50 years of Totally Immersed fun on and off the water, Hobie Cat is here for the long haul..
With 6 months to go until the 50th Australian Hobie Cat National Championships is due to commence in glorious fashion, it’s time we take a look at what we’ve got so far.
Across two Series, a grand total of 81 boats have entered so far. That number is already larger than any other Australian Hobie event since the 2010-11 Jervis Bay Nationals which saw 92 boats hit the South Coast of NSW. With 25 weeks to go, it’s vastly clear that we’ve got something very special on our hands…
So, let’s take a deeper dive at the numbers…
Taking a closer look at the first Series, there are currently 28 Hobie 16 teams entered at the time of press. This is getting close to rivalling the 2019-20 Jervoise Bay, WA Nationals and the 2018-19 North Haven, SA Nationals which saw 31 Hobie 16s compete. Not only that, this fleet is already larger than the fleets consisting in each of this year’s State Championships.
- Team NSW/ACT currently has the most entrants with 16, followed by VIC with eight, whilst with QLD and WA are equal with five entries a piece.
- The locals are currently the most represented club with eight teams from Vincentia. Following, Palm Beach has four, whilst Somers and Port Melbourne both have three a piece. Meanwhile, strong Hobie clubs like Torquay, Nedlands, Geraldton and Royal Queensland, are currently looking underrepresented throughout the fleet.
- Staying true to the Hobie Family, seven are currently parent/child teams, whilst eight teams are partners in crime, both on and off the water.
- There are currently six lonely skippers who have entered on a Hobie 16, but are awaiting confirmation on a crew.
- In addition to the 28 Hobie 16 teams, there are four Hobie 14 Turbos, one Hobie 17, and two Hobie 18s.
In Series 2, the “Age of Resurgence” is proving to be relentless, with 33 Hobie 14s registered, with the vast majority of skippers competing in their first Hobie 14 Nationals, let alone a Hobie 14 Nationals altogether. This number is already four entrants short of the NSW Hobie 14 State Championships which saw 35 Hobie 14s battle it out in Jervis Bay.
- At the time of press, 17 skippers are sailing in both series.
- Team NSW currently has the most entrants with 27, followed by VIC with 11. Meanwhile, QLD has 5 and WA is sitting with 2.
- The home town heroes, Vincentia, are currently the most represented club with 17 entrants, followed by Somers with seven. Port Melbourne and Toukley are looking good to gain some more boats with three entered a piece so far, whilst Torquay and Queensland are looking underrepresented at this stage.
- In the Hobie 16 Women’s fleet, there are currently SIX seasoned teams registered and ready to go, two of which are competing in the Youth fleet as well.
- There are currently four Youth teams locked in who are competing in their first Hobie 16 Youth Nationals, both from opposite sides of the continent, along with two all-female Youth teams.
- Finally, three Hobie Tigers are due to hit Jervis Bay in style, along with the budgie smuggling bandits, Jed and Baz, on the Wildcat.
New South Wales & Australian Capital Territory
NSW/ACT is currently leading the pack of entrants in both series, with a whopping 44 boats entered in total. The hometown heroes in Vincentia are understandably the highest represented club so far, whilst Palm Beach are showing very strong numbers in both series.
Looking at who we’ve got on the list, Dave Fisher is set to sail with his super-crew, Hayley, in Series 1. Additionally, he’s set to dust off the cobwebs on ‘Fickle Finger‘, racing the 14 in Series 2. Also from Palm Beach, Tracy and Ainslie are set to sail in the Hobie 16 Womens, whilst Upu has entered ‘Manu One’, and is on the lookout for a red hot crew.
Also yet to lock in a crew are the Vinnie Boys: Gav Luxton, Will McKenzie, Jimmy Rhodes, MB and Paddy, plus honorary board member, Andrew Warneke.
New comers on the scene and yet to compete in an event this year, both from Palm Beach, are Scott Kesteven and Rose Cookson, along with Andrew Wilson and Peter Slater. Additionally in the Hobie 14s, Clinton Fehlberg and Mark Quodling are set to sail in their first Hobie 14 regatta since the Resurgence.
The Hobie Tigers are looking strong with the Drivers, Kerrie and Andrew, along with Gilby set to sail in familiar waters, whilst Jed and Baz are hell bent on another week of partying on the Wildcat. Meanwhile, Jake de Rooy and Alannah Simpson, along with a solo Peter Manley have entered into the Hobie 18 fleet, patiently awaiting for more friends to play with.
