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Championship time, Western Australian Hobie fleet gather in the Mid-West

by Susan Ghent 4 Mar 22:51 GMT 5-6 March 2022
Day one of the Crossview Enterprises 2021 WA Hobie Cat State Championships © Drew Malcolm

Known for its consistent summer breezes, the coastal city of Geraldton will play host to the 2022 Warren Taylor Homes WA Hobie State Championships. Located in the Mid-West 400 Km North of Perth the Hobie Cat sailing community always look forward to racing at Geraldton Yacht Club. The regional club is full of friendly and enthusiastic people who put on a great event.

There will be twenty two teams from Perth and Geraldton to contest the weekend event with 12 races scheduled. It's a pretty hot fleet in WA and several teams regularly attended international events before the pandemic put a pause on travel and major sailing regattas.

With things looking more positive for 2022 at least four of these Western Australian teams have already secured their place at the 23rd Hobie Cat 16 World Championships scheduled for later in the year the weekend in Geraldton will be an excellent start to their Worlds campaigns.

Back on the water for the event, dual Hobie 16 World Champion Gavin Colby will race with Josie Mark, a consistently strong pairing that took the top place at the 2014 World Championships. Sure to give them a run for the top places will be multiple State and National Champions Darren Smith and Claire Bisgood, stalwarts of the class and consistent performers across a range of conditions. Another consistent pair in the running are defending champions Cam Owen and Susan Ghent who were 2019 European Champions. With the opening of the WA border this week the pair are poised to head east after the event and look forward to racing others in the Hobie community around Australia and internationally later in the year. Local hot shot Phil Epps with his daughter Caitlyn are past State Champions and are seen regularly in the podium places at events. Perhaps a regatta in their home city be all they need to get back on the trophy board.

There's a lot of depth in the fleet in WA and there will be many teams hot on the heals of these four. Any error or lapse of concentration and it be very difficult to get the places back.

Always having a great time on the water especially if there's any reaching involved, Lance Wood and Lucinda Crisp will be pleased with the forecast of warm days and steady winds.

Another of the top helm's from Perth is Brad Quartermaine who sails with Tayla Woodhead. Raised in Geraldton, Tayla has been a great Hobie crew from a young age and sailed with her Dad until moving down to Perth for her nursing career. Families are a big part of the Hobie community and Tayla's Dad will be on the water to with an eye on his little girl and trying to place ahead, Murray is sailing with Kahree Garnaut.

When the wind blows off the coast in the morning sessions they will all have to watch the local teams, especially Tony Marsh (Togsy) / Jess Felix. Togsy has been racing Hobie 16's forever with the result that he knows how to go fast and knows the best path to take in Gero.

Hobie sailing is not just about the racing, there is a focus on having fun and enjoying time with friends. The social side of every Hobie event is just as important as the time on the water. Through the fleet there are many races going on within the competition. Not just a focus on the podium but on having a race against your mate and seeing who comes out in front at the end of the event for a bit of fun.

The Hobie community is close around the world and is saddened this weekend with the news from Vincentia, NSW on the east coast of Australia. After a battle with illness over the past two years, Richard Quinn has passed away. A great character in the Hobie community, always with a smile and a friendly conversation, Quinny will be sadly missed. Passionate about the class over the past couple of years he poured his energy into the resurgence of the Hobie 14 class and continued to enjoy his sport with family and friends. Thoughts and wishes to his family from the WA Hobie fleet who will be paying a tribute to Quinny this weekend. Keep on sailing dear friend, you will be fondly remembered.

Event updates and results can be found on the Hobie Cat Association of WA website - hcawa.org.au and on social media @HobieCatsWesternAustralia (Facebook and Instagram).

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