Please select your home edition
March April May June Leaderboard 2023

Hobie sailors in Western Australia bring back the Hobie 14 Championships after a 30 year hiatus

by Suzzi Ghent 23 Mar 16:04 PDT 25-26 March 2023
Phil (35271) wins the 1981 Hobie 14 States © H14 class

This weekend will be the first Hobie 14 WA State Championships since 1993. Still hugely popular around the world, the Hobie 14 just took a bit of a break in Australia, but this season the class is making its big comeback. A healthy fleet of 55 boats raced at the recent Australian Championship with host Club Vincentia Sailing Club in NSW.

Five of those teams were from Western Australia, Peter Redway from Geraldton Yacht Club and the rest from Nedlands Yacht Club in Perth. They were Brad Quartermaine, Jason Spencer, multiple Hobie 16 Australian Champion Darren Smith and current Hobie 16 World and Australian Champion Cam Owen. Excited to see such a big fleet of Hobie 14's old and new, the Western Australian sailors returned with an enthusiasm to kick start the fleet in their home state.

"Let's find the old trophy, there must be one around. Dig out the history, we have sailors who'll know. Find some more boats, spruce them up and book in an event. We can join in with the WAXIT Multihull Grand Prix!"

So far there are eight teams entered in the 2023 event, the trophy has been found and the sailors are ready to have some fun. Sailors ready to race at The Cruising Yacht Club of WA, Rockingham this weekend in the WAXIT event incorporating the Hobie 14 WA State Championships are Brad, Jason, Darren and Cam as well as Phil Epps, Mark Preedy, Bob Bruce and Suzzi Ghent who usually races with Cam Owen on the Hobie 16.

The Hobie Cat Association of WA was pleased to hear from Phil King who has no less than two Hobie 14 WA State titles to his name. Phil shares some of the history of the WA Hobie 14 fleet and provides a few fantastic photos from the 70's and 80's.

He says, "Welcome back Hobie 14's!

It was 30 years ago today, Hobie Alter taught the band to play,
They've been going in and out of style,
But they're guaranteed to raise a smile

30 years! Hell.

My Hobie 14 days were the best years of my sailing life. It's as simple as that. I loved it all, but I was most at home on my 14.

For me it was 1978 to 1989. We had huge fleets at club, state, national and international levels.

The 14 was the flavor of the month for ten years. It was like the kite surfer of its day. Hobie 14's were everywhere.

It was new, fresh, exciting. Old-world sailing was gone forever; Buried. Not only were Hobies made of new materials with innovative designs, they showed the yachting world how to run regattas - including Worlds. It was Hobies who invented short course, back-to-back racing.

And the one-person boat concept of the H14 meant we were free to go anywhere, be anywhere.

The racing in WA was full on. We sailed three days a week - Saturday at Whitfords, Sunday at NYC and Wednesday was twilight racing. And attended every regatta on the calendar.

Our top guys were enthusiasts - powerful young men and fast. We could charge across the reaches with inches between us, throw our boats around on a dime - laughing and yelling, pushing and driving each other. Go-abouts were tricky on those things, but our guys just dominated their boats. Pushing, shoving and thrusting their boats with total control.

There was nowhere in the world you'd rather be and nothing else you'd rather be doing.

Six of the best sailors in Australia were from WA/NYC. Every race at NYC was total competition; serious but very good times - a clash of the Titans. And Phil Smyth presided over us all. For five years he was the undisputed king of Australia. He didn't win them all, but we always knew he was the best; He was "the great man".

The guys from the east knew it too. Like us their commitment and involvement was total too. Their greats included Ian (Basho) Bashford, Rod Waterhouse, Curley Corlett, Tony Laurent and the Metcalf brothers. Basho was larger than life; A multiple world champion - but it was Phil Smyth he worried about. Those guys sailed all over the world, especially in the US. Hobies were huge in the USA in those days. Huge sponsored regattas at all the famous American beaches. Basho and company were young. They had no money, but they borrowed boats and slept under bridges - and just attended everything - all over the world. When you love something that much - you just make it happen.

