Capping off an unprecedented 2015 racing season including 2 World Championship titles, Bill Hardesty has been nominated as US Sailings 2015 Rolex Yachtsman of the year. Recognizing significant sailing accomplishments in 2015, US Sailing's Rolex Yachtsman of the year is chosen by a panel of sailing journalists based on the merits of each nominee over the past year. Announced in January, winners of this prestigious award will be recognized in February of 2016 at a ceremony in New York at the NYYC.
Joining an impressive field of sailors from the United States, Hardesty rose to the top of Grand-Prix, One-Design racing classes in 2015 winning World Championships in the hyper competitive Melges 20 and J70 classes while taking podium finishes in the highly polished RC 44 and Etchells classes. "We had some big goals in 2015 and coming away with World Titles in the Melges 20 and J70 was a huge success,” commented Hardesty. "Winning one world championship is a major accomplishment, and to win two in the same calendar year is really special."
While the Melges 20 and J70 share similarities as the most competitive sportboats world-wide, there were distinct differences in winning World Championships in both classes. “The Melges 20 was a smaller, more dense fleet in terms of talent so there was a strong fight for every inch on the race course. Racing in San Francisco also put an emphasis on having a strong understanding of the big breeze, current and how best to get around the course,” commented Hardesty. “The J70 Worlds had a much bigger fleet (78 Boats) which was tough, and not being as familiar with the venue in La Rochelle, France as our competitors was a big challenge. We managed to get a good handle on what was working from a tactical standpoint relatively quick which helped us stay consistent and win the Worlds.”
Competing at the Melges 20 and J70 Worlds against many past US Rolex Yachtsman of the Year winners, Hardesty understands that winning world championships against such a strong field of competitors does not come easy, "The sailors and tacticians in the Melges 20, J70 and RC 44s are some of the best in the world, many of which have won this award and some of the most prestigious awards in sailing. I am fortunate to have been involved with some great programs that helped make sure all the pieces were in place to succeed.” never easy. We will have to work hard to win 1 world championship this coming season let alone 2. With more hard work and determination, maybe we can go for 3!" commented a laughing Hardesty.
Best of 2015 Results
- J/70 World Championship, La Rochelle, FRA (1st/78 boats – tactician)
- Audi Melges 20 World Championship, San Francisco, Calif. (1st/39 boats – tactician)
- Sperry Charleston Race Week, Charleston, S.C (1st/83 J/70s – tactician)
- RC44 Marstrand Cup, Martrand, Sweden (2nd/12 RC44 - tactician)
- Melges Rocks Regatta, Coconut Grove, Fla. (1st/33 Melges 20s – tactician)
- WesMex Int Small Boat Regatta, Puerto Vallarta, MEX (1st/9 J/70s – tactician)
- Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Series No 2, Miami, Fla. (3rd/37 boats – tactician)
- Bacardi Miami Sailing Week, Miami, FLa (2nd/45 J/70s – tactician)
- Etchells US Nationals, San Diego, Calif. (2nd/24 Etchells – helm)
- Cr914 National Championship, San Diego, Calif. (3rd/19 boats – helm)
- Helly Hansen Annapolis NOOD, Annapolis, Md. (6th/57 J/70s – tactician)