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Hyde Sails 2022 One Design LEADERBOARD

50th Australian Hobie Cat Nationals at Vincentia Sailing Club

by Paddy Butler 18 Jan 22:12 PST 28 December 2022 - 5 January 2023

Well, was that worth the wait or what?

It's all said and done. The racing sails have been dropped, rolled up and put back into storage after what has been one of the most spectacular gatherings of the Australian Hobie Family in over 50 years. Across the 10 day extravaganza, the true meaning of "having a bloody good time" couldn't be more evident; and it's without a wind-shadow of a doubt that the Hobie Class, here in Australia, is here for the long haul.

A massive thank you must firstly go out to our sponsors: Hobie Asia Pacific, whose support is truly second to none; The Jervis Bay Brewing Co., who created a wonderful atmosphere and provided the beverages for sailors and punters alike; The Vincentia Country Club, for hosting the Hobie Family and putting up with our antics on Preso' Night; Vaikobi, for some of the slickest hats, coolest prizes and our flash, new leaders bibs; and Kel Campbell Petroleum, for keeping out support boats out on the water.

Finally, the team at the Vincentia Sailing Club. There is no other club in Australia that could have pulled off the 50th Hobie Cat Nationals. Over the last three years, the VSC team have been meticulously planning this event, persevering through bushfires, lockdowns and border closures to ultimately pull off one of the greatest Hobie Nationals in 50 years.

The Stats

Over the 2022-23 New year Period, there were no other National Championships quite like ours. Across eight days of glorious sailing, a grand total of 130 boats competed on the iconic waters of Jervis Bay, NSW. With 5 x Hobie 17s, 4 x Hobie 18s, 8 x Hobie 14-Turbos, 5 x Hobie Dragoons, Tigers & Wildcats, along with 42 x Hobie 16s, and a record-breaking 52 x Hobie 14s.

Before we get into the ins and outs of the Nationals, we must acknowledge the stats within the 130 entrants, and most significantly, the largest ever Women's Contingent at an Australian Championships. A grand total of eleven Hobie 16 Women's teams hit the water during Series 2 for the largest Women's Hobie 16 National Championship in Australian History. Five of which were sailing in their very first Nationals, along with another five teams qualifying for their own Masters Division.

Additionally, four females competed in the Hobie 14 Open Championship, where three-time Hobie 14 Women's World Champion, Georgia Warren-Myers, finished eighth overall. Finally, two out of the three Dragoon teams were all-female, consisting of back-to-back National Champions, Matilda Morris & Emily Chiu from Somers Yacht Club, and first time competitors, Zoe Ellis & Jillian Raftery, from Vincentia Sailing Club.

In the Hobie 16 fleet, across Series 1 & 2, twelve teams out of 42 were couples, not including Kerry & Andrew on the Tiger. Additionally, another twelve teams in the Hobie 16 open fleet were parent/child team-ups, the highest placed of which was the Waterhouses, Rod & Bridget. Meanwhile, in the Hobie 14 fleet, 17 of the 52 boats were Masters (over 45); additionally, another 10 were Grand Masters (over 55). Both contingents could be considered regattas in themselves.

To say the Hobie 14 has had a resurgence over the last few years is an understatement. The Age of Resurgence the Hobie 14 has seen is something that is truly extraordinary. Much like its older sister the Hobie 16, the Hobie 14 offers a simplistic, yet entertaining approach to recreational sailing, whilst also providing some of the most competitive, diverse and fairest, one-design racing in not only Australia, but the entire world. With brand-new boats still continuing to hit the water, right from Perth to Pittwater, it's only onwards & upwards from here!

And who knows... maybe, just maybe, we'll get a Hobie 14 World Championships here in Australia one day...

Series 1

With a pearler of a long-range forecast on the cards for the first series, and the Vincentia Sailing Club's Round the Bay Rally a glorious success, the 42-strong fleet of Hobie 16s were looking to have one of the most red-hot, interstate competitions we've seen at a Nationals since North Haven, 2018.

