H-16 NACs recap – Pensacola, Florida
September 29, 2015
The 2015 Hobie 16 North American Championships attracted 73 teams from 5 countries to Pensacola, FL. It was the toughest competition in a looong time! One screw up lost you 5-20 places. The intensity on the water was just as extreme.
Except for some good double-trap wind the first day, most of the sailing was done in 6-10k. That brought the boats/teams close together and there were some very crowded mark roundings. Eeking out a 1-boat length lead was a BIG deal. after 3 days of racing the fleet was split into a Gold and Silver fleet for the final two days.
Div. 4 brought 5 teams and 2 addl. crew to the event. John & Jennifer Hoag were the top team, finishing 11th overall. They even won one of the Gold fleet races on Thursday! John and JJ were followed closely by Peter Nelson & Laura Sullivan in 12th, who had a tough final day and slipped 3 places.
John Ped and Alex LeBlond were the top youth team at 28th. There were actually 4 all-youth teams at the event. All of these kids took time off from school to compete. Two teams made it into the Gold fleet, and two teams sailed in the Silver fleet. John & Alex just squeaked by to edge out Tommy Butler and Mike. J Rosenbach and Valerie Pioszak sailed a really strong regatta to make the cut. But dogged by some poor starts, they ended up at the back end of the Gold fleet.
Todd Morrill, sailing with Sarah Isaak started off slow in the Silver fleet….very slow. But by the end of the week they were actually putting their transoms to some boats. Their improvement over the course of the week was easy testament to the experience gained by all teams. Also sailing in the Silver, Tawnya Fox crewed for Karen Ann Xavier. These guys showed continued improvement as they started clicking, and were able to move up from the back of the bus to 16th. The joke at the end was they were ready to start the event all over! Also in the Silver fleet, and just a few points behind Tawnya & Karen, were Ruth Branscombe & Chris Bradshaw. They were able to finish strong in a crowded field.
All in all, there were 12 Div. 4 sailors, five of whom were youth. Most of the team stayed at a rented beach house and used Jerry & Laura’s trailer as race central while on site. There was a ton of camaraderie, and everyone was helping everyone else. Coach Robbie Daniel helped all of the teams out one way or another.
When it was time to pack it up, it was clear that all of the teams had a great time and upped their game considerably. The 2016 season can’t come soon enough for this group of sailors!
Next year: Puerto Pensaco, Mexico. Don’t miss it!!
Todd Christensen Memorial Regatta
August 12, 2015
Skamokawa never fails to deliver a good time. Even on the rare occasion where the wind is light, competitors still end up walking away with huge grins on their faces. Maybe it is the small, informal, “let your hair down” setting of this venue. Or maybe it is the double trap breeze. Or maybe — just maybe — it is the long distance race that gives everyone the thrill of (relatively) uncharted waters upwind, and a rip-snortin’ slide back downwind!
Such was the case this year — the first annual running of the Todd Christensen Memorial Regatta. This regatta was deemed a fund raiser from the get go, with all net proceeds being donated to Hobie youth sailing programs. And competitors showed up in force to honor Todd, and show their support for a program that Todd dearly loved.
The fleet was uncharacteristically blanked on wind Saturday. Despite the best efforts of PRO Jeff Janders to get off a race, the wind did not cooperate. That prompted many of the veterans to quip if they could remember ever being shut out at Skamokawa. Team Shrek, led by Della Hoag and her well-organized shore team, assembled a huge meal of turkey tacos that saw most sailors obviously expecting big breeze the next day judging by the size of their plates!! Following dinner a raffle was held with many rules to the raffle flying around like bats! But no one seemed to mind, and most teams walked away winners.
The big winners were the 10 teams who won wetsuits donated by Zhik!! Zhik donated 5 farmer johns and 5 tops. Other sponsors included: West Coast Sailing, Harken, McLube, Fisheries Supply, Ronstan, and Hobie Cat Co. Thanks to these great sponsors (and the competitors buying tickets) we were able to collect $600 from the raffle!! So be sure to take names and support these guys! All in all, over $1,400 was raised and will be donated to HCANA’s Youth program for grants and funding to support Hobie youth sailing. Thank you sponsors, competitors, and Todd!! Many thanks also to the various volunteers who contributed not only their time but also money in helping us raise these funds! (And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming!)
