As a rule, we go to the Hobie 16 North American championships every year, regardless of where they are held. Other than 2022 (when we were in Spain for the worlds), we haven’t missed a North American Championships in a really long time. This year’s event was held in Alameda, CA, 2800 miles from where we live on the opposite side of the US. We started our planning early but couldn’t really find a good charter boat, so we decided we would just “do the drive”. This wasn’t the first time we have done this; I have driven across the country approximately eight times in the past, always towing Hobie Cats.
We gave ourselves plenty of time to get there in case of any breakdowns, but all went well, and we arrived on schedule after 3.5 days of driving. Our formula is to get up early drive all day and sleep every night. Late in the afternoon, we decide how much longer we want to drive, look ahead for a suitable town, and book a hotel. We find www.hotels.com really convenient for this. Once we arrive, we like to have 1-2 days free to settle in, get rested from the drive, do some food shopping, and see the local area before we start sailing. Of course, there is always a big boat cleaning event after the long drive.
This year we had plenty of time to get settled, as a hurricane was going by. California hasn’t seen a hurricane in like 75 years. Schedule a regatta and something weird will happen with the weather guaranteed.
The regatta itself went really well. Four days of great sailing on San Francisco Bay, great competition, and wonderful times with the Hobie family. For those of us who do this frequently, every year is like a reunion and yes we are family.
On the return trip, we decided some sightseeing was in order and Montana was our destination. Ok, that’s not really on the way but it took us through some places, we had never been and the western states are just spectacular. High mountains and amazing scenery everywhere you go. We had the opportunity to visit with some friends in Montana and see Glacier National Park on the Canadian border.
Our eventual route home took us across the northern part of the country also through places, we had never been. I have now completed the full tour of the continental US; I have driven through all 48 states and towed a Hobie Cat through all but one (I think). Alaska and Hawaii are still eluding me, but we’ll get there.
For years I used to zoom in, sail, and zoom out but never really got to see the sights. I have learned that the extra time is worth it, and the journey is part of it the fun. You also never know what is going to happen along the way and you just have to roll with it. One time, I had to buy a car in Iowa of all places but that’s another story.
My point, the class championships wherever you live and whatever you sail is really the ultimate event of the season. It will be the biggest fleet and the strongest competition of the season but it’s also just a really fun time. Regardless of your ability, make the effort and find a way to be there. You won’t regret it.