How would you describe the Bad News Regatta in three words or less?
“Bloody good time”; “oh my god”; “how good’s this”, “your shout bloke”; “back to Squirters?”; and … “who’s seen Worsty?”
The mainsails have been pulled down and the jibs are rolled up tight after what was one of the most chaotic, riveting and entirely extraordinary events the Australian Hobie Class Championship Tour has seen this year, let alone in the 21 year history of the Baddie Regatta.
But, quite frankly, that’s why we bloody love it!
On behalf of all the sailors, the spectators, and the volunteers, we cannot began to thank enough the awe-inspiring team that made this year’s Baddie the absolute party it was.
Worsty, Deb and Sarah.
Even though the dream team couldn’t be there for the weekend, their tireless work behind the scenes were monumental in creating one of the mightiest regattas the Hobie Family has seen for a long time. For that, we salute you.
But, we can’t go past the Baddie Squad that took on the monumental shoes to fill. Sledder and Eliza were integral as they stepped up to the plate in the absence of the ‘Big 3’ (but let’s not forget our faithful PRO Tom who was marooned in the Great West). And to the rest of the team, Shelley and Lou, along with Anthony, Watty and Glenn, all from NSW, who stepped up to the plate to smash out six quality races in some tricky winter conditions.
But, firstly, we must applaud Gordon and his team from Sunstate Watersports for providing some excellent goodies for presentation, along with shouting all the mariners arvo tea and couple of icy, cold “beveraginos” once they’d returned to shore.
Finally, Bob Engwirda. The generosity, openness and ability to lead this rowdy bunch of Cowboys and Cowgirls through a truly trying situation is something the Hobie Family must applaud. In Worsty, Deb and Sarah’s absence, Squirter was the backbone of this year’s Baddie. From the consistently replenished esky’s, to the one and only MANCAVE, the Bad News would not have been the Regatta it turned out to be.
So, with all that done ‘n’ dusted, let’s get into the real juicy stuff.
As the sun rose above another cool winter’s morning in South-East Queensland, the QLD Hobie Family were feeling overly chipper (for no reason in particular) at the prospect of their New South Welsh brethren arriving later that morning. So, as Team Baddie from Coochiemudlo began packing the GCCC start boat, it was action stations as Team Vincentia hit the Goldie on MB’s birthday.
Rooms were checked into, beds were claimed, refreshments were purchased, all whilst Worsty and Pat took the time to partake in some secret Bad News business.
On the most sober morning of the Bad News Regatta, the Queenslanders began arriving in droves. Andrew Warneke was spotted blocking off the overly busy carpark with his faithful ‘Team Pelican‘, whilst the Andrews sisters, Carmen and Haylie, pulled in separately, ready and raring to take on their arch-nemesis, the Currumbin Alley Bar.
Hannah Bates made her rockstar arrival to sail with PB on ‘Munyunga’, whilst Dave, Eliza and Squirter were hard at work setting up the official Regatta Office in pole position under the hill. Bloody Leon was seen tinkering in the corner on ‘Lethal‘, looking to get her fighting fit in order to take on the likes of the Young-Gun, Bryn, and the Big-Mac, Andrew.
So, as the ragtag group of grommets and Grand-Masters began assembling their vessels and playing boats on a sunny and breathless Gold Coast, the executive decision was made early to ditch the idea of sailing and make use of the BBQ, icy cold beverages and tennis court that awaited the sailors back at The Rocks.
PB sizzled up the BBQ with his extra-special cooking sauce, whilst the Wangi mob pulled up looking to cause some mischief amongst the crowd on the astro-turf. Eventually, however, Shane and Anthony were on the court with the kids, making use of the last bits of sunshine as it slowly faded away behind the hill.
With that, it was straight to Elephant Rock for a table booked for 20, as the Hobie Crowd began the first night of festivities in an unprepared Currumbin.
The first day of the Baddie commenced as most of you could expect, with a few overly sleepy sailors rising to the sound of waves crashing on the shores of the worlds largest playground; which for most of the morning, was absolute glass.
As the gaggle of sailors began slowly making their way down to the The Alley, it was clear our elite athletes weren’t clocking on for the morning shift on the race course. So, as the Cowgirls and Cowboys continued to discuss the antics from the previous night, briefing was called at 1030hrs. With that, the stage was set and the prospects of a cheeky sea-breeze began to look more and more likely.
On behalf Worsty’s better half, Deb, PB commenced proceedings with an Acknowledge of Yugambeh Country, paying respects to the traditional custodians of the land and waters in which we would be spending our glorious weekend. Following suit, Sledder absolutely nailed the Baddie briefing, thanking the brains behind the operation, as were mentioned at the start of our Match Report.
