After two days of registration and welcome party the 2015 Hobie® Australian Hobie Championships the racing got underway. The strong southerly breeze that battered the recent Sydney to Hobart fleet had dropped to perfect 8-12 knots. The Hobie 16 sailors were very eager and had many general recalls which kept the fleet out on the water. But with with flat water and a great sailing breeze the Hobie Wild Cat, Tigers and Hobie 18 were sailing at maximum speed.
The sailors from all around Australia plus the international sailors from Netherlands, South Africa, New Caledonia, Denmark and Papua and New Guinea enjoyed the warm weather with perfect sailing Hobie sailing conditions.
It was long day out on the water for the sailors with 4 back-to-back to races. With the Hobie 16 spending 8 hours on the water. Series leader Rod and Kerry Waterhouse commented ‘it was tough day on the water, it was easy to lose places’
The Wild Cat leader Mark Griffith and Kevin ‘Kevlar’ Winchester lead with Brett White and Kingsley Pursch a close second with pre race favourite Peter and Bailey Skewes has a ‘hearbreaking’ day on the water. Pete thought he was playing golf as he found ‘all 18 holes’.
Kerrie Andrew and Kelinin Driver lead the Tiger sailed well in a very hot Tiger fleet.
Eight Hobie 18 took to the water to fight it out. Defending Australian ChampionRichard Quinn is fighting a tough battle with his long time rival Glen Gilbert who is the current NSW Champion.
Port Stephens turned on a perfect day for the last day of 2015. There was a slight delay in the morning waiting for the easterly sea breeze to arrive. At midday the sea breeze arrived and the sailors started the races in 6 knot building breeze.
The second race for the day the breeze had built to 8-10 knots with all classes double trapezing.
The third race the breeze had built to 12-15 knots and moved left slightly.
With the fourth race producing the best conditions of the championships so far. 15 knots and steady breeze producing some excellent racing.
Rod and Kerry Waterhouse “that was perfect sailing conditions today‘
Former Hobie 16 World Champion Mick Butler ‘I happy to be in contention as we are only at the half way point of the championships’
Peter “Doogie” Mc Dougal ‘ I think I came 2nd or 3 last but just had the best time of my life‘
The Hobie sailors at the Australian Hobie Championships had best way to see out 2015 with the best Hobie sailing sailing weather in a beautiful location surrounded by Hobie friends. Many are planing their 2016 and have started to prepare for the 21st Hobie 16 World Championships in Shenzhen. With registration starting on the 12th January they are planing to be some of the first to enter to ensure they get the free shuttle from the Shenzhen airport to the host hotel.
Many thanks to Hobie® Cat Australasia for the wonderful drone footage.
The first race in 2016 prosecuted a slow start for the sailors at the Australian Hobie Championships. The North East and South East breeze fought each other till the South East breeze finally won out. Four races were sailed for the Wild Cat, Tiger and Hobie 18. The Hobie 16 had three races as they again had multiple recalls.
The first race was sailing in about 6 knots of breeze that was slowly building during the day. This eased most of the sailors back into their Hobie sailing for 2016. Unfortunately for Peter and Juliette Bates 2016 didn’t start as well as they hoped. They were lying in 2nd place but an OCS and then a black flag has ended any chance of their championships hope.
In the Hobie 16 Rod and Kerry Waterhouse have shown remarkable constancy in a very competitive Hobie 16 fleet. Rod, ‘it was really hard out there. In one race we were in the 30’s but managed to fish 4th. It is just mentally tiring racing out there‘
Mark Griffith and Kevin Winchester lead the Wild Cat. Mark said ‘it is tough racing out there and the fleet is very competitive. One mistake and you lose places’.
Charles from South Africa ‘ the first race was light and filling in for the 2nd race the wind wind with twin trapezing. We all were screaming downwind, it was just a lot of fun’.
Tomorrow the racing concludes with four new Australian Hobie Champions announced. With the top Hobie 16 sailors been given the pre-qualified spot for the 21st Hobie 16 World Championships in Shenzhen, China.
Day 4 and final day
On the last day of the Australian Hobie® Championships the clouds rolled to be the first overcast day. With a light 5 knot Southerly breeze the boats left the beach to decide who would be the next Australian Hobie Champion in the Wild Cat, Tiger, Hobie 16 and Hobie 18 classes. Unfortunately after being out on the water the wind died and a rain started to move in. The race committee sent the boats back to shore for safety.
After the rain stopped the breeze came back to an 8 knots and the sailors left the beach. As the race started the wind increased to 12-14 knots. With 2 races sailed to conclude the championships.
New Australian Hobie 16 Champions, Rod and Kerry Waterhouse were astatic with their win. Kerry said ‘what a great boat, you can be 16 or 60 years old and win. Jason (son) already has his name on the trophy so he would have been 18 years old when he won. Now we have our name on the trophy’ On the Hobie 16 Worlds in China, ‘we were going anyway and now we will be even more committed’
Former Hobie 16 World Champion Mick Butler who finished 3rd ‘it was tough out there and really had to fight just to hold on to third place which we just got.’
New Wild Cat Champions Mark Griffith and Kevin Winchester had only teamed up in the past month. Mark returning to the class after a few years absence enjoyed the tough competition. ‘Brilliant racing and friendship has bought me back to Hobie racing’
Tiger winner Alex Backer and Alex Bath won in small but competitive fleet of racers. Alex ‘it was a great honour to win in such a tough international fleet’.
Hobie 18 winners kept their winning way after winning the recent NSW state titles Glen Gilbert and Chilli Engel won their first Australian Championships. Former Hobie 18 Australian Champion Richard Quinn was happy in defeat ‘it came down to the last race and Glen beat us. I am happy for Glen as he is top bloke’.
Thank you to the sponsors Hogs Breath Café and Hobie Cat® Australasia.
Please don’t forget to view the official web site that has many photos, videos and interviews as well as the results.
The next Hobie Australian Hobie Championships will be in Hervey Bay, Queensland and the sailors are already planing their revenge on the top place getters.