The top guys from my time were gods. They lived for the racing; They "snuffed the battle with delight". Phil Smyth, Mal McKercher, Robbie Binnedell, Dave Limpus, Kevin Page and Gordon Golby were rock stars - and Brad Jones who came second in the Tahiti Worlds has to be among them. I was in there somewhere too - Where else on the planet would you want to be?

(There were others who were as good, but from different eras) The Worlds were in Tahiti, the Canary Islands, South Africa and Brazil. Our boys went to them all - and to most of the Nationals.

What an era! What a life!

By the 1990's the Hobie 14's turn as the flavour of the month reached its natural end. But what a "month" it was.

Of course it was only in Australia that the H14 was put out to stud. They have always maintained reasonable numbers in the US, South Africa and throughout Europe.

It's good to see them back in WA. Well done guys.

If you guys get half as much joy out of your 14's in 2023 as we did in our day you will have done very well.

I always think it's good to include as many names as you can in a sailing story. To that end I offer the following list of WA's H14 greats. I'm sure those who remember the names below will be able to attach a whole story to each name. - You get to know a lot about your sailing mates. Many of the names will bring a grin to old faces. Apologies to those I've missed.

Thanks for the memories." said Phil King.

Follow the Hobie fleet in WA on Instagram and Facebook @HobieCatsWesternAustralia and on the website

Related Articles

Queensland Hobie State Championships
Another glorious weekend in the Sunshine State Welcome, Hobie Sailors, to what was another glorious weekend in the Sunshine State for the Queensland Hobie Cat State Championships. Posted on 5 May
Queensland ready for the Hobie State Championships
Taking place at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron this weekend The tension is building and the stakes are higher than ever for the highly anticipated Queensland Hobie Cat State Championships this weekend. Posted on 27 Apr
Zhik Combined High Schools Championships overall
The final day was full of drama... The final day of the Zhik Combined High Schools Sailing Championships was full of drama. The breeze was predicted to be fresh from the South but it had not materialise and sailors were greeted with a 12knt SW. Posted on 17 Apr
Zhik Combined High Schools Championships day 3
Marshall Day managed to reverse the result taking the win on corrected time Day 3 of the event saw a grey skies and a moderate 14-18knt Southerly breeze. The conditions proved to be difficult for some competitors to handle with several boats finding themselves in the water during the day. Posted on 13 Apr
Zhik Combined High Schools Championships Day 2
Local sailors Radford and Palmer lead the Championship in 'Helter Skelter' Local sailors Connor Radford and his crew Jayden Palmer (Merewether High School) sailing their Flying 11 'Helter Skelter' have kept their form streak going with another two solid results in today's races to be outright leaders at the halfway point. Posted on 12 Apr
Zhik Combined High Schools Championships Day 1
Belmont 16ft SC is hosting the event which sees students from across NSW and QLD compete If the opening day is any indication, the iconic Zhik Combined High Schools (CHS) Sailing Championships is set to be an absolute cracking event. Posted on 11 Apr
Victorian Hobie State Championships
A 20 knot onshore southerly at Port Melbourne Yacht Club For as long as I can remember, the Victorian State Championships has been one of the most fun, entertaining and competitive events on the Australian Championship Tour. Posted on 16 Mar
NSW Hobie Women & Youth State Championships
Lake Macquarie hosts first event in Australian Hobie Class Championship Tour The sensationally warm waters of Lake Macquarie were lit up on the first weekend of February as the Australian Hobie Class Championship Tour kick started in style, as Wangi RSL ASC hosted the NSW Hobie 14, 18 16 Women & Youth State Championships. Posted on 7 Feb
50th Australian Hobie Cat Nationals
A ten day extravaganza at Vincentia Sailing Club 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. Posted on 19 Jan
Palm Beach SC 'Beware The Bullets' Regatta
Never has a regatta lived more truly to its name than this... It was a weekend like no other on Pittwater for the first Round of the NSW State Championships. Running in conjunction with Palm Beach Sailing Club's annual 'Beware The Bullets' Regatta, fifteen Hobie 16s and five Hobie 14-Turbos hit Pittwater. Posted on 24 Nov 2022
Armstrong-Suptonic-728x90-2 BOTTOMHyde Sails 2022 One Design FOOTERHenri-Lloyd 2022 December - SW FOOTER