Finally, the day was sorted. Lunch at noon, followed by high calibre Cowboy Racing, and finalised by a congregation at the MANCAVE, proudly supported by the man, the myth, the Hobie Legend, Squirter.
However, as the wind remained allusive, it was time to come up with a few activities. Some of us went surfing, some sat and yarned, whilst PB instigated a game of Finska that would last all morning. Subsequently, Phil and Leon may have found their calling. It was Gordy, however, who brought the Hobie Fiesta and gave Anthony and Sheryl the time of their lives as Sledder took them for a joy ride around lagoon. Unfortunately though, the grommets missed the opportunity to take the Fiesta surfing, and experiment with how many individuals it could fit at one time.
Finally, all in unison, sausages were smashed and sails were raised, as the sea-breeze built in glorious fashion, creating the opportunity for two red-hot heats.
They took their jolly old time, but they were out on the wth bloody bells on!
The race team for this year’s Baddie was as mighty as ever (who needs Tom)! Steveo and Sledder were on the mighty Thunder-Cat, whilst on old-faithful was Eliza, Glenn, Anthony (who looks as good with his shirt off on a boat as he did 20 years ago) and Watty, who expertly manoeuvred the GCCC rescue boat through The Alley to put on two spectacular heats.
This years Baddie saw seven seasoned Hobie 14 skippers hit the start line, all looking for a shot at the allusive Baddie trophy. Bryn’s ‘Sur Ganji‘ and Andrew’s ‘Mac1‘ both started hot out of the gates, both with a bullet and a second to match. Gordon showed solid consistency, essential for any Hobie sailor, with two thirds, as did Bloody Leon with a pair of fourths. Finally, Anthony and Wayne were in a tight contest throughout the day with the battling Brazilian, Igor, who was proving to be a handful with his extra rag rigged up.
A dozen Hobie 16s were playing in Currumbin this year, with a number of new teams, along with some of our favourites, bringing the heat on the tight race course.
MB & Kerry Bates started the weekend off in style, with a bullet and a second to boot. The hotshots, Cam & Suz were as strong as ever, with a fourth and a bullet in the second heat. The Petersons, James & Shane, were holding their own, with a sixth and a third, whilst Gav & Jimmy, running fourth overall in the Australian Championships Tour, were sitting well with a second and a ninth.
Back on the bandwagon were the lightweights, Paddy & Hannah, who snagged a third in the first race. Although, a close call with the start boat (and an expertly manoeuvred jib) saw the pair start the second heat in DFL. However, in a dramatic turn of events, the pair were round the top mark in first. Meanwhile, the rest of the fleet, who sailed out on starboard, were left stranded as the breeze eventually gave way. As such, the pair went back to seventh, whilst Cam & Suz displayed poetry in motion as they came back to take the bullet.
As the 18 Hobie Cats began making their way back to shore, most of them paddling their way through the surf, it was Squirters specialty of brews and snags awaiting our sailors on the beach. Although, Igor thought it was a ripe old idea to try catch a wave or two on his 14, whilst there was absolutely no breeze to get him moving.
At last, some of the more enthusiastic of the bunch thought it was an even better idea to utilise the final hours of daylight to catch some of the greatest party waves The Alley has ever seen. MB, Big-Mac and Bloody Leon were seen dropping in on countless long-boarders, often carking it towards the end. Meanwhile, Jimmy the Kid, Bryn, Pelican, Arbi and PB were experimenting how many people could possibly fit onto on wave. The mad-scientists discovered with inexplicable results, much to the average surfers dismay, that the more mongrels on the wave, the more entertaining it was.
As our athletes retuned to their quarters for hair, make-up and a quick refreshment or two, it was straight into the maxi-taxis and over to Squirters, for what was to be a night of utter extravagance.
On arrival, Jimmy the Kid leaped out of the taxi and began his ascent up what he could only describe as “the stairway to heaven”. The young Vincentian left Michelle and Glenn far behind, as his eyes skimmed past earnestly of the cars that lay in the garage, and gazed across the vastness of the MANCAVE’s loft.
A highlight of the 2021 Baddie, the night of naughtiness was moved forward to Saturday this year, allowing all the Hobie Family to experience the endless fun the MANCAVE has to offer. From the pool table to the slot machine, to the three TVs (each with something different playing) and the even bigger one for the virtual car racing experience. But, finally and most importantly, our sailors were drawn to the open bar. As a highly experienced cocktail waitress, PB’s eyes lit up in anticipation for what was to be an unforgettable night of ‘Pat’s Potions’.
Before PB began his greatest Tom Cruise impression of all time, Eliza, Bryn and himself were under strict instructions from Worsty to sit down at the bar, with refreshments in hand, to finalise the results from the day. Witnesses state the trio looked extra cheeky as they were plugging numbers into PB’s faithful old Macbook Air. However, they assure both races were as accurate as Haylie and Hayden’s work on the pool table.
