the fleet around the course for all of Race Four, Andy La Dow and his crew earned their first bullet of the regatta. La Dow found a solid puff on the last downwind leg and finished well before the rest of the fleet.
In Race Five, Beckmann went far left off the starting line as the rest of the fleet stayed closer towards the middle of the course. As it turned out, Beckmann saw something that the rest didn’t: the fast track to the top. Beckmann and his crew held their lead throughout the race, finishing first.
The third time was the charm in Race Six, which underwent two general recalls before the z flag went up and Race Committee reminded competitors of the 5:00 PM racing deadline. Finally the fleet was able to get a successful start, but Phil Lotz, Bruce Nelson and Xavier Sheid were OCS and forced to accept the z flag penalty.
The competition continues tomorrow on Coronado Roads, with the first signals scheduled for about 11:30 AM. The Etchells National Championship and the West Coast Series are hosted by the San Diego Yacht Club and sponsored by Land Rover San Diego and North Sails.
Report by event media. Photo by Bob Betancourt.