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Seen at the Worlds of June, 2014

27 July 2014 Phil Smidmore

Hardesty, Roble, Canfield and Eagan celebrate

"Hardesty, Roble, Canfield and Eagan celebrate"

Photo by:
Sharon Green

As usual, it was interesting looking at the various boats at the Newport Worlds. There were several new boats from Ontario and Heritage, whilst Jan Muysken's UAE1400, the African Queen, was from our new Australian mould. Our new measurer, Bill Abbott, was very thorough and found a number of measurement defects including keels (some slightly too long), too much clearance around bulkhead entry holes (holes elongated with wear), goosenecks positioned too low, several spinnaker poles too long and some jib luffs were also too long.

New systems on display were mostly the jib barber hauler (in-out) set-ups and mast ram/lever systems of varying designs. These were installed on a few boats both old and new. Nearly all boats were sporting Brolga turnbuckles, but many had new threads and toggles fitted. A lot had longer threads on the caps to raise them above the lowers for even easier adjustment. Hulls and masts came from all makers, while nearly all sails bore either North's or Doyle's logos.

Most interesting was Bill Hardesty's wining boat. It is a 1994 Ontario, which has been well maintained, but hardly altered from original. This is the boat in which Bill has now won three World Championships. The mast is the original Proctor and the boat does not have Brolga turnbuckles. It has no bow ring frame and he uses a pin stop jib car track, which he thinks he should take off, as they never change the car position. His boat also has a low timber tiller, the jib and spinnaker ratchets are the old Harken 015/016 type and despite sailing four up, the mainsheet swivel is on the back of the console. The spinnaker pole track is a pin stop type, the pole is always stowed on the foredeck as there are no pole holders on the boom, the boat has a spinnaker bag rather than any form of box and the mast side chocks are on the sides of the gate rather than on the mast. The main traveller is most the most unusual item, however. It is located just inside the cockpit, which is where it was when Bill bought the boat. He says, "I would like it aft, but I also like the low profile."

Generally all the boat's controls are kept simple and minimal, but effective. Bill says, "We really focus on the big lines. Main and jib sheet have the biggest effect. It's very easy to over complicate the systems. We started with five batten choices for the jib. Three top and two bottom. We simplified it to only two for the top and left the soft in the bottom. We only use the stiff top batten in the main." They alter the forestay a total of 20 turns (about 16mm) and usually leave the mast butt in the same position.

The low tiller allows Bill to adopt a rather unique downwind steering style where he sits on the windward side of the thwart facing forward with the tiller tucked onto his side and although his head is constantly swivelling side to side, indeed almost rotating backwards, he hardly moves the tiller.

Bill has experimented with jib barber haulers, but came to the same conclusion regarding them as Dennis Conner did some 20 years ago - they are not required. He will probably install a mast lever in the future, but is quite happy with the chocks for now.

Bill operates on a minimal budget and works closely with his sail maker, Vince Brun. The chief ingredient to his success is time on the water with his very dedicated crew. They really do spend a lot of time sailing. Bill hikes off the mainsheet, which is on the aft side of the console. The main trimmer hikes off the hiking line and adjusts the mainsheet with the fine tune line. "We do conditioning training to hike better for longer." It shows, as no crew hiked harder or longer than this winning foursome. As soon as the start gun went, as well as for the few seconds prior, and then until they crossed the finish line, all four were fully hiked. They made some great comebacks in a couple of races and won the series with a race to spare.

In the thick of it! Just part of the large fleet assembled for the 2014 Worlds

"In the thick of it! Just part of the large fleet assembled for the 2014 Worlds"

Photo by:
Sharon Green


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