As we continue on into the night, it was one bloke in, and one bloke out as the Cowboy’s in the fleet were hell bent on proving who was the fastest when racing around a virtual Bathurst. Kelvin and Peter were driving strongly, whilst Arbi, Pelican and Jimmy the Kid were determined to out match one another around the race track. However, it was the persistence of the Petersons and Smiths that were going head-to-head throughout the night that saw the greatest improvement.
As we turn our heads back to the bar, the Masters and Grand Masters were observed reminiscing on the days of yore, whilst Squirter floated gleefully throughout the crowd as Anthony voice could be heard echoing throughout the loft. Meanwhile, the rockstar arrival of Juliet Bates was welcomed with splendour, as her lesser half was busy playing golf (of all things) down in Tassie.
In the midst of it all, PB was having all too much fun brewing potions … left, right and centre.
A sly word in the ear from Suzzi found Paddy straight into the margies for Cam, who’s moans of delight were received well by the onlookers, as both Bates girls had glasses in hand ready for the next shake. Also on the menu, “those bloody gin, peach and ginger-beer things” were an absolute hit. Ellie, Libby, Carmen and Haylie were spotted numerous times rinsing out their glass, quietly awaiting for their next top up, before Mr Brian Flanagan could be seen making the old “one for you, one for me”.
Although, as time began to set in, as did the potions, it was time to whip up another mixture to add to the menu. “Whatcha wanna do is” … firstly, find some freeze dried instant coffee. Secondly, find something on the higher shelves with “coffee” written on it, along with whatever else might tickle the customers fancy. Finally, add some ice, give it a proper shake and strain it into a glass of your choosing. It was at this point, that many individuals began to cross the threshold.
As we round out the night, before we get into too much mischief, we must thank Bob and Beth for cooking up an absolute storm of gourmet pizza and Chinese. This, we are assured, was prepared earlier that evening. Never did the Hobie Family look like starving and/or going thirsty throughout the night.
Bella and Tacker chose an excellent time to leave, as did most of the grommets, after PB’s excursion to the bathroom was a clear indication it was time to head back to the spa.
However, the Grand Masters maintained composure until well past their bedtime. For Kelvin and Peter, they slept where they stood, whilst MB and Gavin managed to “miss” two taxis before they eventually made their way back to the safety of The Rocks. Where like the rest of the Family, slept soundly that night…
Our sailors awoke reluctantly to an absolute glass off along the entirety of the God Coast. It was a slower start than usual, as could be expected after what was a glorious night at Squirter’s MANCAVE. So, while the fleet of sleep-deprived seafarers began dawdling down towards their vessels, it was bacon and egg rolls on the beach as Eliza began cooking up a storm.
Before he awoke to the blissful sounds of waves crashing in the morning, PB had the intention of collecting some footage of the sailors mingling around the beach, reliving the antics and mischief managed by the Family the previous evening. However, feeling rather ‘doostay’ and two cuppas short of what he should have been (something he has assured he’ll work on for next time), PB still had one or two brain cells left to pull off a miracle. Luckily enough, the scumbag managed to get the three remaining GoPros onboard with ‘Team Pelican‘, ‘Sur Ganji‘ and ‘Munyunga‘ to capture what was an epic day out on the water.
The first race of the day was a blinder. The nor-wester was in, the sun was shining bright, and it was twin-stringing out to the start boat. Our intrepid race team were waiting patiently for the fleet to arrive, as they set a tight race course just off the beach.
Like a Cinderella story out of nowhere, Hannah & Paddy pulled off a miracle after starting DFL to win the third heat of the series outright, posing the same question right around the race track: “what the bloody hell was in Pat’s Potions?”. Closely followed was Gav & Jimmy, with Cam & Suz, and Tacker & Bella hot on their heels.
Bryn had a cracker of a day, starting it off with a bullet, and finishing it the same way. Gordon also had one of his better days, snagging a bullet in the fifth heat of the series, with a second and a pair of thirds to add to the scorecard. Meanwhile, Igor found his feet in the second race of the day, stealing a bullet from the Young Gun, as both the Big-Mac and Bloody Leon made that heat their drop. Observations from the 16 fleet depicted Mr Whitworth in full gremlin mode during the fourth heat, as he slowly but surely made his way down to the finish line as the wind faded away.
The second heat of the day proved tricky for both the fleet and the race committee, as Watty made the executive decision to shorten the course on a single lap. But, as he persisted to start the next race, it was clear he had spoken with the wind Gods the previous night, as the nor-wester came back with a quiet ferocity.
