Hobie titles decided in a sea of colour
A FLAT and glassy calm sea greeted the Hobie crews as they rigged their boats at the Gunsite beach for the first of six Championship races in the Savills Channel Islands Hobie Cat Championships.
A light sea breeze soon developed, allowing the RCIYC race team to start the Hobie 16 Class, however the wind quickly dropped and the race was abandoned due to a 20-minute time limit at the first mark.
After an hour wait, a predicted force 3 north easterly wind kicked in more or less on time after midday, providing very good racing conditions.
Sunday was equally hot, but the wind came in from a similar direction earlier than the previous day and the racing got underway without any delay, the wind increasing to 14 knots to provide a spectacular sight of brightly-coloured Hobie sails.
One point separated the leading three Hobie 16 A-fleet crews going into the second and final day and the title was decided in the final race.
Gordon Burgis and Kenny Snell managed to forge ahead after a good start and sailed into first place, giving them the title.
It was Burgis’s tenth Hobie 16 title in 27 years, eight of them with crew Snell.
Grant Neale and Karen Larose placed second and fellow former champions Stuart McCue and Julia Dziediel third.
The women’s team of Malin Nilsson and Sandrine Swetenham performed consistently well to finish fourth, while youths Leo Marshall and Chloe Swetenham, who raced on Sunday only, posted two high-scoring seconds – from good starts and fast sailing around the trapezoidal course – to gain fifth.
Youth helms dominated the Hobie 16 B-fleet class.
Gemma Newman, crewed by John Vautier, were the decisive winners after sailing ahead of the chasing pack in most races.
Race three winners Owen Harper and Emma Blake finished second overall and Declan Flambard and Megan McDonagh, last year’s Hobie Dragoon Cadet class winners, third.
The Hobie Wildcats and Tigers combined classes were on similar handicaps and racing was fast and tight as boats made full use of their big spinnakers on the downwind and reaching legs.
Darren Stower, crewed by Graeme Monks, set the pace on their Wildcat in race one, but after that Andy hart and Michael Kinross, also on a Wildcat, dominated with three impressive firsts for a well-deserved victory overall.
They were followed by Stower and Monks, just one point behind. Racing into third and fourth were Adrian Jesson and Paul Martin and Jimmy Fullerton and Perry Stone respectively, the later aboard a Tiger.
Racing was close and exciting for the Junior teams competing on the Hobie Dragoons.
Tom Hunt and Kyla McDonagh were the stand out junior team winning all five counting races in the Hobie Dragoons class.
Finlay Arenz and Juliette Walton sailed consistently to take second, just head of Else Blakeley and Lena Holden.
Trophies were presented at the Royal Channel Islands Yacht Club by Savills director Geri O’Brien.
Hobie 16 A-fleet: 1, Gordon Burtis and Kenny Snell; 2, Grant Neale, Karen Larose; 3, Stuart McCue, Julia Dziediel.
Hobie 16 B-fleet: 1, Gemma Newman, John Vautier; 2, Owen Harper, Emma Blake; 3, Declan Flambard, Megan McDonagh.
Hobie Wildcats and Tigers combined: 1, Andy Hart, Michael Kinross; 2, Darren Stower, Graeme Monks; 3, Adrian Jesson, Paul Martin.
Hobie Dragoon Class (juniors): 1, Tom Hung, Kyla McDonagh; 2, Finlay Arenz, Juliette Walton; 3, Else Blakeley, Lena Holden.
Hobie 16 Masters: Gordon Burgis, Kenny Snell.
Hobie 16 (women): Malin Nilsson, Sandrine Swetenham.
Hobie 16 Youth: Leo Marshall, Chloe Swetenham.