Stadium racing in Comox is the bomb!!

OMG!!  If you have never done stadium racing (like me) it will blow your mind.  Stadium racing is short-course racing that revs up the heart rate, puckers the ole sphincter, and is an adrenaline rush the kind of which you have never experienced.

James, Stuart, and Andrew Robinson up in Comox put this together, and it is the bomb!  They let us borrow their Diam 24 trimaran for the weekend.  It comes with a furling jib and Code Zero.  This is the training boat most of the French teams use with names like Banque Populaire and Francois Gabart sprinkling the headlines.

You start with a reaching start, just like in the America’s Cup.  Except the turning mark at Comox is only 2 boat lengths from a rock jetty!  That first time my rudders cavitated for 3-4 seconds, hurtling us straight for “the wall” and ultimate extinction, before they dug in and saved us and the boat from obliteration.

Next leg is downwind.  Keep the kite up.  What?  We are already there?  Crap!  Hurry up and douse!  Unfurl the jib!  We’re going right out of the gate.  Ten seconds later we are tacking within five feet of the jetty.  Fans are shouting to us from the overhanging outlook 10 feet above, and rooting us on in the middle of our tack.  Meanwhile Stuart is giving the play-by-play over the loudspeaker.  Stay focused.

Got a minute to collect our thoughts and clean up the carnage on the upwind leg.  Only a minute.  We’ve closed on Andrew and the cross will be close…inches close.  Which way out of the upwind gate?  We’re going left.  Crap!  We have to thread our way through the pilings from an abandoned pier.  Whew.  Made that.  Into a gybe.   Where’s Andrew?  Crap again!  He went outside and gained another 3 boat lengths.

Come on, gents!  Only one more short lap to go!  Stuart is still blaring the play-by-play.  I can hear the crowd cheering us on.  Let’s go.

After one more lap of total chaos it is back to the reaching mark for the final reach into the finish.  Flying a hull as we get the horn!  Victory again.  Well, almost victory.  Second place.  It will have to do.  Especially since there are only two boats!   Somebody pass me a gallon of water, 5 Valiums, and 3 energy bars.  It’s only been a 15 minute race and I am ready to collapse.

What?  We’re in sequence again already?  We gotta do it again?  Yeahhhh, baby!  Bring it on!!!  I want more!

(More photos to come.)

Jericho & R2AK Update

Jericho can be dicey sometimes.  Some times you can be sitting out there in 60 deg. wind shifts (like last year), and other times you can be hauling ass in a beautiful, 20k westerly (like this year).  Yep.  That’s right.  If you skipped Jericho this year you missed out on a doozy, and if you were there you are still wearin’ the smile smeared all the way across your face !

Saturday saw 5 races in 17-22k with gusts to 25k.  Water was flat owing to a 2-3k flood that caused a bit of havoc at the weather mark for some of the sailors.  The flat water allowed the skippers to put the bow down, grin from ear to ear, and let out an occasional “Whoop!”  Watching the F-18s barrel down the shore under kite was fun, but the real bonus was the incredible scenery.  Sunny and warm both days with the urban, Vancouver skyline to the east giving way to the snow-capped mountains to the north.

Those of you not watching the R2AK tracker, I highly suggest you keep it off if you want to get anything done during the day!  The race is on and updated pretty much regularly so you can sit there watch the tracker and your grass grow all at the same time.

It is pretty exciting with Morgana Buell’s team “Sail Like a Girl” leading the race as of this writing.  But the lead is slim and nothing is given, especially this early in the going.  But it is pretty cool to see this team of 8 women sailing their Melges 32 like it is stolen.  Go girls!!

2018 Calendar is up

Plan your Hobie schedule and book your reservations because the 2018 Hobie sailing calendar is up and live!  Dates always seem to be subject to change, but as best as we can tell none of the dates have changed for, well, over 6 hours!  lol  But seriously, most of these dates you can bank on.