The first day of sailing brought Baliya, the nor' east sea-breeze. Three races were held on the first day before Baliya truly kicked in with a solid 25 knots recorded at A-mark. Rob Andrews and his spectator crew on the ketch, Jaygo, were provided with world class sailing entertainment as offset roundings intensified in conjunction with the breeze.

The Wave Challenge

As one of the most infamous challenges to greet the Hobie Family, the VSC's Wave Challenge consists of a short beach sprint, before pairs of experienced (or inexperienced) sailors go head-to-head for a 400m sprint on the Hobie Wave. Battling three-foot wind chop and a 25+ knot sea-breeze that would blow the socks off a centipede.

Twenty teams of two, one on the main, one on the helm, fought it out before a round of eight. The semi-finals saw locals, Paddy & Bridgey, take on their arch-rvials, Bryn & Elisabeth, whilst the Waterhouse duo, Rod & Bridget, took on the old boys MB & Gav. In the hotly contested grand final between Bryn & Elisabeth and the Waterhouses, Rod and Bridget inevitably took out the title.

Stay tuned for Totally Immersed TV's coverage of the Wave Challenge and more via the Hobie Class Australia Youtube Channel.

The second day of racing saw a change in conditions with Mirin-Gurugama, the sou' westerly, bringing in shifty and gusty conditions for our sailors. Four races were held in total, providing ample opportunity for teams to move up and down the ladder.

On the third day scheduled racing, due to a consistent drizzle and a severe lack of breeze on the Moona Moona, the waters of Jervis Bay, racing was canned. Luckily for us, however, Mads was onsite filling in for Paddy as she sat down for a yarn with the ANHCA President & Secretary, Cam & Nomes, along with Hobie 16 hotshots, Dazzy & Claire.

The final day of sailing saw a slow start to the morning, bringing back some deja vu for the members of the Family who'd sent it over in Spain. Alas, the 'hurry up & wait' protocol ended swiftly as Baliya began to fill in from the other side of the Bay. Hooper and his merry band pulled off three heats in pure champagne sailing.

Series 1 - Final Results

Upu Kila solidified his overall win with a bullet in the eight heat, whilst Igor Prado finished his inaugural Nationals in second, with Craig Hatton following suit in third overall. Anglesea local, Jon Sims, took out the Hobie 17s convincingly with a 13 point lead over Stefan Ochsenbein, whilst Hobie 17 great, Ron McDonald snuck his way onto the podium in third.

Meanwhile in the Hobie 18s, Jake & Alannah took home their second consecutive Australian Championships, followed closely by Brad & Josh, along with Lindsay & Will. The real star of the show, however, was the certified Hobie Legend, Jack Droomer, who with the help of his trusty crew, Patty, completed the Nationals at the spritely age of 78; only having to call the ambulance for a lift home on Day 2.

The Open Hobie 16 fleet saw twists, turns and upsets after the completion of every race, with points only separating most teams all the way up and down the ladder. The local boys, Paddy Butler & Will McKenzie, snuck into the top ten on count-back, besting the Geraldton locals, Phil & Caitlin Epps, on 75 points. Geoff Rowdon & Tim Chiu from Somers finished in ninth on 74 points, whilst Phil & James Kellond-Knight bested Anthony Duchatel & Evelyn Curtis, finishing with 65 and 63 points respectively.

Team Waterhouse, Rod Waterhouse & Bridget Bolewski came in sixth with 50 points, as Cam Weddell & Naomi Chiu snuck into the top five with 41 points. Fletcher & Georgia Warren-Myers, remaining ever so consistent, placed fourth on 34 points, as MB & Worsty finished with the bronze on 27 points.

Finally, Team WA came and cleaned up the podium. Darren Smith & Claire Bisgood finished with the silver on 22 points, whilst the Hobie 16 World Champions, Cam Owen & Suz Ghent, backed up their National Championship in sensational fashion.

