Louis Vuitton Pacific Series: Auckland
Auckland, February 12, 2009
Kevin Hall has competed in nearly every kind of racing. From an IYRU World Youth Single-handed Sailing championship at age 16 to a trip to the America’s Cup final with Emirates Team New Zealand in 2007, Hall has spent much of his life on the water.
His two young sons will have that chance as well. A native of Ventura, California, Hall has chosen to raise his two sons in New Zealand. Luckily, finding a job was not an issue, but first up was a return to his roots.
Hall has seen a great deal of America’s Cup action -- AmericaOne in 2000 and OneWorld in 2003 -- but the open space in between Cups called him back to the dinghy world. Getting used to being on his own again, with no teammates to rely on, was step one.
“I started out in a Star with a good friend,” said Hall, “but found that to be too much like work. It was like the America’s Cup job, where you had to be so meticulous with every little bit. The racing’s fantastic, it’s a competitive class, but I wasn’t enjoying the time on the water enough.
“I did that for two months and ended up, kind of on a whim, just getting a Finn and going over to Europe. I almost quit at my very first event in Holland -- it was really windy and it turned out I picked my stiffest mast, had my centerboard all the way forward and I had a light sail -- I didn’t have a clue that that was about as hard as it gets. I almost stopped as soon as I started, but fortunately, I stuck with it and I enjoyed it.
“But it’s the double edged sword -- you get to do it all on your own but it’s all on you if it doesn’t go the way you want. It’s certainly nice to go from a big team to being able to call your own shots. But after a while, you start to miss the team thing.
“I’d done a lot of single-handed sailing before, but this made me appreciate all the great things about being on a team, things you miss when you don’t have them. But it’s very much a ‘grass is greener’ thing. After two years of doing a very specialized job, you want to do a little bit on your own. After a little bit of that, you really want to be back with the guys on the team!”
That’s when Emirates Team New Zealand came calling. Hall joined fellow American Terry Hutchinson in the afterguard of ETNZ, Hall serving as navigator. It was catalyst for changing his personal life, too.
“My wife and I decided we wanted to raise our boys in New Zealand, completely independent of the America’s Cup and Team New Zealand. It just worked out. This is a great team and a lot of my friends are on the team, so I am grateful to have the opportunity to continue to sail with them.”
Hall, like everyone else, is chuffed to be back on the water.
“This event is fantastic, it’s just great racing. I like this format a lot, where we’re in the harbor; it’s a little more dynamic than anything we’ve done before. Here we have big shifts, very short legs. After doing this for a little while, the legs don’t seem that short to me -- of course, I’m not downstairs trying to pack the spinnaker on a 1.5 mile beat!
“We’re all just thrilled to be out there on the water together, to have the chance to catch up with old friends on other teams. There are a lot of people in town and everyone’s just trying to make the most of that. I think that the spirit on the water is pretty friendly – everyone’s helping out with the boats when they could be walking away. I think all that’s really positive.”
-- Reporting by Diane Swintal for CupInfo/©2009 CupInfo
Links of Interest:
Inquiries please contact: