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!!