From the RC Vessel:
Day 1 of the Hobie 16 Women, 17 and 18 NACs was a spectacular day. The day started as most have, with the breeze from the NE in a light to variable condition. We waited a bit to set the course and it was spot on as the breeze went right to its consistent 140 degree direction and built all day. We ran race 1 with the ladies starting first followed by the 17’s and then the 18s. The weather mark was set at 0.8 nm upwind with and average breeze of 12 knots and the ladies were beginning to mix up with the 18s.
After race 1 we moved the weather mark out to 1.0 nm and stayed with the course 1. The fleets stayed pretty separated and we were off and running. The breeze continued to build. The average went from 12 to 15 with gusts to 20. All the races were very competitive and it was obvious the competitors were getting tired after 4 really physically challenging races. After a bit of deliberation on the RC vessel we decided to call it a day after 4 races knowing we have 3 more days to go and not wanting to over work anyone. Sue Korz and Karen Grisko were smoking fast in the Women’s, Jim Sohn was on fire in the Hobie 18s and Phil Collins continued his decade long annual Hobie 17 clinic.
It was a great day with a lot of great racing and we look forward to 3 more days of it.
Day 2 of the Hobie 16 Women, 17 and 18 NACs was almost a carbon copy of Day 1. The breeze started out of the ENE at around 10 knots and moved to the SE and built all day. The first race was set at 0.9 nm up at 110 degrees with a course 1 with an average breeze of just over 10 knots. We ran the 16W followed by the H17s and then the H18s with one minute between their sequences. The lighter breeze helped keep the fleets from overlapping and it was a very competitive 5th race. By the end of Race 5 the wind did its normal walk to the right and settled in at 140.
For the rest of the day the fleets raced with a course axis of 140 degrees, the Weather mark set at 1.0 nm and course 1s. The breeze continued to build throughout the day just as it did yesterday; starting at 10 knots gusting to 14-15 and ending with an average of 15 knots gusting to 20. Stormy weather was in the forecast, so all of our eyes were on the skies looking for those bad thunder boomers to set up and they were right on schedule setting up to our west and north. Fortunately, weather does not normally come down from that direction, but this time of year cold fronts do move down into the bay and gulf.
We ran 3 races in the building breeze and decided to stop when there was lightning reported for 5-7 miles away and thunder rumbling in the distance. The top of the H16W fleet was consistent with Sue Korz, Karen Grisko, Dafna Brown and Teri McKenna battling it out. Sue and Karen traded 1sts and Sue has maintained a small lead over Karen going into day 3. On the H18 fleet Richard Freer and his 11 year old daughter sailed spectacularly winning 3 of the 4 races and moving into a tie with Jim Sohn. The H17 master, Phil Collins is still doing his clinic on the fleet and has maintained his dominance.
Day 3 is forecast to be a strange light air day with the breeze coming down from the North. This usually means a light and shifty breeze so we will most likely have our hands full on RC. To top that off there is a scheduled Trump boat parade that will be making its way out onto our racing area around 1 pm so we will have to deal with up to 1000 pleasure boats invading our turf. It is going to be an interesting day tomorrow to say the least.
Well, that is all for now. Results are up and we are uploading photos from Day 2 so have a look and we will fill you in on tomorrow’s activities as soon as we can.
Day 3 was another pretty stellar day for the Ladies, 17s and 18s. The breeze was supposed to be a bit squirrelly out of the North going NW and then SW but that is not what we got. There was to be a boat parade by a group of President Trump supporters that was going to come out from under the bridge and parade up through the water we have been sailing. We moved our course to the far side of the Biloxi channel to avoid any issues with the anticipated congestion. The breeze filled in nicely from the NE and race 9 was sailed with an average 8.3 knots.
With the breeze coming out of the North the chance of it being steady like the last two days is not likely. So, the breeze shifted left to about 340 and we had to reset the Weather mark. Once that was done we got race 10 off. The breeze was oscillating between 330 and 350 with an average speed of 7 knots. In this lighter breeze it was becoming the Dafna Brown show as she won these last 2 races and did it in pretty fine fashion.
The breeze continued to back and settled in at 320 which meant we had to relocate the Signal boat to get further off the Deer Island shoreline. We did our best to move without changing our distance from the Weather mark and got race 11 off in a 7-8 knot breeze. Towards the end of the race I could feel the breeze softening and was contemplating what to do when the Weather mark boat said he had a freshening breeze so we went into sequence for race 12.
