by John Ryall
If you missed the Hobie Tiger, Ladies Nationals and Open Class sailing at Langebaan over this weekend you missed out – big time…!
I am still catching my breath!
The weather had obviously looked at ‘Windguru’ this time and followed the forecast almost exactly unlike the WC Championships at Simonstown. Superb organisation by Colin and Tracy Whitehead and their team resulted in a really good old-fashioned ‘Hobie’ Regatta. Thanks to Di and Hans Klein non sailors who helped on all days. On the water we had the best Hobie race officer in the business Doug ‘2G0’ Alison, Judy Alison and crew on a superb big cat bridge boat. Thank you to the owner – it’s for sale at R5m if you feel like upgrading from a Hobie. No protests (Brandon), no recalls and only a few OCS’s.
Sponsorship by Robberg Sea Fisheries of a Yellowtail, and if you were one of the lucky ones some Dorado, braai on Saturday night at the Hobie shop with another sponsored meat braai at Langebaan Yacht Club on Sunday night ensured that everybody met and mixed and old friendships were renewed and new friendships made. Hylton Hale is even thinking of getting a Tiger again. Tracy’s hard work in getting 10 entries for the ladies nationals meant that we saw several ladies who had not been seen at Hobie Regattas for quite a while – we hope to see you girls again soon.
The Tiger Fleet was a very competitive one although missing names such as Duncan Ross and Mike Goodyre. With a Skippers briefing at 10h00 and a first race start time set for 11h00 things were really tight for the Tiger Sailors. Charles Girard had brought down two disassembled Tigers from Johannesburg, one for himself and one a new purchase by William Kieser. Fortunately there was enough time to do the basic assembly on Friday night so that William could tow his new boat home and continue the assembly process there. Rumour has it that he was so enamoured with this new mainsail and carbon dagger boards that Gia had to sleep in the spare room.
A sympathetic race officer and a slight lack of wind saw the start of the first race take place at 12h30 in about 8 knots of SE wind. The wind gradually freshened during the day reaching over 20 knots for the 5th and last race. As you can see from the results there were 4 x DNF’s and 2 x DNS in the last race of the day so the conditions proved too strong for some Tiger sailors. This included one who capsized taking drastic avoiding action to miss his own Hobie 16 being sailed in the ladies event that had capsized in front of him ! Thanks Penny. After five races on Saturday William and Douglas Edwards were in the lead closely followed by Blaine Dodds and Shaun Ferry. Notable absentees from the top five were Allan Lawrence and Colin Whitehead each with their story tell. In race 3 Colin ripped his mainsail, came back in and in spite of having a spare mainsail for sale in the Hobie shop chose not to go out again but to stay and help with the fish braai !
Allan Lawrence’s story deserves telling in full – if you think you have had a bad day at the office wait till you hear this one. For the full details you have buy Allan a beer and Daniel two beers, but I think it goes something like this. Before the start of the first race the bolts holding Allan’s mainsheet cleat came undone leaving him without a cleat and the mainsheet jammed by a block that I assume was held on by the same bolts. He was also adjudged OCS in the first race ! He managed to make a temporary repair which in the lighter winds was not too bad not being able to cleat the mainsheet. I understand that they came into the beach, Daniel ran to the Hobie Shop to get some more nylock nuts, found that they were completely out of stock, tore off down the road in the Kombi only to find it barricaded off due to the Langebaan Festival now being in full swing, failed to persuade the officials on the barricade to let him through to get to the hardware store, then did a big ‘wheelie’ to turn around and drive up to the main road where he had to run for about a kilometre in order to get to the hardware store which fortunately had the nuts in stock. After securing the mainsheet cleat and getting back onto the course they found themselves OCS in race number 3! They ended better with an 8th and 2nd in the last races of the day all the while having a mainsheet one purchase less than designed. This meant that two of the main contenders for top spot were more or less out of the running. William Kieser temporarily lost his expensive ‘Windex’ burgee at the end of his spinnaker pole when he stuck it in another competitor’s ear on the start line in race 4.
Racing was set to continue at 10h00 on Sunday but the wind was on strike and a light Westerly, max only 5-6 knots, came through at about 13h30. Just two races were held with the seaward side of the course generally paying better than the shore side in the first race. This reversed itself for the second race confusing a few people. Cleverly Doug ‘2G0’ Alison abandoned racing after race no. 2 as the wind had died completely. The end of day 2 saw Blaine & Peter Blaine Dodds in the lead with 12 points followed by Shaun & Jason Gray and William & Dougie Edwards.
Four races on the last day with the cut off set at 15h00 allowed a second discard but not enough to help Allan who ended with a 5,5,4,3 in a South Easterly wind that rose steadily during the day. Racing was very close and exciting. I am not sure of the gap between first and last at the finish but I know if you just let your spinnaker flap just once too much 5 boats went by you. At least 5 boats were aiming for the ‘Gate’ buoys at any one rounding – see Caroline we did not always turn left! Colin’s jinx continued – he tore the head off his spinnaker – come to think of it Josh Selig could have been responsible for both incidents. Shaun’s finish of 3,1,2,2 was just not enough to pip Blaine who won by 2 points from him and William.
