(From Aquarius Sail Inc. website - aquarius-sail.com) Bill learned to sail and first began racing sailboats in the Snipe class at the age of 12. He sailed during the summer months on a Tennessee river reservoir near Chattanooga. He was fortunate to grow up in a very active Snipe fleet with some of the top sailors in the country. By the age of 17, Billy, as he was called at that time, had won the US Snipe Class National Junior Championship twice. This was to be the beginning of many top level sailing achievements. The next year he attended Vanderbilt University where he studied Mechanical Engineering, while sailing / racing was set aside for a few years. After graduating in 1962 Bill went to work in the Aerospace industry for Pratt & Whitney Aircraft at the Florida Research and Development Center near West Palm Beach Florida. There he did design and performance analysis work on the J58 jet engine and SR71 aircraft better known as the “Blackbird.” In the 1970s and 80s Bill worked on the F100 engine and the F15 and F16 fighter aircraft. Bill continued his full time career in the Aerospace industry in the 1990s by working in Pratt & Whitney’s Advanced Design Group investigating advanced engine and aircraft concepts. Bill holds several patents relating to Jet engine design which he acquired throughout his 37 years in the Jet Engine Business. Now back to Sailing. Bill returned to sailing on the FLYING DUTCHMAN Dutchman in 1965. This was the two man Olympic boat with one trapeze and a spinnaker. It was here that he designed, developed and patented the “spinnaker launcher and retraction system” that has spread to many classes today. Bill and his crew made an Olympic effort in 1968 where they finished third in the US Olympic trials. In 1970 Bill began sailing in the CONTENDER class, a one man trapeze boat. This boat originally came out of an International Yacht Racing Union design competition and was targeted for the Olympics. Bill was US national Champion on the Contender six years in a row. In the mid and late 1970s Bill began designing wing sails, sails with thickness, and then beach catamarans. In 1978 Bill and a partner started a boat company called Formulae Racing Sailboats under which they designed and produced the SuperCat product line. The SuperCat catamaran design included several unique patented features. One of these features was the elliptical hull shape to reduce the pitchpoling tendency of multihull sailboats. This design feature has become an industry standard in multihulls of all sizes. Many of the big ocean racers, both cats and tri’s utilize the elliptical hull shape. The foredeck of these high-speed ocean racers frequently run underwater as much as they run on top of the water, flat decks just won’t cut it! Examples include TEAM PHILIPS, SEABAGO, FURY, and the amas on most of the recently designed large ocean racing trimarans. In 1980 Bill went to Holland and sailed the Round Texel Island Race. The conditions that year were some of the fiercest that the race has ever been held in. Bill took line honors that year and set the lowest elapsed time record for the race on a SUPERCAT 20. That record stood for several years, and has now been bettered by another SUPERCAT 20. In 1981 Boston Whaler purchased Formulae Racing Sailboats. That same year the SuperCat product line attended ‘Yachting’ Magazine’s “One Of A Kind Regatta” at New Orleans. Here the SuperCat’s dominated the races, taking line honors in every heat and also taking first and second place overall based on corrected time while sailing against the top teams sailing the California designed boats. Bob Bergsted sailed the SUPERCAT 17 even up with the NACRA 5.2, a “beach boat” pitted against what was considered to be an excellent “board boat.” The SUPERCAT 20 was the only US designed and built boat to ever win this race. Throughout the 1980s Bill remained active in the catamaran industry by sailing, promoting and designing new boats. In 1984 Bill started designing and developing the RC-27, a design which would set the standard for many boats well into the future. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s the RC-27 set numerous records in the US and Europe. In 1989 Bill, his son Eric, and Peter Zboyan set the record for the lowest elapsed time in the Miami Key Largo race at 1 hour 44 minutes for the 45 mile course, that is an average speed of 26 knots! Bill along with his son Eric and sail maker Dave Posey also hold the record at 2 hours and 53 minutes for the 38 mile MUG Race at Jacksonville Florida. In the early 1990s Bill teamed up with Aquarius Sail to continue production of the RC-27 and introduce the ARC-22 (introduced at that time under the SC-22 nameplate). In 1996 Bill continued his commitment to the design of high performance catamarans with the introduction of the RC-30 and in 2000 the ARC-21. Bill has now left Pratt & Whitney and spends his days near the water designing and testing his latest sailing designs. You will also find Bill on the racecourse, but lately he has given up the helm to his son Eric who he now crews for. Bill throughout the years has not only set, but has raised the standard for catamaran design and sailing today. Whether it was on a SuperCat, ARC-21, ARC-22, RC-27, or RC-30, Bill has helped to shape the catamaran industry over the past 20 years and will continue to do so well into the 21st century.
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