Two Div. 4 teams just returned from the 2014 H-16 North American Championships hosted by Div. 11 in Lewes, DE. Rich McVeigh, Carol HIlk, and Mark Santorelli did a fantastic job of organizing this event for the 47 teams from the 5 countries represented. This event had a little extra “pizzazz” because it was also a qualifier for 3 teams for the Pan Am games in Toronto next summer.
The fabulous Lewes Yacht Club hosted the event on the beach just off Delaware Bay. LYC has all the facilities of a top-notch yacht club, including a large swimming pool, fantastic changing rooms and shower facilities, bar, restaurant, meeting rooms, and lots of other amenities. The beach was soft, sandy, and white. Cat Trax were optional because the sand was so soft!
Representing Division 4 was the Fleet 95 team of Peter Nelson and Laura Sullivan. Fleet 72 was represented by the youth team of John Ped and Kendall ??. These guys were putting in their first regatta ever as a team, John’s 2nd NAs (he sailed the 18 NAs in the Gorge last month), and Kendall and John’s first 16 NA.
We had 3 races on Monday in double-trap, perfect conditions. The bay chop made steering a premium. Both teams sailed cleanly, but Nelson/Sullivan had some issues in the 2nd race of the day, flipped twice, and had to eat a DNF. Not good when you have a throwout only the 2nd race into the event.
Tuesday awoke to light air and both teams used their Northwest experience well with Nelson/Sullivan posting their best score of the event in the first race of the day — a 4th. Ped/Kendall posted their best score in the 2nd race — a 22nd.
Wednesday was a different story. The beach was howling and only half the boats rigged to go out before the racing was cancelled due to high winds. Mark Modderman/Tommy Butler and Rich McVeigh/Susie Korzniewski braved the elements for Gary Jobson’s video crew and did some beach fly-by’s to the “ooh’s” and “aah’s” of the crowd on the beach. Ultimately Rich won the capsize contest, 4-2.
Thursday was no better and was a 2nd lay day due to too much breeze. So PRO Santorelli moved the start time on Friday up to 0930 to make sure there were plenty of races.
Friday started in double-trap conditions, but easing throughout the day. Four races were held; the last in very light breeze. After that it was head to the beach, break the boats down, and get ready for the awards party at the yacht club.
Nelson/Sullivan hung on from their 8th earlier in the week to capture 10th overall. It was a very crowded fleet with only 2 notable ‘national’ teams missing (Figueroa and Borcherding). Otherwise, everyone who was anyone had a boat in the water. Ped/Kendall sailed remarkably well and consistent. They finished 6 of the 9 races in the 20s, and still ended up 32nd! Did we mention it was a very competitive fleet?!!!
Overall both teams learned a TON and are excited to bring those lessons back to the Northwest. If you want to learn how to race Hobie Cats, try signing up for a 5-day clinic with some of the best sailors in the world! Rumor on the beach was that the next event will be held in Pensacola, FL. But nothing official has been announced yet.
This youth team had two other youth teams they were keeping an eye on.