Hobie 16 North American’s Wrap in Florida

Published on September 14th, 2018

Navarra, FL (September 14, 2018) – The 2018 Hobie 16 North American Championship regatta was held this week, September 10-14, with 67 teams from throughout North America competing for the title.

The annual event is always a reunion of the Hobie sailing family. It’s an opportunity to spend time with friends from around North America. Florida always attracts a big turnout and this event did not disappoint.

Due to geographic limitations of the sailing area, the race officer opted for a split fleet format with the sailors seeded into four groups and competing in two starts per race. This would continue for the first three days of competition, afterwards, the fleet would be split into gold and silver fleets for the final two days of competition.

The first day of racing saw a morning delay waiting for winds until racing got underway in 5-7 knots of wind. Two races were completed for the day before the wind gave up. After two races Ken HILK/Darcy JENSEN (USA) led followed by Kevin SMITH/David SMITH (USA) and Patrick PORTER/Heather MATTHEWS (USA).

After another morning postponement to allow the wind to fill, day two of the Hobie 16 North American Championships continued in 5-10 knots of wind with the strongest breeze early and fading throughout the day. The increased velocity generally made for better sailing but the numerous shifts and changes in wind speed provided lots of passing opportunities.

The wind had been blowing directly across a rather narrow bay, keeping the courses small and the fleet tightly compacted. Managing the traffic, keeping clear air, and picking the right shift was a challenge for the competitors.

Three races were completed shuffling the scoreboard. Enrique FIGUEROA/Melisa GANN (PUR) led followed by Mark MODDERMAN/Alexander LIU (USA) and Ken HILK/Darcy JENSEN (USA) after day two.

Day three of the Hobie 16 North American Championships continued the light wind theme with winds of 4-7 knots and a slow but persistent right shift. Three additional races were completed. Shifty winds and velocity continued to challenge sailors.

The tight fleets put a priority on keeping their air clear. After racing was complete on day three the competitors were separated and grouped into gold and silver fleets, with the top 40 advancing to the gold fleet.

After day three of racing, Enrique FIGUEROA/Melisa GANN (PUR) continued to lead followed by Brian LAMBERT/Rebecca LAMBERT (USA) and Ken HILK/Darcy JENSEN (USA).

Day four of the Hobie 16 NA Champs seemed like ground hog day as it was a repeat of weather pattern that the sailors have seen all week, with some dolphins and thunder mixed in. Racing started promptly at 10:00 AM, three races were completed in 4-8 knots of wind with the same slow but persistent right shift all day before a thunderstorm brought an end to the day.

A pod of dolphins was swimming with the boats all day. The gold fleet was a bit aggressive on the starts a few general recalls bringing out the U and black flags. At the end of day four, Enrique FIGUEROA/Melisa GANN (PUR) maintained their lead, followed by Pat PORTER/Heather MATTHEWS (USA) and Brian LAMBERT/Rebecca LAMBERT (USA).

The Hobie 16 North American Championships concluded on Friday, September 14. After an on-shore delay while the wind filled, two additional races were completed in 8-10 knots. While still not the breezy conditions Hobie 16 sailor’s love, it was just enough to single trapeze.

After four days of light wind, the breeze brought smiles to the sailor’s faces.

Holding the lead all week, Enrique FIGUEROA/Melisa GANN (PUR) won the championship. There is a four way tie for second place with second going to Mark MODDERMAN/Alexander LIU (USA), followed by Pat PORTER/Heather MATTEWS (USA) and Mike MONTAGUE/Kathy WARD (USA).

Next year’s championships will be held in September 2019 in Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia. This year’s event was the qualifier for the 2019 Hobie 16 World Championships in Captiva Island, Florida.

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Source: Rich McVeigh

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