Sunday filled in nicely. RC got in one buoy race in a light breeze before throwing up all the class flags for the grand start of the long distance race. A few minutes later 14 boats were off the line and headed downriver in a building breeze and the end of an ebb tide. First around the turn mark was Lonnie Byers followed by Paul Carter in 17s. John Ped & Alex LeBlond were close behind them, trying to hold off Peter Nelson & Laura Sullivan.
Downwind the 16s pulled ahead of the 17s and John & Alex — our heralded youth team — took both line honors and the corrected win. Congratulations, boys. Peter & Laura stopped for a swim on the reach into the beach while J Rosenbach & Valerie Pioszak showed both speed and consistency with seconds in both races to capture the overall in the 16 fleet. In the 17 fleet, Paul Carter got past Lonnie for the win with Dave Wilder finishing 3rd. The 18s went to Jerry Valeske & Lisa Ballou. Full results are posted.
But the fleet wasn’t done! At the awards ceremony John Hoag showed off the perpetual trophy he and Dean Christensen (Todd’s dad) and Team Shrek put together. It is a marvelous trophy and will be awarded to the winner of the long distance race each year. Skamokawa Vista Park eagerly agreed to display the trophy in their new office. Fittingly, Todd Christensen was the defending champion from 2013 so his name appears first and foremost. John and Alex’s names are now right below.
Putting icing on the cake was that Dean and Lucy — Todd’s parents — traveled from Seattle to the awards ceremony to award the trophy and see it inducted into this local Hall of Fame!
Hobie 18 North Americans – Avila Beach, CA
August 11, 2015
Eight Pacific NW teams from Division 4 picked up the challenge to head south and take on Division 2 and the rest of the country in a Hobie 18 showdown on the beaches of Avila, just north of Pismo Beach. Five days of racing culminated in a total of 16 races.
The first 3 days saw strong winds in the 20-25k range with gusts over 30k. The last two days the wind settled into a comfortable 10-20k range. The heavy winds brought three Div. 4 teams to the top of the leader board — Ken Marshack & Val Pioszak, Peter Nelson & Laura Sullivan, and Paul Evenden & Tawnya Fox. Not far behind were Alexa Edgar & Doug Weston, Gillian Thomson & Ruth Branscombe, Jerry Valeske & (Texan) Dana Gradel, and Cal Bridge & Chris Pomeroy.
A total of 20 18’s were on the line for most of the races, and made for some exciting starts and mark roundings. Despite the heavy winds, there were few capsizes, owing to the 18’s significant stability.
Wednesday was the most brutal with sustained gusts over 30k and a huge sea state, with just one race before racing was canceled. Marshack, Nelson, & Evenden all capsized (as well as a few others), but all survived and came away with smiles (more or less). Peter & Laura capsized just 5 boat lengths from the gate, which the committee was going to shorten the course at. When Paul & Tawnya came around leading the 2nd lap they did the same thing!
Laura went into the event with a swollen, black eye. She quickly put to rest rumors that Jerry or Peter were to blame by explaining it came from a collision at Quinault. Then on Wednesday, while coming into the beach after a harrowing day, her trap handle broke and dislocated her finger. She was not to be denied, and sailed the final two days with a black eye AND a dislocated finger!!
The wind subsided the last two days and allowed the committee to run 7 more races in comfortable, double-trap conditions. Under sunny skies it was a sailor’s dream.
Organizers managed to give each team a life jacket similar to the one used by America’s Cup teams. Shoreside parties and prize giving were held just a mile down from the campsite in downtown Avila, which is a rocking little town.
Overall it was a very wonderful regatta. It is safe to say a good time was had by all. Next year’s rumor for the 18 North Americans is on the East Coast. Stay tuned!
2015 Youth 16 NAs – final results
July 31, 2015
H16 Youth 2015 final
2015 Youth 16 NAs – day 2 results
July 28, 2015
H16 Youth 2015 day 2