After one year and half of postponement and almost two years from the latest International event, Hobie Cat sailors finally could take part in the Multi-Europeans Championship held in Costa Brava (Spain) at the Camping La Ballena Alegre. The event included 10 days of regattas with many different wind conditions that permitted the sailors to express at their best the boat speed and experienced from the local sea breeze to the Northwind of Tramuntana skipping only one day of sailing due to the low wind.
The first series included the Hobie Dragoon, dedicated to kids, Hobie 14, as a single boat, and the Hobie 16 Masters classes. The first two classes raced for four days starting from Wednesday the 16th, while the Masters had the chance to race for two days on Saturday the 18th and Sunday the 19th
In the first two days, the fleets were able to run 7 races out of 8 with the local sea breeze among 12 and 16 knots, with even some gusts to 18 knots.
Even on Saturday, the conditions were pretty much stable and still like the summer period, while Sunday the three fleets needed to wait a bit more time to start in the water, to the run two races started just in time respect to the last possible warning signal set at 16.30.
It was an all-Italian affair on the Hobie Dragoon racing with Italy taking out the top 3 spots, and all from Windsurfing Club Cagliari. Alessandro Vargiu, and Luigi Zonca won 9 of the 12 races and the worst position was a third, concluding the four days of racing with 11 points. In the second place, Leonardo Vascellari and Lorenzo Bacchetta concluded with 22 points, while in third place an all-women team composed of Ottavia Benedetta Ghiani and Gaia Frau with 23 points.
The Hobie 14s had during the four days some very close racing, with Gerard Loos (NED) leading from day 2 of the championships and always pushing hard in the racecourse, winning the event with 20 points. Second place for André Hauschke from Germany with 25 points and third place for Robert Michel from France at 27 points.
The Hobie 16 Masters had two days of racing where the results could not have been any closer. Arnaud Thieme /Ludovic Siguret and Ingo Delius/ Sabine Delius-Wenig both tied on 7 points and the result going to a tie break, giving the winner to the French team. The third-place Stefan Rumpf and Coco Miekestach with 15 points.
Day 5 represented the start of the Hobie Cat 16 Open Championship, with two days of qualification/practice race. Unfortunately, the number of teams registered did not give the possibility to divide the sailors into two fleets, so all had the chance to race from Wednesday the 22nd to Saturday the 25th with the same new branded sails provided by the Factory Hobie Cat Europe. Before the starting of the final series, the sailors had the chance to have dinner with the official presentation of the sails.
On the first day of the finals, after collecting the new sails the sailors went down to the beach to raise them, Delta flag was raised around 12.15 and the start at 13.00. The race committee was able to run two enjoyable races with a wind from North at 8 to14 knots. Then the wind dropped, with the sailors sent ashore to recharge and be again on the water around 6 o’clock for the third race with 6-8knots. After this first day, Stefan Grismayer and Caterina Degli Uberti were leading the fleet with 4 points.
On the second day, the wind was up to 20 knots on the racecourse which had the Hobie 16 sailors blasting around at full speed. Unfortunately, the first race was abandoned for a strong shift in the wind, to the race four courses with a wind from 8 to 14 knots. After seven races Stefan Grismayer / Caterina Degli Uberti and Pierandrea Gessa / Roberto Dessy were tied for the lead. Arnaud Thieme / Ludovic Siguret who won the Hobie 16 Masters a few days before were in third.
During Hobie 16 Open Day 3, the wind was very light and unstable in the morning. When a suitable sailing breeze arrived, so did the waves. This made a large shore break that made it dangerous to leave the beach. The organizers for safety reasons decided to postpone the racing and start the racing earlier on the last day.
The Race Committee was able to hold five races on the final day, giving the Championships 12 races overall and allow the competitors to discard their two worst races. With the wind arriving it also gave the sailors excellent sailing conditions.
The close racing at the front of the fleet and with five races scheduled the championships was wide open.
Arnaud Thieme /Ludovic Siguret FRA sailed consistently on the last day to overtake Pierandrea Gessa / Roberto Dessy ITA for the silver podium spot.
Congratulations to Stefan Grismayer and Caterina Degli Uberti (ITA) as the 2021 Hobie 16 European Champions. They lead from the first day and did not relinquish the lead.
A big thank you to the Camping La Ballena Alegre, to the Sailing Club La Ballena Alegre, to the European and International Hobie Cat Association and to the European Hobie Factory to have been able to run anyway such kind of event after two years of waiting. Each day sailors could share their experiences during the Wet Bar, plus a total of four dinners were offered among pizza and Spanish Paella.
All Hobie Sailors are more than welcome in May 2022, always to the Camping La Ballena Alegre, for the 23rd Hobie Cat 16 Worlds, that after almost 30 years will finally be back in Europe.
Caterina Degli Uberti