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)!!!

Day 4 & 5 – Hobie 18 NACs

Sorry for no blog yesterday, but hopefully after reading this you will understand.

We woke Thursday morning to the wind blowing the oysters off the rocks. Committee did not wait to post an AP OVER ‘5’ meaning return at 1500 and we’ll try again.

So we returned at 1500 with no change in the weather. Still blowing. But around 1530 we started rigging boats for first shape at 1700.

We ran 3 races into the evening. The current was stronger than before making the waves bigger. Most opted for the Oregon shore and flatter water. But the approach to the starboard layline had a lot of competitors heading to the Washington shore. Downwind the middle and OR shore were favored.

The “usuals” continued to make hay in the strong breeze. Marshack dominated. But when he wasn’t dominating the upwind machine known as Sohn put hurt on him. Erwin, who has been leading since Day 1, was tight on their tails. Both Ped and Evenden turned in good days, while Nelson and Sinnickson were hurt by equipment — Nelson flipping twice and hitting a mark.

After breaking the boats down in the dusk, racers were told to be ready for a start at 0800 Friday morning. With no races scheduled after 1400, committee wanted to get in some races to break the tie between Sohn and Erwin after Thursday’s racing. Short night. Racers had a quick nap and returned Friday morning to strong breeze, but not too strong.

Committee got off 2 more races. Sohn showed mastery and won the Championship. Erwin held on for 2nd, Marshack 3rd. For Div. 4, Nelson got 4th, Evenden behind Sinnickson at 6th, and Ped just out of the trophy hunt at 7th. I am not sure where Thompson finished.

Overall the event was well received by all racers. A total of 13 races were run in the 18 fleet — 14 races for the 20s — in medium to strong breeze.

3rd day Recap – Hobie 18 NACs

The wind gods finally cooperated on Wed., but not until the afternoon. After postponing racing at 10 a.m., Race Commitee sent us out for a 4:30 start. Both classes got 4 races in on a course further west than Monday, and off of Stevenson.

In the 18 fleet a different competitor won each race — Sohn, Sinnickson, Marshack, and Doty — in a gusty 15k. Puffs were rolling down different sides of the river making it particularly challenging to “connect the dots”.

In the first race of the day Marshack showed mastery, only to auger in again like he did Monday. Only this time he was about 10 boat lengths from the finish.

In the last race barge traffic at A-mark created a 5-boat length starboard layline! In the 12-15k boats were bunched up, causing mass confusion. Sinnickson ran down Murray’s port hull and sheared off the rudder while putting a hole in his boat and causing him to retire.

Two protests were heard after the racing. Erwin was DSQ’d for not giving Nelson enough room to round the gate mark while the race committee had Edgar tossed for getting too close to commercial traffic.

Event organizer, Laura Sullivan, served the sailors a late dinner on the grass of cioppino and salad before everyone retired for a short night.

1st & 2nd Day wrap-up – Hobie 18 NACs

We woke this morning to decidedly cooler temps and much stronger breeze. By 10 a.m. the wind was getting up to the 20k limit. Most competitors were hoping tostay on the beach and a few hearty souls (Marshack, Lowry, Evenden, & Ped) were wanting to sail. Eventually we were spared and racing was cancelled for the day.

Now for yesterday, Day 1.

Started in 12k with a slight positive current that had a few OCSs. The wind was quite puffy with gusts 5-12k over median. Nelson/Sullivan got off the line well and led wire-to-wire in the 18 fleet. But they sailed the wrong course when the change mark could not be found. All competitors except Evenden sailed the original course. A bit of controversy ensued when the committee tossed the race.

As the day wore on the wind built. The 2nd race was in medium air, but by the 3rd race it had built into the teens. Sohn locked into his upwind speed while Erwin kept hanging around. Marshack showed the most consistent speed until he auguered in at the gate in the last race while leading.

The river is quite tactical. The middle seems to have the breeze. The WA side has (down river) current (but big waves), and the OR side has flatter water but ocassional holes.