Series 1 Presentation

As always, the Australian Hobie Nationals Preso' Night is something unmatched in the sailing world; and this year was something truly special. Totally Immersed TV's very own Elisabeth Smith, was awarded the 'Future Hobie Legends Award,' by none other than Kerry Ireland herself. Additionally, Rudi, Charlotte & Zoe were awarded the 'Hobie Family's Sportsmanship Award' for an exceptional display of the Hobie Spirit.

Finally, an emotional presentation from MB & Craig saw the late, great, Richard 'Quinny' Quinn, added to the perpetual Hobie Legends Trophy; with the Quinn family, Belinda, Racheal & Natalie, all present to accept the Quinny's inclusion into the Australian Hobie Hall of Fame.

After a red-hot and dramatically raw fines session, calling out all the acts of stupidity and idiocy practiced both on and off the water, the Hobie Band took to the stage for a night of singing, dancing and pure rock 'n' roll. As always, what happens at preso' stays at preso'. So, for all the backstage action, tune into Totally Immersed TV's special coverage of the 50th Hobie Nationals in the coming weeks.

Series 2

As solidified by MB's perilous new year's day at a Mooloolaba Nationals all those years ago, a much needed lay day was prescribed for the Hobie Family. However, with another honking nor'easter forecasted for the first day of sailing, it was action stations for the 71 boat fleet.

With boat lengths gained and lost at every mark rounding, the gaggle of Hobie 14s were stirring things up on the race course across the four heats of the day. Reigning 16 National Champion, Cam Owen, was king of the mountain by the end of the session, with a bullet and two seconds. Meanwhile, the more experienced Hobie 14 helms, Fletcher Warren-Myers and Paddy Butler, were only points behind, snapping at his heels.

The second day saw much different conditions on the Moona Moona, with a light southerly in the morning allowing for one race and a lunch break, before heading out for another two races in the afternoon.

However, nothing from the day's racing could compare to what Rowdy had planned on the beach. What should/could be considered an elite olympic sport, "Beach-Wheel-Barrow-Racing" involved teams of two going head to head, running up and down the beach with a set of beach rollers (see images below for visual description).

Leading into a grand final, it was the Pelican & Mr. Fabulous, going hell for leather against The Irishman and Rowdy-Jr. With Rowdy and Mads on the mic, along with Paddy cracking the whip, it was nothing but pure entertainment on the beach for the sailors and punters alike. Totally Immersed TV's very own, Elisabeth Smith was there to catch all the action; so, stay tuned for the coverage to come.

With a drizzly day of sailing forecasted for Day 3, there was no waiting around as the intrepid bunch of elite athletes hit the Moona Moona right on time. With four races held in a shifty southerly buster, it was all up for grabs, no matter where you were on the race course.

Jimmy & Brody found their groove, with two seconds and a bullet to finish the regatta. Congruently, Naomi & Aria, along with Libby & Charlie, traded a late night for boat speed, as they sent it around the race course. However, Clare & Helen's performance with three podium finishes shot the local couple up the ladder, leaving them in arms length of Meagan & Charlotte.

Series 2 - Final Results

After a solid day on the water, Baz & Jed claimed the National Championship for the Wildcat, whilst Kerrie & Andrew Driver took home the perpetual Tiger Trophy, solidifying their place in history.

In the Hobie Dragoons, Matilda Morris & Emily Chiu became two-time Hobie Dragoon National Champions, with Zoe Ellis & Jillian Raftery, along with Tom Chen-Low & Harry Chiu, breathing down their sterns over the course of the regatta.

With Jimmy Winchester & Brody Watt having a cracker of a last day, Zoe Morris & Abi Morgan's overall performance was enough to hold the boys off. Likewise, Lachy Owen & Elisabeth Smith, following in their parents footsteps, took home the Youth Nationals in sensational fashion, with Ellie Knorre & Zoe Cairns finishing in second, only two points behind the Western Australians. Saxon Perry, Ollie Hordern, and Noah Skewes all performed admirably in the Hobie 14 Youth fleet. However, with a clean slate, none of the boys (or anyone for that matter) were no match for Bryn Robinson-Mills.

We are beyond excited to see where all these groms go next!

