Channel Islands Hobie® Cat Championships

A flat and glassy calm sea greeted the Hobie crews as they rigged their boats at the Gunsite beach on Saturday morning ready for the first of six Championship races in St Aubins Bay, Jersey. With a temperature hitting 27 degrees, a light sea breeze soon developed, allowing the RCIYC Race Team to start the Hobie 16 Class, the wind quickly dropped off and the race was eventually abandoned due to a 20 minute time limit at the first mark. The crews were sent ashore for one hour to await a predicted force 3 north easterly wind which did kick in more or less on time after midday, providing very good racing during the afternoon. Sunday was just as hot, but the wind came in earlier than the previous day from a similar direction and the racing got underway without any delay, the wind increasing to 14kts provided a spectacular sight with the bright coloured Hobie sails racing over a translucent blue green sea. The days excellent racing was more than reflected by the crews’ beaming faces when they came off the water, whatever position they had attained over the weekend.

In the largest class with 15 entries a battle royal commenced from the off amongst the front runners of the Fleet, Grant Neale and Karen La Rose, Gordon Burgis with crew Kenny Snell and Stuart McCue sailing with Julia Dziediel, although it was Burgis and Snell leading by just 1 point at the end of Saturday’s racing. Sunday dawned with any of the three crews, all former winners of the class, in a position to come out on top by the end the end of the day. It went to the wire, all on the last race, Burgis and Snell managed to forge ahead after a good start and sailed into first place and with it the overall title. Neale and Larose placed second with McCue and Dziediel coming third. The women’s team, Malin Nilsson and Sandrine Swetenham performed consistently well over the weekend to place fourth. Youth team Leo Marshall and Chloe Swetenham who raced the Sunday only, posted two high scoring second places from good starts and fast sailing around the trapezoidal course giving them fifth overall.

The class was dominated by Hobie 16 Youth helms. Gemma Newman crewed by John Vautier were the decisive winners in the class, sailing ahead of the chasing pack in most of the races. In second place was Owen Harper and Emma Blake who creamed the opposition in race 3, firing a first place overall, but couldn’t retain the consistency thereafter. Declan Flambard and Megan McDonagh last year’s winners in the Hobie Dragoon Cadet class are fast improving since moving up to the Hobie 16’s this year, as shown by their third place.

Both classes were on similar handicaps, the racing was fast and tight with the boats making full use of their big spinnakers on the downwind and reaching legs. Darren Stower crewed by Graeme Monks set the pace in the first race on their Wildcat with a resounding first, thereafter it was Andy Hart and Michael Kinross also on a Wildcat who dominated the class, posting three impressive firsts after a second in the initial race to give them a well-deserved first overall. They were followed by Stower and Monks in second, just one point behind, and racing into third was Adrian Jesson and Paul Martin with two second places in the middle races. Jimmy Fullerton and Perry Stone racing a Tiger kept up a good average to place fourth.

Racing was very close and exciting for the Junior teams competing on the Hobie Dragoons. Tom Hunt and Kyla McDonagh were the team to beat, they showed a clean transom winning all five counting races to come first overall. Finlay Arenz and Juliette Walton sailed consistently well to take second, Else Blakely and Lena Holden were very close behind in third place. Archie and James Willets competed on the Saturday only giving them fourth place. Alex Cooper and Archie de Carteret also competed on one day and sailed well to come fifth.

The Prize Giving presentation took place at host club, the Royal Channel Islands Yacht Club on Sunday evening, where thanks and appreciation were given to the race team, safety boat and mark-laying crews, the beach team and to Savills for their valued first year sponsorship of a highly successful Championships. Trophies were presented by Geri O’Brien, Director of Savills Jersey.

1st Gordon Burgis & Kenny Snell
2nd Grant Neale & Karen Larose
3rd Stuart McCue & Julia Dziediel
4th Malin Nilsson & Sandrine Swetenham
5th Leo Marshall & Chloe Swetenham
6th Luc Richard & Thomas Harris

HOBIE 16 ‘B’ FLEET (Top 3) Results:
1st Gemma Newman & John Vautier
2nd Owen Harper & Emma Blake
3rd Declan Flambard & Megan McDonagh

1st Andy Hart & Michael Kinross
2nd Darren Stower & Graeme Monks
3rd Adrian Jesson & Paul Martin

1st Tom Hunt & Kyla McDonagh
2nd Finlay Arenz & Juliette Walton
3rd Else Blakely & Lena Holden

HOBIE 16 MASTERS Winners: Gordon Burgis & Kenny Snell
HOBIE 16 WOMENS Winners: Malin Nilsson & Sandrine Swetenham
by Gordon Burgis

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