Forecast for tomorrow is for slightly lighter breeze Wed., and then easing Thurs. & Fri.

Youth Training Hits “Epic” Proportions

A key ingredient to having an epic weekend of sailboat training is to have epic-type wind. And the solstice weekend of June 21-22 provided just that at Sail Sand Point in Seattle as two, Division 4, youth Hobie teams took to the water to practice for the upcoming Hobie 16 Youth North American Championships to be held in Sandy Hook, NJ in early July.

John Ped & Alex Biondi drove up from Portland to join Will Nelson (Seattle) and Tawnya Fox (Chilliwack, BC) for two days of training on the Hobie 16. The two teams were under the watchful eye of US Sailing instructor Tim Webb and Kelly Havig, as the two coaches put the two youth teams through series after series of drills that refined their boat handling skills.

Some classroom instruction in the morning of both days gave time for the wind to build while discussing strategy, tactics, rules, and racing technique. After lunch the teams hit the water while coaches took to chase boats and set marks for a short course. Long-time Div. 4 sailors Caleb Tarleton and Peter Nelson joined the action on the water.

Hobie Division 4 has been actively recruiting teenage sailors anxious to feel the “need for speed” that catamaran sailing delivers. “We had 4 teams travel to California for the North Americans last year. This year only two are going because the East Coast venue makes it more difficult logistically.”, said Laura Sullivan, Division 4 Chairman. Laura has been the primary impetus to the Hobie youth movement in the Pacific Northwest. “Between local fundraising and the youth grants the teams are receiving, the teams will be heading to New Jersey for what amounts to a free, week-long vacation. They will be re-uniting with friends they made at last year’s event.”, Sullivan continued.

The excitement from the North Americans is starting to build momentum. At a recent Hobie regatta at Sail Sand Point 6 youth teams showed up and got their own start! Any youth interested in learning Hobie racing should contact either Hobie Division 4 at www.hobiediv4.org or Sail Sand Point. While you don’t need “epic-type” wind to sail or race a Hobie, it doesn’t hurt the fun factor one bit!!

“Live on the Edge” Regatta Report

A wonderful weekend of sailing. The winds were light at times, but enough for our excellent race committee to get up to six races in, over the two days. It is all a matter of being in the right place at the right time and we had boats at a starting line and marks set when the winds picked up. Great job! On the course it often was also a matter being in the right place. There were plenty of holes on the course and it is always bitter to be stopped dead and see your competition trapped out, sailing away.

Friday afternoon started off on the wrong foot, as the gate to our grounds decided to act as a guillotine (anyone seen the ’80-ies move “De Lift” (aka “Down”)?). It ended badly for the gate as well as for Jeff and Lynn Rickard’s RV trying to enter. Thankfully no bodily injuries and there is insurance to cover the rest. Our sincere apologies for this malfunction and the damage caused.

With a total of 26 boats entered, split over 4 fleets, we were able to make two one-design fleets, one with the three Hobie 14s and one with eleven Hobie 16s. The remaining entries were split in a High Portsmouth and a Low Portsmouth rating fleet, the split being Portsmouth rating 69, both fleets having 6 entries.

The Race Committee likes to get the Low Portsmouth fleet started first, so they do not run into the slower fleets which they would overtake if starting after those. It became immediately clear that there was big speed gap within the fleet. Upwind the four A-Cats could (kind of) keep up with Peter Schmaltzer’s Nacra 20 carbon, but once the he rounded the top mark and put his spinnaker up, it was a horizon job – every race. The A-Cats struggle downwind in light air, just not enough sail area. Gerald Valeske took it easy on his F-18; his crew Bruce Ped was on a sailboat for the first time ever, trying to experience why his son John (racing in the H16 fleet) is into sailing. An F-18 is not quite the ideal beginner boat, but on the other hand, Bruce now “gets it”, about his son’s love for sailing!

Peter was untouchable and took six firsts in six races. The real battle was among the four A-Cats, who had very close finishes at times. Stan Breed won that battle convincingly and took second place after Peter. Randy Nikolai took third place, but the other two A-Cats were only two and three points behind.

