2016 Season Just Around Corner — Apr. & May events

The winter thaw is upon us and things are starting to shape up nicely for the 2016 Hobie sailing season.  Be sure to check out the Calendar on this website for the latest and greatest events.

First points event will be Puget Sound Sailing Regatta (PSSR) small boat on April 9-10 out of CYC Seattle at Shilshole.  Last year the wind blew good, so hopefully we’ll get lucky again.

Next up is the following weekend for the Round Mercer Island Race.  This event has bounced around a couple of times due to calendar conflicts, so check your calendar for Saturday, April 16.  We’ll meet at Stan Sayer Pits and take a tour of Lake Washington, with a party at the end.  Out of town sailors are invited to stay with fleet members.

May really kicks in the Hobie season with something going on the first 3 weekends.  Cultus Lake (BC) is May 7-8, followed by Hobie 101 at Sail Sand Point May 14, and Kelowna Regatta May 21-22.

There’s plenty playtime.  Come join us!

H-16 NACs recap – Pensacola, Florida

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.John & JJ smiling

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.J & Val

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

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 John & Alex upwindclicking, 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.

Start - awesomeWhen 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

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.11866217_10206181618836824_7959669136010984384_n

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 perpetual trophyshowed 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 16 North Americans — Lewes, DE

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.

Harrison Hot Springs Recap

After a 6-year hiatus, it was great to be back! The town welcomed us as they sent their Director of Tourism to our Skipper’s Meeting to welcome us. It was great to have teams from Kelowna, Vancouver, Comox, and Seattle all come together. One youth team from Comox made an appearance and showed they will be a team to reckon with.

We had about 9 16s, 4 17s, 7 18s, and a couple of Tigers. We sat on the beach in the sun catching up all day Saturday until about 2 or 3 p.m. when RC called us off the beach for 4 races in a building breeze. The first two races were single/double trap, and the last two races were full-on double-trap racing at its finest. Winds the whole weekend ranged from 9-15k, with gusts to 17k.

What makes Harrison so special is the flat water. All of the teams reveled in the high speeds, but that didn’t keep a few from flipping!! Puffs coming down the lake caught a few skippers by surprise.

Sunday proved slow while everyone waited for the wind to switch and the thermal to build in. It finally did…but only soon enough for one more race. That race was critical, at least in the 16 fleet. Rosenbach, Hoag, & Christensen went into the race separated by only 2 points and the last race mixed up the final standings.

Between the great beach, the sun, the flat water, and that incredible thermal, the weekend proved absolutely stupendous!

 

Pictures at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10204752202875456.1073741831.1548859644&type=1&l=32380fdf8e

NW Area Championships – Lake Quinault

The reason good sites are good is because they rarely disappoint. Expectations ran particularly high for this year’s Area Championships when Lake Quinault was selected as the venue after a two year hiatus.

NW sailors have been plying the no-motorboat-waters of Lake Quinault for over a quarter of a century. Most sailors arrive early and stay late, and this was true again this year. There are plenty of stories to tell, and it was particularly heartwarming to have many long-time Hobie sailors — some of them without boats — show up for an informal reunion and lots of reminiscing.

Hobie Cats NW served up its patented (and highly sought after) seafood cioppino Friday night to hungry mouths catching up on old times. Full Sail Ale continued to quaff their collective thirst.

Winds were light Saturday, and limited the sailors (and RC Skip & Jan Anderson & crew) to just 3 light-air races. But tactics continued to be the trump card. Those who read the lake well were aptly rewarded.

Laura Sullivan and a slew of volunteers served up a wonderful salmon dinner Saturday night that was to die for. All of this for $40-50? Incredible!! The raffle afterwards helped subsidize the dinner with lots of laughter included.

Sunday morning Peter Nelson familiarized newbie sailors (and a few vets) with a rules clinic. But that didn’t last long as it became apparent Race Committee was intent on its 1030 start.

Sailors saw a building breeze that started with partial single trap conditions and ended with most boats fully trapped. There isn’t much better than trapping out under sunny skies on Lake Quinault in the middle of a rain forest! Committee hoisted all class flags at the same time for the last start and 32+ cats were off to the weather mark. The second lap had boats heading to a reach mark in front of the beach where everyone was finished. A great end to a great day on the water.

Yet another dinner was hoisted up by Laura, aided by J Rosenbach. So sailors were fed 3 great meals for $50 for 2-crew boats, 2 days of racing, and awards. There’s nothing like a Hobie regatta (at Lake Quinault)!!!