The elements of wind, water and waves graciously served up a weekend of Championship racing to be remembered for the 30 teams entered in the 29th Channels Islands Hobie Cat Championships, hosted by the Royal Channel Islands Yacht Club and sponsored by Savills Estate Agents.
Fair weather and a fresh force 5 north westerly offshore wind gusting to over 25kts on Saturday morning provided a buzz of anticipation as the 3 classes participating, Hobie Wildcats, Hobie 16’s and Hobie Dragoons rigged up at the Gunsite beach, all in separate areas conforming to current group restrictions. The first days sailing proved lively and challenging on the long courses, with some crews struggling to keep their boats upright and others revelling in the lively conditions. For the Junior crews on the Dragoons it was a baptism of fire but they all coped remarkably well considering the wind strength. In Sunday’s racing the wind had dropped a few notches with odd showers clearing to blue skies. The conditions were excellent and sailing was fast and exciting on a flat sea for the teams vying for positions over the weekend’s 6 scheduled races.
HOBIE 16 ‘A’ FLEET
This was the largest class racing in the event. By the end of the first day’s racing 3 teams were in contention for the class title, but it was the Youth team of Ollie Voak and Ben Fosse who set a blistering pace posting 3 firsts who were the team to beat. Aaron Le Cornu and Rachael Smith were pulling out all the stops, chasing in second and Grant Neale and Karen La Rose were in third position. During Sunday’s racing Voak and Fosse showed their dominance with another 2 counting first places to seal the title. Neale and La Rose pulled ahead of Le Cornu and Smith on Sunday to give them second overall with the latter crew placing third. Luc Richard and Thomas Harris were quick over the water and sailed into some great positions at times to come fourth overall.
HOBIE 16 ‘B’ FLEET
Rookie helm Miguel Arraya sailing with Lucy Chapman sailed consistently well to take top spot in the class. Peter Culnane and Clive Russell experienced a few ups and downs, and have improved by spending more time on the water recently. They deserved their second spot considering their experience and conditions. Ash Curtis and Bill Aston, a relatively new team to racing Hobie 16’s, were leading by the end of Saturday’s racing and put in a solid performance to come third overall.
There is no questioning Darren Stower’s excellent racing ability on whatever boat he chooses to sail, whether it be multihull or monohull. Crewed by Graeme Monks they dominated the Hobie 18 Wildcat class from race one, great starts and slick spi work, they never looked back, triumphing with 6 wins in 6 races. Adrian Jesson and Paul Martin are no slouches either when it comes to speed over the water on their Wildcat, they tried every which way to get ahead, but in the end had to settle for a well-deserved second. Simon Martin crewed on Saturday by Simon Le Huray and Jonas Viking on Sunday is still gaining experience on the bigger cats and found the conditions demanding at times, but none the less sailed into a credible third place.
Racing was very close and exciting for the Junior teams competing on these popular 3 sail Hobie Dragoons. After the first day’s racing Juliette Walton and brother Russell were leading by 3 points from Luke Paxton-Garnier and Thomas Allo. in third were brothers Archie and Jamie Willetts. Sunday’s racing proved more manageable for the young crews on the Dragoons with 9 boats competing for honours.
Paxton-Garnier and Allo upped their challenge with 2 firsts and a second which put them on equal points with the Waltons as Sunday’s racing came to an end, but on countback it was the Waltons first in the last race that broke the tie giving them the class title. Kai Surcouf crewed by Olivia Forbes sailed consistently well on the Sunday to just pip the Willetts into third place, leaving them a couple of points behind in fourth.
The Prize Giving took place at the RCIYC after racing on Sunday for the place winners. Thanks and appreciation were extended to Race Officers Bill Harris and Elaine Burgis and their teams, the safety boat and beach teams and to Savills for their valued third year of sponsorship of a highly successful Hobie Championships.
HOBIE 16 ‘A’ FLEET (top 6)
1st Ollie Voak & Ben Fosse
2nd Grant Neale & Karen Larose
3rd Aaron Le Cornu & Rachael Smith
4th Luc Richard & Thomas Harris
5th Gordon Burgis & Kenny Snell
6th Owen Harper & Lucy du Pre
HOBIE 16 ‘B’ FLEET (top 3)
1st Miguel Arraya & Lucy Chapman
2nd Peter Culnane & Clive Russell
3rd Ash Curtis & Bill Coates
HOBIE WILDCATS (top 3)
1st Darren Stower & Graeme Monks
2nd Adrian Jesson & Paul Martin
3rd Simon Martin & Simon le Huray/Jonas Viking
HOBIE DRAGOONS – JUNIORS (top 6)
1st Juliette Walton & Russell Walton
2nd Luke Paxton Garnier & Thomas Allo
3rd Kai Surcouf & Olivia Forbes
4th Archie Willetts & Jamie Willets
5th Jack Horton & Ollie Cadin
6th Alf Barrowcliffe & Morgan Surcouf
HOBIE 16 YOUTH
Owen Harper & Lucy du Pre
HOBIE 16 WOMENS HELM
HOBIE 16 MASTERS
Grant Neale & Karen Larose
HOBIE 16 GRAND MASTERS
Gordon Burgis & Kenny Snell
BEST WIPE OUT
by Gordon Burgis
Photos © David Ferguson