So get with your crew, spouse, significant other, family, and whoever else might be in your calendar and chart out which events you will be attending.  It is best to put the events in your calendar otherwise you might forget them.  Putting them in the calendar increases the chances you will attend.

Looking forward to seeing everyone next year!

And here is a spreadsheet version of the same (hopefully!).  2018 Division 4 Schedule

Div. 4 AGM announced

Hobie Division 4 (that would be the Pacific NW for you newbies) Hobie Catting in Division 4 at Lake Quinault, WAannounced today the date and place for its Annual General Meeting (AGM).  Actually, they announced it Oct. 1 but it took this intrepid reporter this long to get it posted on the website!

Mark your calendars: Saturday, Nov. 4, 10 a.m. at Laura Sullivan’s house in Maple Valley.  Please send an email to nelson.peter(at)live.com for an address.  It is pretty easy to find, and is an absolutely gorgeous trophy home if you have never been there.

The BIG item on the agenda is next year’s sailing calendar.  That is always a lot of fun to put together.  There will also be some discussion on the future direction of youth sailing in the division, as well as an update on the Hobie 16 North American Championships being organized by Paul Evenden for 2019.  Lots going on.

Stay for the meeting, but come for the party!!  That’s right…right after the meeting we will be going into party mode with a BBQ and potluck.  (So remember to bring something yummy to share.)  I think Laura will have the party accouterments handled.  (Easy for you to say!)

Looking forward to seeing everybody Nov. 4 and swap more sailing lies!!

Div. 4 Championships (Harrison) Recap

For those of you opting not to drive to Harrison Lake Labor Day weekend for the Hobie Div. 4 Championships, you missed a doozy.  Harrison is highly regarded for its dependable medium breeze and flat water.  If you like to trap out and put the bow down, this is the place for you!

And this year did not disappoint!  With 5 double-trap races on Saturday and 4 on Sunday, all of the sailors were all smiles.  But because it wasn’t ‘white knuckle’ sailing, you hit the sandy beach with energy left over!

Saturday started out not looking good.  Smoky skies from the fires and a northerly (wrong direction), along with predictions of ‘stagnant air’ had many of the sailors worried of a long day on the beach.  The AP went up at 1100, but by 1230 it was down, boats were off the beach, and racing was on.

Harrison is a tricky spot tactically.  Sometimes the left pays, sometimes the right, and sometimes the middle.  The left is the traditional, safe bet.  But this weekend it was the middle and right that consistently paid dividends.  There were a few capsizes and pitchpoles to emphasize the puffs coming down.  On particular race Peter Nelson augered in with Todd Morrill, following right after Will’s footsteps with Josh Markovich.  Like son; like father.

The crewing situation was a mixed bag, particularly in the 16 fleet.  When JJ Hoag showed up sick with food poisoning, she turned the reins over to Kailey Jones while JJ’s dad, John, provided tactics and coaching support.  Meanwhile Peter was crewing (sometimes) for Todd, while Laura Sullivan was with Al Jones, and Matt Markovich jumped on Paul Carter’s boat.

On Sunday JJ returned to smiling form.  But Laura was out with a sore back after being thrown into the mast during a capsize on Saturday.  So John and Al jumped on one of Paul’s 18s and proceeded to load their ‘Hobie pistol’ with bullets.

The 18s had a good showing, with far less crew movement, with teams from Kelowna, Seattle, & Vancouver.  The 17 fleet saw a resurgence as well with about 6 boats on the line.  There were even 2 Waves and a 20 that graced the waters.

Paul Evenden’s wife, Debbie, made a delicious dinner for the sailors Saturday night, and it was mowed down by the voracious sailors.  Everyone was in shirt sleeves and it was warm and pleasant evening eating dinner with friends at the beach.  Tough to beat.

Harrison is a fantastic venue if you like flat water, double-trap breeze, tactical waters, beaches, and warm weather.  Thanks, Paul, for organizing it and making it so much fun.