Competing as a team at a Hobie Nationals for the very first time, Emma Rankin & Hayley Fisher were the dark horses of the Hobie 16 Women's fleet. The pair from Pittwater continued to extend their ability over the three days of racing, making themselves known at the pin end of the line.

Meagan Bursa & Charlotte Ellis sailed exceptionally, finishing second, despite only meeting the day before the regatta commenced. However, it wasn't enough to get fellow Somers Master, Emma Morris & Jemima Wilson, who claimed the silver on count-back. As the only Grand Masters competing in the Women's fleet, Clare Eastment & Helen Mills sailed their greatest regatta to date, finishing fourth in the Women's Championships after backing up a 23rd in the Opens.

Having placed third in the Women's World Championship in Spain, all eyes were on the Andrews girls; however, due to injury, Haylie was forced to pull out of Series 1. Finishing fifth overall as the youngest skipper competing in the Women's fleet, sources close to the pair have assured us Carmen will be a force to be reckoned with on home waters next year.

Four skippers competed in the Hobie 14 Women's fleet, the largest contingent in recorded Hobie History. Three-time Hobie 14 Women's World Champion, Georgia Warren-Myers solidified her place in history. Mai Hordern, after finishing tenth in the minor premiership for Hobie 14 Championship Tour placed second, narrowly knocking off current NSW State Champion and local pedigree, Georgii McKenzie. Finally, whether you were on the water or beach, there was no place you could escape the Mads Gillard, whose joyous energy is truly unmatched.

With a 52 boat fleet, the top-10 will always remain elusive to the best of sailors; however, there were those who stood out amongst the gaggle of skippers. Andrew McKenzie's 84 points was enough to slip him into 10th. However, Rod Waterhouse, back on the new and improved 'Hot Rod', was hitting the pin like no other, finishing on 73 points.

Finishing on 66 points, three-time Women's World Champion, Georgia Warren-Myers was racing on the 'M' course exceptionally; however, Worst News' 'Fully Sponsored' vessel from Sunstate Watersports was enough to get home over the line on 64 points. The Victorian hotshot, Zakky Rowdon, making use of the light breeze, finished sixth on 59 points; although, it wasn't enough to catch the WA's Darren Smith, finishing his campaign on 56 points in fifth. Sources close to Dazzy are saying "we ain't seen nothin' yet, bloke!"

Leading into the Nationals, he'd claimed the Minor Premiership for the Hobie 14 class, with a grand total of 85 skippers included in the 2022 rankings; however, Mick Butler finished fourth to none other than the 2017 Hobie 14 World Champion, Fletcher Warren-Myers, with a margin of four points. Only a single point in front of Fletcher, and claiming enough points from his second at the Nationals to finish as the king of the mountain for the 2022 Championship Tour, Paddy Butler was sailing the Hybrid 'La Cheeki' high and fast. But quite clearly, not high and fast enough...

Because, making history as the youngest skipper to ever win the Australian Hobie 14 National Championship, he competed in more regattas on the Hobie 14 than any other skipper throughout 2022. Unequivocally spending more time on the water with his Hobie 14 Hybrid 'Sur Ganji' (FKA 'Green 'n' Gold', Mick Butler's NSW Championship winning boat) than any other skipper in Australia, Bryn Robinson-Mills was crowned a National Champion at just 17 years old, finishing a clean seven points ahead of his weekly training partner, Paddy Butler.


After a larger than life New Year's Eve celebration, the Hobie Family Band had clocked off; however, Nick Eastment had brought along the decks which only meant one thing: the Hobie mums were chuffed. Brad Sumner & Saxon Perry took home the 'Bottoms Up Award' for the most spectacular capsize, whilst Doogie received the 'Hobie Family's Sportsmanship Award' after 'SuperCal' was taken into intensive care after the first day, but still stayed and assisted any sailor that needed it.

With Elisabeth Smith on the helm, Totally Immersed TV was there to capture all the action at Preso' Night. Some of it you'd love to see, whilst some of it should probably be left out. Nonetheless, fun was had by all, and it was back to Casa Del Grom for an afterparty that would go down in the Australian Hobie Family's history.

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