In the recent Boardwalk Hobie 16 Sailing championships held from 21 to 24 March 2013, a total of 8 races were sailed over three days (Saturday was blown out). Conditions were mostly below 12 knots with flat seas and the wind from the East, South and West to make for an interesting and complete regatta under the hand of bridge officer, Doug Allison.
On the first day of sailing sailors were greeted with a perfectly sunny and calm day and were eventually called out in the early afternoon by Race Officer Doug Allison who, in the light South-Easterly of 6 to 8 knots, set a Windward Leeward (Sausage shape) course with the start in line with Shark Rock Pier, the top mark in line with Admiralty Way and the bottom marks in line with Humewood beach – a perfect spectators course which presented the Hobies with the choice of staying inshore and sailing close to Bird Rock on their way up to the first rounding mark.
First around the top mark was the Plettenberg Bay duo of Blaine and Roxanne Dodds, eager to stamp their authority on the regatta and avenge their 2nd place of 2012, they were followed by local husband and wife sailors Andrew and Angela Ward who have been training and dieting up a storm in preparation for these nationals.
From the top mark a downwind leg saw many of the boats opt to hug the shoreline looking for a land breeze before taking the outermost gate buoy on the bottom gate mark before the long march back up the beat for the top mark. Most Hobies opted to hug the shore line and dodge Bird Rock on the return back up to the top.
An increasing wind velocity and wind shift greeted the back markers as the predicted increase in wind velocity and shift made it’s appearance. Most of the back markers completed the last leg to the finish on a reach.
With the wind increasing to 28 knots some Hobies were seen to capsize and the rescue boats stood by.
After one race on Day one the top three finishers were: 1. Blaine and Roxanne Dodds 2. William and Lucinda Edwards 3. Andrew and Angela Ward.
As a safety precaution, Race Officer Doug Allison, sent the Hobies back to the beach to wait out the big westerly blow and eventually abandoned racing.
Friday, day two, was better suited to the lighter sailors and 3 races were sailed in 5 to 8 knot southerly breeze – once again making for great viewing along Hobie Beach with the top mark just off the Camel’s hump reef (between Bird Rock and Pollock Beach), the start off of Shark Rock Pier and the gate near Humewood beach.
Eager sailors tested the patience of Race Officer Doug Allison with two general recalls for the first race. Bringing out the big stick, Allison hoisted the black flag and the fleet behaved to get off a clean start. For most of the day, going inshore seemed to pay, escpecially after a shortened course which brought the top mark 0.3 nautical miles closer and slightly more inshore.
After 3 races racing was called off until Saturday.
After four races the top three were: 1. William and Lucinda Edwards; 2. Blaine and Roxanne Dodds; 3. Richard Ayres and Phillippa McLaren.
Local Port Elizabeth hopefuls, Andrew and Angela Ward, in fourth place on 27 points, were eager for another race which would have allowed them to discard their 15th place in race number 4 which almost certainly would have gained them a place to 3rd on the leader board.
Saturday, day three, greeted sailors with a not so sailing friendly west wind of 27 knots – eventually Doug Allison hoisted the postponement flag at 2:00 pm and no racing took place.
Sunday was the final day and a fine drizzle greeted sailors, bridge and support crew – the prediction was gloomy but once again Port Elizabeth delivered some fine and shifty offshore wind to allow 4 races to be sailed before the 4:00 pm cut off.
The windward leeward course saw the start boat a nautical mile offshore of Shark Rock Pier, the top mark near to the new Boardwalk Hotel and the gate around .5 nautical miles further downwind of the start boat. In the fluctuating wind conditions three of the four races were sailed under shortened course and the final under a black flag start was sailed the full length in the South, South West winds of 6 to 10 knots.
At the start of the seventh race sailors were treated to the sight of a huge pod of dolphins racing out from underneath their boats and ahead of the sailors as they sailed towards Hobie beach at the start.
A battle royale between the Dodds and Edwards pairs brought the determination of the final result for the Top 2 places down to the 8th and last race. William and Lucinda Edwards finished the 7th race in position 14 (their worst for the regatta) whilst Blaine and Roxanne Dodds finished in 5th. In order to win this years Boardwalk Hobie 16 Nationals, the Dodds pair needed to win the 8th race and see the Edwards pair get a third place. Port Elizabeth sailors Andrew and Angela Ward were virtually assured of a third place overall as they were 12 points clear of their nearest rivals.
The 8th race started under a black flag (basically, no boats may cross the start line in the last minute before the start signal) and all the Edwards pair had to do was get ahead of Blaine and Roxanne and cover them all the way around the course, which they did to secure the 2013 Hobie 16 Nationals title.
The Top 3 finishers:
- William and Lucinda Edwards – representing the Knysna Yacht Club (KYC)
- Blaine and Roxanne Dodds – representing the Knysna Yacht Club (KYC)
- Andrew and Angela Ward – representing the Algoa Bay Yacht Club (ABYC)
The Boardwalk’s Clifford Ngakane said; “It was an absolute pleasure hosting participants and their families again this year and a wonderful time for us to boost and showcase our R1 billion investment into Nelson Mandela Bay to out of town visitors. Our commitment to this sport started last year, 2012 and we intend to continue the partnership until 2014. The Boardwalk Hobie 16 National Championships has been a great success showcasing our brand new property that we are proud to say is the ‘must see’ attraction of Nelson Mandela Bay. We wish all winners and competitors well and look forward to hosting them again next year.”
See all the results: 2013 Boardwalk Hobie 16 Results
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