The 2nd series of the Australian Hobie Championship is the Hobie 16 Open and Hobie 16 Masters. This is also the qualifying event for the 22nd Hobie 16 Worlds in Captiva Island, Florida for the South Pacific Region.
Four races on day one in light to moderate breezes. As expected the leader board is full of famous names. Darren Smith and Claire Bisgood are off to a great start in defending the Australian Championships. Closely followed by former Australian champions Cam Owen and Susan Ghent tied with former Hobie 16 World Champion Gavin Colby and Bradley Wilson tied on points. With current Hobie 14 World Champion Fletch Warren-Myer teaming up with Ellie Morris just a few points back. With two former Hobie 16 World Champion skippers a former Hobie 16 World Champion crew and a current Hobie 14 World Champion this is a top fleet.
It was hot day in Adelaide with the temperature hitting 41 degrees Celsius (106 Fahrenheit). Unfortunately, with the heat only a light offshore breeze materialized. A race was started in the morning session and then a postponement waiting for the afternoon sea breeze.
The afternoon sea breeze managed to arrive after the delay. Gusting up to 12 knots allowing one race to be sailed. Though never completely stable to allow more racing.
The top five places remain unchanged with Darren Smith and Claire Bisgood with a second and first. Cam Owen and Susan Ghent with a first and second. Gavin Colby and Bradley Wilson with a third and fourth.
After two days and six races it looks as if the top three are moving away from the rest of the fleet. Though a cold front with strong winds are forecasted for tomorrow. This may change the leader board.
The forecasted strong winds did arrive. Unfortunately it was too strong to go send the fleet out. 26-33 knots with a building sea kept the fleet ashore. Racing is scheduled to start earlier on day 4 to make up time.
With no racing yesterday due to the strong winds, the racing started early for the last day of racing. Seven races were held which also gave all the second drop race. This was done over two session. Three races in the morning, a break for lunch and then 4 races in the afternoon. The strong winds from the day before did cause some of the seaweed to come onto the race course causing some minor issues for some the of the sailors.
With the breeze fluctuating in pressure and some directional changes it was always going to be a tough day in the office for all the sailors. With the top three places seeming to separate from the rest of the fleet it was going to see if they could maintain their lead. Also, which if the three would come out on top.
For the overnight leader and defending champion, Darren Smith and Claire Bisgood the day couldn’t have got off to a worse start. They broke a gooseneck in the first race of the day and had to retire. But bounced back to win the second race of the day. Though it was the consistency of Cam Owen and Susan Ghent that prevailed to win the Australian Hobie 16 Championships. Though former Hobie 16 World Champion Gavin Colby and Bradley Wilson shone on the last day with 2 first places, 4 second places and a dropping a sixth place to finish in second place overall. Darren Smith and Claire Bisgood finished third overall as they could not mage the consistency of the other two teams.
So tough was the racing that current Hobie 14 World Champion Fletch Warren-Myers was finished on the water in race 11 being that far behind the leaders. Fletch later commented that helped him as he went to shore, made some changes to the boat and had 2 top 10 finishes.
As this was the selection series for the South Pacific Region to the 22nd Hobie 16 Worlds in Captiva Island, Florida to be held 1-16 November 2019 . The top 11 teams will be asked to represent their region at these world championships.