The 2021/2022 South African Hobie 16 National Championships were held in Langebaan lagoon on the West Coast from 28 April to 1 May. Thirty entries were received but only 26 boats took part, one from Namibia and one from Tanzania.
Day 1 ushered in with somewhat nippy Autumn weather, a southerly medium wind and flat water. The first race started on schedule at 1 pm and boats cruised home after three back-to-back races with Blaine Dodds and daughter Roxanne Rein having won 2 races, William Edwards with wife Lucinda clenching 2 second place, and Paul Legesse with son Jayden achieving a first and second. The stage was set for another tight national between these three Hobie 16 legends.
That evening competitors enjoyed a relaxing Welcome Party at Friday Island with a Cape Town Gin tasting and a much needed social gathering of Hobie friends after 2 years of Covid-related isolation.
Day 2 was not to be. Competitors dressed up to brave the cold weather for a scheduled start at 12h00 and the bridge boat and mark layers launched in the rain to set the course. After an hour of postponement, the squall passed and took the wind with it, the sun came out, skies cleared, and we waited another 2 hours drying out for the wind to return. At 3 pm, Race Officer Doug Alison raised AP over A and returned to shore and a hot shower.
Day 3 started gently, and racing was again scheduled for the afternoon when the forecasted southerly wind returned. Doug managed to squeeze in 4 back-to-back perfect races for the day. Douglas Edwards and Jana Muller sailed a brilliant first race of the day taking line honours for the first time ever in a national championship; ex-world champions Shaun Ferry and Alison Ball won the 2nd race, father and son team Duncan Ross and Gabriela won the 3rd and Blaine and Roxanne won the 4th race. By day end Paul and Jayden were leading the event followed by Blaine and Roxanne in 2nd, Duncan and Gabriela in 3rd, and William and Lucinda in 4th place.
Day 4 did not disappoint with ideal fresh southerly winds of between 10 and 20 knots, and a further 4 back-to-back races were completed. Blaine clinched first place in the first 2 races of the day and Paul won the 3rd race putting them only 1 point apart going into the final race of the regatta. William and Lucinda snuck in to win the final race with Blaine in 2nd and Paul in 3rd place.
With 26 points after 11 races for both first and second place overall, the tiebreaker resulted in Blaine and Roxanne being the overall winners yet again of the South African Hobie 16 National title, Paul and Jayden coming 2nd overall and the winners of the previous Hobie 16 nationals, William and Lucinda taking 3rd place.
Prize-giving was held at Langebaan Yacht Club just after sunset with many happy faces, a Hobie community reunited after 2 years of not much sailing or socializing, and a lot of appreciation for the sponsors that made this event possible: JOTUN paints, Friday Island B&B in Langebaan, Cape Town Gin (a truly great gin), North Sails and Saplings. Special awards were presented to 1st Youth team Andrew and Michael Lawson, fist time competitors in the Hobie 16 class; 1st Ladies team Penny Alison and Alyson Espinoza Diaz who came all the way from Tanzania; 1st Great Grand Master team Rob & Josh Selig; the Most Improved Sailor Douglas Edwards; and the Most Inspirational Sailor Robert Glover from Namibia. A great end to a great regatta.
Team South Africa competing in the 2022 Hobie 16 World Championships in Spain:
Blaine Dodds & Roxanne Rein (1st)
William Edwards & Lucinda Edwards (3rd)
Douglas Edwards & Lila Murzl (7th)
Brent Hayward & Andrew Jones (9th)
2022 RSA Hobie 16 National Championship podium positions:
1ST YOUTH – Andrew and Michael Lawson
1ST LADIES – Penny Alison and Alyson Espinoza Diaz
1ST GREAT GRAND MASTER – Rob and Josh Selig
WINNERS – Blaine Dodds and Roxanne Rein
SECOND PLACE – Paul and Jayden Lagesse
THIRD PLACE – William and Lucinda Edwards
MOST INSPIRATIONAL SAILOR – Robert Glover
MOST IMPROVED SAILOR – Douglas Edwards