Well, the best laid plans don’t always pan out. The breeze did begin to soften but we still had sailable conditions and we decided to move up to the Weather mark and finish the fleets up there the second time up. Unfortunately, the breeze dropped considerable, almost to zero on parts of the course. It was not pretty with the boats sitting at all kinds of weird angles looking for some breeze as they clawed their way ever so slowly to the shortened course finish. The breeze eventually did fill back in a bit from the same direction allowing the boats to finish. It was a pretty crappy way to end a pretty perfect day but that is sail boat racing.
Final day tomorrow and the weather is not looking so good. Anyway, that’s all for now.
Day 4 the wind was nearly nonexistent…we sat on the water with the competitors on the beach under AP…at 1325 we dropped AP with a soft 7-10 knot breeze out of 310-330. We ran one race with an average wind speed of just over 6 knots. The Hobie 18 class had a new leader with Jim Freer and his 11 year old daughter Zoe winning the race. Jim Sohn had a 1 point lead going into the race but wound up finishing further back than second and subsequently relinquishing his lead.
The Hobie 17 and Hobie 16 Women leaders kept their leads with one exception. Barb Permutter and Lydia Brown won the last race on Day 3 and the only race on day 4 and moved into 4th ahead of Teri McKenna and Krista Vind..
Had a great trophy presentation and awards ceremony with the clu supplying burgers and dogs with all the fixings and some macaroni salad for all the hungry competitors…
So, we had 13 races for the Waves and Hobie 14s and 13 for the Hobie 16 Women, 17s and 18s totalling 65 starts. We had all conditions from 15-20 to light drifter winds. Everyone seemed extremely pleased with all aspects of the event and a couple actually called it their best ever. The RC intent was to run 2 races after dropping AP on the beach but the combination of light breeze and an outgoing tide did not allow. We had a 1500 end of series time limit so it was one and done.
Final thoughts from the Hobie RC Vessel
The 2020 Mini Mega was a solid Hobie Way of Life event. Ocean Springs Yacht Club is a venue second to none in its ability to make everyone feel at home and really lives up to the spirit of the Hobie Way. Competitors from across the country started showing up on Saturday and many of the Hobie 14s participated in the Yacht Club’s final sailing event of the season, even if it was just for the second day. As Sunday rolled on we could see many competitors arriving, rigging their boats and taking them out for shake down sails as we finished up with the Shearwater Regatta.
Sunday evening the competitors were treated to a Welcome Party of burgers and dogs and it was obvious they were all glad to once again be amongst friends, there to compete for North American Championships. It was a very welcome site in this year of lock downs, social distancing and all the economic and social pitfalls the pandemic has brought. To see everyone sharing their stories and just happy to be together again was indeed a sight for sore eyes.
Monday, as racing was about to begin, the beach was a vibrant display of Hobie colors as the sailors mingled still sharing their tales, helping each other rig and just shaking out some cobwebs. Every morning the yacht club provided a hot breakfast which was enjoyed by all. There were breakfast casseroles, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, grits, cold cereal, fresh fruit, bagels, English muffins, juices, coffee and all the fixings. Making their way to the breakfast buffet between rigging and getting on the water became a daily routine for the competitors.
After racing war stories were told on the beach during the derigging and many ventured to the bar for an adult beverage or two. Some were there to tout their victories and others to mend their wounds. There is a beautiful wrap around porch at the club where many frequented with wonderful views of the shrimp boats and barges working the bay. That first night the yacht club provided a baked chicken dinner for all. It was fabulous.
Wednesday evening was a combined Final/Welcome Party since there were two events running back to back with the Hobie 14s and Waves ending on Wednesday and the Hobie 16 Women, Hobie 17s and Hobie 18s starting on Thursday. The club provided a shrimp and grits dinner along with blacked chicken for the party and afterwards there was the awards ceremony and a very large raffle, the first of two for the week.
On Friday the yacht club provided ribeye steaks and baked potatoes for dinner. It was a much deserved protein and carb dinner after 2 days of breezy conditions. The final two days of the event saw a change in the weather pattern with the breeze coming offshore making them lighter and shiftier. Probably a blessing in disguise with the first two days of heavier air sailing.
Sunday, the final day, saw only one race in a light Northwesterly breeze and after racing three North American Champions were to be crowned. There was lots of love shared on that beach this final day with everyone pitching in to break down and stack the boats for their journeys home. Early evening came and saw the awards ceremony being held with burgers, dogs, macaroni salad and all the fixings provided by the yacht club. After awards was the final raffle with the big prize, a Hobie Wave sail, being given away.
It was great to see all the old friendships renewed and many new ones initiated. Conversations ran deep and all over the gamut of topics with this being a year of unprecedented events. The event lived up to its billing, “A Stress-free, Hobie Way of Life Event.” Thank you to all that came and participated and thank you to all who made it what it was.
Until next time, this is the Hobie RC Vessel signing off.