Also an iceboating fanatic, Hall likens the performance of A-Class cats to sailing DN Iceboats. "These boats are so refined and efficient, I mean they're really like a sailing machine
.You can do the wild thing and fly a hull downwind, which is a lot like sailing iceboats." But perhaps the best thing about these craft, says Hall, is that they accommodate a broad range of sailors. He likes to point out that at the world championships in Italywhere the conditions ranged from six to 20 knotsthe age span among the top 20 finishers ran from 21 to 57 and their weights ranged from 145 to 205 pounds. "I don't think there's any other class whereat the world levelyou could come close to saying that."
But are these boats easy to sail? "I suppose if you have reasonable coordination," explains Hall, "they're really not that hard to learn. And, if you have trapeze experience, that helps. The great thing is that the boats aren't overpoweringthey don't take brute force, it's more of a finesse situation," he says. "I sail against guys that are less than half my age and I compete pretty well against them."
Hall sums up A-Class sailing in a single word: "Whether you're racing or just going out for a one-hour sail," he says, "it's exhilarating. I sail on a lot of different keelboats for our customers, but if I had my druthers I'd sneak out and sail my A Class." Along with several of his cat-sailing brethren, Hall routinely makes the trip from Bristol to Newport, roughly 18 miles on the water, just for sport. "I think my record for sailing in one day is 64 miles. It's just a lot of fun
.The other thing cool about the boat," he says, "is that you can be on the water in 20 minutes and in one hour you have all the therapy you need." Don't tell your psychiatrist, but here's a boat worth looking into.
The A Team
For updates and additional information on the 2001 A-Class North American Championships, log on to the host's website at www.abyc.org. And, if you'd like to get in touch with the US A-Class Association, log on to their website at www.geocities.com/naaca/usaca.html.
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