Hobie 16 Ladies National Championships
While on paper it looked like a foregone conclusion that Belinda Hayward would walk away with it this was definitely not the case. Belinda had Janine Kruyt crewing for her making a very welcome return to the Hobie scene after a number of years away. This absence fell to Lucinda Edwards’ advantage in the first two races as Belinda and Janine had not seen each other for seven years and their chatting allowed Lucinda to get bullets in the first two races. After Belinda and Janine had exhausted some of the topics of their conversation Belinda got into her stride with 4 straight first places and things looked to be cut and dried. However on the last day coming out to race Belinda had forgotten her sailing gloves and Janine made her go back for them. This gave them a 4th place in race number 7 and Lucinda very nearly beat her in race number 8.
A first place here would have meant that Lucinda would have won overall on a discard count back. I understand that Janine is the one to have crew for you as she comes complete with a picnic hamper including sandwiches to be had after each race. Tracy Whitehead sailing with Samantha van der Vyver finished a very credible third followed by Penny Alison and her late replacement crew of Kate Bosman as Sarah Arnold had been damaged while sailing in the WC Championships at Simonstown the previous weekend.
It was good to see Calene Loubser back crewing for Kelli Whitehead – Calene we want to see you skippering a boat next year putting all your experience to good use. Camryn and Laura came all the way down from Gauteng to sail – slightly rusty after not doing much sailing since the Worlds in Germany last year. Judy Provoyeur is a name that we have not seen on a Hobie for a while but it was good to have her back crewed by Kirsten Veenstra. Ian should have been doing the Tiger thing but instead I understand he was sailing something called an ‘Extra’. The Du Plessis family (not often seen outside Langebaan) filled eighth and ninth places. Jody I am sure that you should be skippering next year and give Belinda and Lucinda a run for their money. Carolyn Fulton and Lauren Pierce very sportingly entered using the WCHCA Hobie 16 but could only sail on the Saturday to make up the 10 places necessary to constitute a National Championship. It was interesting to see that Lauren skippered the boat in all the races on Saturday skippering a Hobie 16 for the first time – with a little coaching from uncle Shaun Ferry she could also be challenging for top spot.
Brandon Wijtenburg and Todd Fisher practicing for the Youth worlds were allowed to sail with the ladies, however their rather robust on the water tactics in the first day saw them learn a few new words that they thought the ladies did not know and brought a lecture from a number of the ‘Aunties’ on the beach that evening. It did however have a good ending as Belinda held a youth sailing rules workshop on the beach while waiting for the wind on Sunday morning which clarified quite a few rules to not only Brandon and Todd but most of the other youngsters sailing as well. Well done Belinda.
Open Class – Hobie 14’s
Emphasising the resurgence of Hobie 14 sailing 5 Hobie 14’s came out to play with Simon Russell getting 7 straight firsts. Two father and sons competing against each other here Simon Russell versus Alex Russell and Mark Belcher versus Jack Belcher. All closet Tiger sailors. Mark I am sorry to say that once Jack puts on just a few more kilos you are not going to see him.
It was really a family affair with no fewer than six father son and father or father and daughter (well done Lauren Kieser) sailing Tigers together and another three family combinations sailing on different boats with both Rob and Josh Selig crewing for Charles Rickens and Colin Whitehead respectively. In the ladies there were two mother daughter combinations sailing together, Lucinda and Pippa Edwards & Louise and Shannon du Plessis with Tracy and Kelli Whitehead competing against each other.
We must ask the question here that if you had somebody like Roxanne Dodds waiting on the beach to crew for you why would you not pitch up? Richard I hope nothing bad happened on your trail run but we do hope to see you at the next regatta. The only bad issue was that things are no longer safe on the beach at Langebaan and there were a number of security issues and minor thefts which will mean that we will have to have full-time security on the beach for future events.
Prize giving was held at the Hobie shop complete with lamb stew. As well as prizes for the best second and third in each of the classes above Brandon Wijtenburg won an up-to-date rulebook to use in the youth worlds. There were two major lucky draw prizes – Charles Girard winning the prize of a sponsored skippers ticket course at Atlantic yachting – Charles this means that you will have to come back to Langebaan! Five names were drawn from all competitors and helpers to win the major lucky draw prize of a two-week stay in Mauritius having a sailing holiday with Wild Wind Adventures. This was worth some R45 000! The names that came out of the cup were:
• Josh Selig
• Julian Power
• Penny Alison
• Doug Alison ?
• Rob Selig ?
Poor Julian did not stand a chance and the final draw saw Penny Alison win. Penny I suggest that you advertise on eBay for a knight in shining armour to pay for the airfares and accompany you to Mauritius to take up your prize – you never know what may happen!
Blaine Dodds had a fantastic year winning the domestic Hobie 14, Hobie 16 and Hobie Tiger Championships – well done Blaine. Add to this a 3rd in the Tiger Worlds, 2nd in the Hobie 16 Masters and 2nd in the Hobie 16 Grand Masters – the only blot being a 27th something in the Hobie 16 Open Worlds. While it is encouraging to see that some young skippers like Matt Whitehead are coming through the ranks in order to get to the top of the pile you first have to beat Blaine and that by some 27 boat lengths before we can have another Hobie World Champion. Food for thought and we really need some master classes in Hobie sailing from the likes of Blaine, William, Shaun, Allan, Paul Largess and Colin