Hobie Division 4 traveled south in droves last week to participate in two weeks of sailing events with national implications. The teams had to travel past a Yosemite Park that was on fire, and arrived at the high mountain lake shrouded in smoke.
The first week featured the North American Championships in Hobie 16s for both Women and Youth. The division was represented in the women’s event with Laura Sullivan sailing with Val Pioszak. In the youth event Jennifer Hoag teamed up with Josh Markovich.
The sailing was tough as the sailors had to contend not only with the puffy conditions of Lake Huntington, but also the visibility and health issues involved with heavy smoke. On top of that each fleet was populated by some noted ‘names’.
Pre-event favorites did not disappoint as Chris Bradshaw and Nancy Kornblum held off Dafna Brown & Teri McKenna for the win. Laura and Val exceeded their own expectations by finishing 4th in their first ever event.
In the youth event returning 2-time champion Kat Porter, sailing with a very seasoned and competent Grace Modderman, got a little heat from Luke Froeb/Julian Skerrett. But the female duo were able to easily sail away with the event. Jennifer and Josh showed great strength in several races. But inconsistency eventually pushed them to 7th.
The following week featured the 18s and 20s, and by this time the smoke had started to clear. Josh flew home while Laura teamed up with Ethan Salkind, Val sailed with Ken Marshack, and Jennifer crewed for John — all on the 18s. They were joined by 5 more teams of Paul Evenden/Sarah Isaak, Doug Weston/Kelly Smith (sailing on a new-to-them boat), J Rosenbach/Tim Webb, Will Schwenger/Angie McLaughlin, and Will/Peter Nelson.
The division’s Hobie 18 strength was on full display as Div. 4 sailors captured the top 4 spots, and 6 of the top 8. It was cool to note that the top 2 teams had youth aboard (Will & Jennifer). The tacking and gybing up and down the skinny lake was intense, and the short distance from the gate to finish emanated cries of victory and anguish from many a sailor. The wind never got over 13k, so carnage was at a minimum.
After the intense competition on the water it was time to unwind on shore. It was particularly fun sitting around an open campfire with your pals from the PNW. Della organized a Thursday potluck that far exceeded the organized parties — both in food and entertainment. Other impromptu gatherings were mixed in at the pub, parties, and campgrounds.
Photos to follow.