Finally, Stefan Ochsenbein has been the first to enter the Hobie 17. The question is, however, will we see more boats join the action, matching the six boat fleet at the 2010-11 Jervis Bay Nationals.
Team Vic are displaying strong potential as always. The regular crew consisting of Somers, Port Melbourne and Torquay are already ramping up for the occasion, whilst some other clubs from around The Education State are slowly popping up on the list.
The father and daughter duo, Tim and Elsa Tutt, are coming in hot from Anglesea after a third in Portarlington. Additionally, Colin Bailey from Ballarat has entered on the 14 in both Series 1 & 2.
The dynamic duo, Maddog and Johnny, from Torquay have entered into the 16 Opens. However, sources close to home say they are still deciding who will take the helm. More news to come out of this situation in the coming months.
David Bent and Nick Price are due to jump back on the 14 since their last Championship event in Portarlington. Joining the party are the Rowdy boys, as per usual. But, what we are looking forward to most is the return of Luke Crouch and the one and only Mr. P: Campbell Weddell.
Finally, as always, the Morris clan is looking strong. Zoe is set to sail with fellow Somers brethren, Abi Morgan, after her last adventure in Jervis Bay with Jimmy Winchester on the Dragoon was cut short. Meanwhile, Matilda and Emily Chiu are set to defend their National Title on the Dragoon, with stiff competition yet to come from Somers and Vincentia. Lastly, the matriarch, Emma, is set to chase glory in the Womens, whilst Simon and Ellie’s names are yet to join the list…
As we look to the Sunshine State, a total of 10 boats are entered across the two Series, with some familiar names, along with some new ones, set to sail in the glorious waters of Jervis Bay over the new year period.
From all the way up in Port Curtis Sailing Club in Gladstone, Brian and Larissa Polkinghorne are set to join the party. Additionally, Jed and Darren Lane from the Sunshine Coast are locked, loaded and ready to sail. Both teams are competing in their first Hobie Cat Regatta this year.
The Battling Brazilian, Igor Prado, is finally having his way and unfurling his jib in his first official Hobie 14 Turbo Nationals. Sources say the man is training tirelessly on the Sunshine Coast and looking forward to a fortnight off the bottle in Jervis Bay.
Bloody Leon is set to send it in Series 2, taking on arch-rival and the infamous Gremlin of Hobie sailing: Worst News.
Finally, from the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron and sailing in Jervis Bay for the first time since making the migration north, Gordy McGillivray is ready to make a statement in the Hobie 14 Nationals. Also from RQYS and well accustomed to the might of a glorious summer sea-breeze on the South Coast: the Andrews sisters, Carmen and Haylie; and Mr. Pelican, Andrew Warneke.
Lastly, but most certainly not least, is Team WA.
Proven to house some of the most successful Hobie Cat Sailors the world has seen in the last 50 years, the crew from the west is bringing the heat for the Nationals.
The Hot Shots, Cam Owen and Suzzi Ghent, are ready to chase their third consecutive Hobie 16 Nationals, after claiming the Gold in both North Haven and Jervoise Bay. Whilst the younger Owen, Lachy, is set to sail in the Hobie 16 Youths with another Youth from one of WA’s other royal families, Elisabeth Smith.
Elisabeth is also set to sail with the budgie smuggling Trevor Hughes, whilst Team Gerro is back on the east coast once again. Grady and Pete Redway, along with Phil and Caitlyn Epps, are set to hit the waters of Jervis Bay for the first time since the 2014 Hobie 16 Worlds. Both teams are sailing in Series 1, while Phil and Caitlyn are also sailing the Tiger in the second series.
Finally, Darren and Claire are once again chasing another Nationals on the Hobie 16. Most notably, however, is Dazzy’s commitment to claim a double Gold by racing a Hobie 14 in Series 2. Let’s see how he goes tacking in the breeze now…
Cheers to the Australian Hobie Family
Finally, on behalf of the Vincentia Sailing Club, the NSW Hobie Cat Association, and the whole team behind the 50th Australian Hobie Cat National Championships, I would like to say thank you.
Thank you to everyone who has entered in what is the celebration of 50 years of the Hobie Sailing in Australia.
From locations back in the days of yore like Lake Jindabyne, Middle Harbour and Yarra Bay, to central localities today like Somers, Nedlands and Vincentia, the Hobie Family’s roots run deep in many clubs, both great and small, throughout Australia.
This summer in Jervis Bay is going to be truly epic, and I for one, am beyond excited to experience this Nationals in all it’s glory.
So, finally, we’ll be seeing you in Jervis Bay real soon … Cowboy and Cowgirl Sailors.