The 2021 South African Hobie 14 National Championships were held in Durban South Africa, from the 2nd to 4th April. Anyone that has sailed in Durban will know that Durban is arguably one of the best sailing venues in the world, with warm seas and very mild winters, making sailing viable throughout the year. Wind conditions being predominantly NE and SW, sailing is ideal at this venue. Point Yacht Club hosted the event at their newly built club house on the beach promenade, with boat launching taking place right in front of the club, it has married all the great elements needed to grow our sport of Hobie sailing in the future. Point Yacht Club Durban is absolutely a world class facility and venue. One day in the future, I see a Worlds at this venue. Sixteen Hobie 14’s rolled off onto the warm Durban sea sand on the first day of the regatta. The next three days of sailing would provide close racing in the warm Indian Ocean with dolphins, large leather back turtles and isolated shoals of jumping bait fish, being our spectators.
Day 1: Sixteen Hobie 14’s lined up on the start line ready to chase down a maximum of 12 races over the 3-day regatta. A 12-15 knot NE wind with a fairly calm sea was the fuel to the sausage – triangle – sausage course set out by the race officials. Sailors had a clean start with a few opting for a port start to avoid the extra tack on the beat up to the weather mark. Kyle Lambie sailing out of LDYC club, finished 2nd to Peter Hall, Kyle one of the more established younger sailors was hot on the transom of Peter. Finishing 3rd was Richard Gorlei. Due to a late start on this first day only two races were achieved.
Day 2: A moderate 14-18 knot SW changed the orientation of the previous days course. A flatter sea meant faster, more exhilarating races were set for the day. A total of 5 races were planned, two triangle races, then a change of course to three windward- leeward races. Two water rivals, Wayne Smith and Richard Gorlei both encountered boat breakages in the 4th Race, returned to the beach for repairs. As the day progressed the SW wind was peaking at 20-22 knotts, thrilling Hobie 14 sailing was at its best. Most noticeably is how the younger sailors are starting to come through the fleet. Peter Hall ended the day with 5 wins keeping ahead of the pack, Kyle second and Andrew Heathcote slipping into third place from 14th the day before.
Day 3: The NE was back on day three, 8-10 knots with lumpy seas to start. Shorter windward\leeward courses were set for five races on this day. A slower fleet of boats jostled around the course looking for every little wind shift and opportunity to gain advantage. Points were really close between 2nd and 7th place from the day before and with another discard on the cards, it was all to sail for. Slowly the wind increased in strength on the 3rd race to 12-14 knotts, hiking wind, hard on the abs especially with the sea chop straight at us on the windward beats. The U flag was flown from race 2 to 5 keeping the cats treading carefully down the start line.
The final results placed Kyle Lambie in 3rd place, Andrew Heathcote in 2nd place and Peter Hall in 1st place. The 1st Youth Sailor went to Matt Hall.
I always like to mention sailors that have excelled during the regatta,
Kyle Lambie: In my view, Kyle has excellent boat speed, he led a number of races and racked up 4 x second places, well done Kyle.
Matt Hall: Matt still sailing under youth managed 3 x second places finishing tied for fourth, on a count out slipped to fifth.
Dylan Albert: sailed consistently through-out the regatta winning the seventh race, nothing like a win, well done Dylan.
Daniel Jonck: A new youth sailor from Henley Midmar dam. This was Daniel’s first time sailing offshore in the sea, he managed several top 10 finishes and a third place in the 10th race. At 14 years of age Daniel showed maturity on the water and defiantly has some serious sailing skill, well done.
Andrew Heathcoate: This was Andrews first time racing Hobie 14’s, an accomplished sailor in his own right in other classes, his love for the Hobie classes and his sailing skill has shone through at this regatta. Well done Andrew and we really appreciate you sailing in our Hobie class.