Having a bit of a late start to the summer sailing season, this Easter, Hobie sailors kick off their sailing year taking to the Durban waters to compete in the Easter Regatta hosted by Point Yacht Club.
The Hobie tribe are eager to get three days of racing in after the gnarly conditions experienced last year. The main fleet will be the Hobie 16s competing in their regionals with an open class for other Hobies, who will also be sharing the race track. Race Officer for the event is the Kevin Bingham.
Defending Champion is Durban's own Peter Hall, who competed last year with his son, Matthew. Changing things up this year, Hall will be taking to the water with his daughter Sarah -Ann who has just returned from Europe.
Hall senior was part of the team of six sailors representing a strong KwaZulu Natal Hobie contingent that competed in the 2017 Hobie Multiworlds and Europeans in Noordwijk in the Netherlands, Hall finished ninth overall in a highly competitive international fleet in the Hobie 14 class. Most recently, Hall was on the water for the 9 Hour that took place at Midmar Dam.
"I was the defending champ going into 9 Hour this year, but disappointedly didn't do so well. There wasn't enough wind to get the Hobie going. But training for our regionals has been going well, and regardless of the weather this Easter, sailing offshore of Durban will be good. It will be great to be back on local waters as we haven't really had a chance in recent times."
Garth Loudon, KZN's Chairman for the Hobie Association, stated at the Hobie AGM, "The devastating October storm took a number of our cats out last year, which has delayed our season, but we are eager to start sailing again."
Loudon who finished seventh in Noordwijk, said, "We have a number of events lined up for this year. Kicking off the calendar will be the regionals here in Durban. Last year we hosted three big Hobie events in Durban."
"We are hoping to secure two or three slots in the worlds this year but need to perform locally and nationally. We have a strong youth group coming through and they are chasing us around the water properly! At the Europeans last year, the youngsters learnt so much, and I hope to see their skills displayed on our playground."
Events that have the Durbanites pondering about getting stamps in their passports are the Hobie Multi European Championships taking place in the seaside resort of Hornbæk, Denmark at the end of July and then the Tanzacat hosted by the Dar es Salaam Yacht Club, in Tanzania in October.
Easter for Durban's sailing community means the Easter Regatta, and this year offshore will be abuzz with Hobies as they participate in the Hobie 16 Regionals and Open Class event hosted by Point Yacht Club.