The three H14s were a family affair. The Groesz family maintains a family fleet of Hobies and use the “Live on the Edge” regatta as a family reunion, it seems. They certainly are all enthusiastic sailors, besides making up the H14 fleet, they also had an entry in the H16 fleet. They are great supporters and promoters of our regatta and attend every year. Valerie Pioszak took the win by finishing first in all three races sailed on Saturday. The H14s decided not to race on Sunday, perhaps Valerie who talked her dad and brother into staying ashore?

The H16 fleet was a fleet with a wide range of expectations. They sailed three races on Saturday and got two races in on Sunday. It is of course great to be able to sail one-design, no need to wait for finish times to be calculated to find out how you did. Tim Webb took first place with only 8 points, two first and three second places, closely followed by John Ped who took two wins, two seconds and third to finish only one point behind Tim. Great battle between these two! The gap with third placed Aaron Harris was substantial. Aaron secured third place with 22 points, closely followed by Don Kaster who took fourth place with 23 points. Special mention deserves Will Nelson, who only sailed on Saturday and was right in the top with a first, a fourth and a third place in the three races on Saturday. It is great to see the next generation sailors, John and Will, being so competitive.

The High Portsmouth fleet consisted of two Prindle 16s, two Hobie 18s, one Hobie 17 and one Nacra 5.2. The ratings are not that far apart and the Prindles can be quite competitive. Light wind expert Larry Cox proved this with a second place in race one and strong wind expert Dan Nicholson with win in race three. But the wind strength, varying considerably during and between races, made it difficult for either Larry or Dan to be consistent and they managed to take 4th and 3rd place respectively. There was more consistency between Kelly Havig and Laura Sullivan/Peter Nelson who traded 1st and 2nd places throughout the regatta. In the end Laura/Peter on their H18 took first place with 8 points, with Kelly on her H17 close behind with 10 points in second place. Jeff and Lynn Rickard may have been compensating a minimum weight issue, as they had a radio strapped to the wing to make up for it. It could be though, that it took the focus off their racing to some extent.

For good fun we split our sailors up in teams of four boats (and a minimum number of three boat teams as number of entries dictate), identified by team flags and spread over the fleets as much as possible. It was the Blue/White flagged team of Laura Sullivan, Larry Cox, Randy Nikolai and Tim Web who took the win. Congratulations!

Overall Regatta winner was, beyond any doubt, Peter Schmaltzer with his convincing 6 wins in the Low Portsmouth Fleet. Last year’s winner Dan Nicholson handed over the “Live on the Edge” Pennant to him. Peter can enjoy flying the Pennant for a year and is invited to be back next year to defend it, no regatta fee required. Great win, congratulations!

Saturday night entertainment started off with Bill Groesz who had a great story, with props, on the early days of Hobie Cat. It was fun to hear how the Hobie empire came to be, sprouting from a surfer dude who had an idea and started in his dad’s garage.

Gerald Valeske brought fantastic footage of Laura and Peter at the H16 worlds in Australia last year. Big winds and dramatic capsizes, taken with an onboard camera, made for exhilarating video. They must have been exhausted after such rides, but they both exclaimed it was all worth it. And we loved to see it! Thanks so much Gerald!

Thank you to all the volunteers who made it happen again:

Race Committee: Richard Johnson (PRO),Rich Aaring, John Franklin, Andy Nousen

Finish boat: Nan Weed, Kenn & Chris Meneely, Joanne Jones

Rescue boats: Dave Brown, Karen Housen, Gale Morgan, Salty Green, Gordon Mattatal, Glen Hughes

Shore crew: Joanne Jones, Leta Sellers, Charlie Magee, Larry Cox, Dan Nicholson, Ken Lefton, Roeland Kapsenberg

Friday supper: Joanne Jones

Saturday breakfast: Nick Tabet, Shelley Johnson

Saturday dinner: Richard and Marie Johnson

Sunday breakfast: Matt Fleischmann, Dave & Carla Lux,

Original article can be found on eycmultihulls.com