The fifth heat in the series saw Cam & Suz come out on top as the only team to snag a pair of bullets, whilst Phil & Jame Kellond-Knight came out firing with a second. Finishing third by the length of a bee’s privates, MB & Kerry snuck in just in front of PB & Hannah. In the final race for the series, Bella & Tacker sailed an absolute blinder, despite missing half a rudder after the helmsman of ‘Team Pelican‘ had to keep his collision streak going. Hannah & PB split the course and Cam & Suz at the bottom mark, managing to hold the hotshots from the west off until the finish.
Finally, as each boat sailed gleefully through the finish, turning eagerly for the screaming reach back into the beach, each would turn and salute, thanking the four musketeers who were sitting far too relaxed on the start boat.
As boats were being disassembled under the dying light, PB and Hannah finalised the results for the weekend with a refreshment in hand, under the watchful of Eliza. So, as the 5pm bell rang and it was time for presentation, Sledder got up on stage for what was his greatest performance yet.
In the Hobie 14s, the Young Gun absolutely cleaned up. Sailing his best regatta to date, Bryn snagged three bullets and three seconds over the six heats. The Big-Mac, Andrew, finished with 11 points on Bryn’s seven, whilst Gordon only a mark rounding behind Andrew on 12 points total, snagging a bullet in the second last race.
Igor managed to best Bloody Leon on count-back with 23 points, but how does that jib play into the equation? Meanwhile, Anthony and Wayne have proved they’ll be true contenders later this year, as they gear the 14s up for the 50th Australian Hobie Cat Nationals Championships, taking place in Jervis Bay, NSW.
Before we mention the final results, the race committee is in full assurance that the results were recorded accurately throughout the day, despite the consistent use of the ‘Black Flag’ to keep the battle-ready 16s in check. Additionally, across the six races held over the weekend, there was a total of five different heat winners. Now, doesn’t that say something about the quality of racing.
All the way from WA, Cam & Suz reclaimed the Baddie trophy after four years with 12 points. Being the only team with two bullets, they were lucky to sneak in front of the Butler Boys. Sailing separately, the pair finished equally on 15 points, meaning the glory, pride and bragging rights were to be decided by count-back.
PB, who was feeling overly chipper from his recent victory at the QLD States, finished with a first, second, third, fourth, fifth and a drop of a seventh, though not in that order. Congruently, MB & Kerry finished with the exact same scorecard, bar a drop of another fifth. So, as per the international rules of sailing, it all came down to the last race. Which, just so happens, Paddy & Hannah sailed a pearler mate.
Gav & Jimmy the Kid proved once again that they are well in form, finishing fourth on 20 points. Closely following, Phil & James were hot on their heals finishing fifth, whilst Bella and Tacker were only a gust away after slipping in a bullet in the final race of the series.
Kevin & James bested the Petersons on count-back, both on 31 points, whilst ‘Team Pelican‘ in their preparation for the Hobie 16 Worlds, Andrew & Haylie claimed bragging rights over Team Wangi, Arbi & Ellie. We are looking very forward to seeing what more these teams have to offer as we move into the new sailing season later this year.
Finally, it was a tight battle between our resident Womens teams. However, Carmen & Libby came off on top, besting both Clare & Helen and their ultimate rival, The Currumbin Alley bar. With the Hobie 16 Womens Australian Championship taking place later this year, we are getting more and more excited to see a bunch of new teams joining them in Jervis Bay.
Monday: The Aftermath
For all of you that stayed until the end, I’d like to say thank you. This has been the final Match Report for this half of the Championship Tour, and what an absolutely fabulous six months the Hobie Family has had. From Jervis Bay to Twofold Bay, and from Portarlington right across to Geraldton, before a penultimate stop off in Brisbane. But the Bad News Regatta, in its utter uniqueness and extravagance, is an event that undoubtedly reflects the ‘Hobie Way of Life’.
Bad News is an event that is truly like no other. The hedonistic approach that the Hobie Family brings to the Baddie, let alone every Hobie regatta, is something that I am overwhelmingly privileged to be a part of. What we have here in Australia is truly unreflected anywhere in the world, and for that, I am overwhelmingly grateful to call you all Family.
The extravagance, mischief and absolute fabulousness of Hobie Sailing is reflected differently for each individual. But I cannot put into words the feeling of sailing a Hobie 16 with one of your best mates, high and fast into the top-mark, knowing that you are sailing that boat, as a team, at your absolute best.
This article has taken a little bit longer than usual, and the word count might be up there, but I hope I have captured the experience of the Baddie in all its essence, both on and off the water. With the reintroduction of the Hobie Hotshots, and Totally Immersed TV in its early stages of development, I hope to share more voices, knowledge and perspectives from the Hobie Family with you all, reflecting the diversity of experiences that our Class has to offer.
So, with that, I’ll be seeing you all soon, Cowboy and Cowgirl Sailors.
Thanks for letting me stay a little while…