The Hobie Family was met with another glorious weekend of ‘Cowboy Racing’ down in the deep south for the 2022 Victorian Hobie Cat State Championships. Taking place at the sensationally warm and welcoming Portarlington Sailing Club, situated on the Bellarine Peninsula on the western side of Port Phillip Bay, 45 boats hit the water for six incredibly tight races.
A total of 23 Hobie 16 teams were on the start line and providing quality racing for those planning on travelling to the Hobie 16 Worlds, along with two Hobie 17s that were battling it. But the real stars of the show were the record-breaking 20 Hobie 14s that were registered to compete in the largest ever Victorian Hobie States in recent history.
Now isn’t that something to think about…
Day 1 – Saturday
With a late sea-breeze blowing on Friday afternoon, the Vincentian’s, Bryn ‘The Slient-Assasin’ Robinson-Mills, Pat ‘The Educator’ Butler, as well as the honorary Queenslander, Andrew ‘The Pelican’ Warneke, made the most of the weekend’s breeziest day and went for a play on the two Hobie 14 Hybrids. So, after a good night’s sleep and at the dawn on the new day, the fired and revved-up Victorians began rolling into the Portarlington SC boat park, ready to take on the illusive Victorian State Title.
Briefing was underway as close to 12pm as possible, thanks to our man Rowdy on the mic, with the VIC Assoc. President, Campbell Weddell, set the house on fire as usual. With a light-wind forecast in the back of all our sailor’s minds, it was action stations as the AP dropped and boats hit the water.
Four gruelling races were held in the single session for the day, with the local dream-team, Fletcher and Georgia Warren-Myers leading the pack in the Hobie 16s with two bullets, a second and a third in the opening heat. Our recently returned rock star, Gavin Luxton and Jervis Bay whipper-snapper Jimmy Winchester, were sitting in second place, coming off a recent fourth place in Twofold Bay during the NSW Hobie 16 States. Rounding out the podium, bringing along a silver medal from the previous week’s Western Australian Hobie 16 States, were the hotshots, and all-round legends, Cam Owen and Suzzi Ghent, sailing on Mick Butler’s French Hobie 16 from Twofold Bay.
In the Hobie 14 Division, Andrew ‘Big-Mac’ McKenzie was back for redemption after a sixth at the Jervis Bay States, leading the pack after the first day with two bullets, a third and a sixth. The current NSW Hobie 14 State Champion, MB, was chasing the Big Mac’s tail, and the infamous Leon Whitworth was causing a spectacle on the racecourse after returning to Hobie 14 racing for the first time in 20 years with a bullet in the first heat. Notable Victorian standouts, however, were Mai Horden and David Bent, smashing out some consistent results in the top-third of the hot fleet.
As always, a good day on the water is never drama free. Paddy Zippel thought it would be a good idea to take his Turbo for a swim with a minute to go before the start. The younger Butler and Luxton were nowhere to be seen in the second race of the day, after they were forced to return to shore with a “broken rudder cam” and “snapped tiller extension”.
But the highlight of the day was unarguably Mads ‘Mad-Dog’ Gillard’s “Mad-Dog Madness” which brought together sailors both young and old, introverted and extroverted, to battle it out in some wacky and wild games that would send the most level-headed and clam in our fleet chomping at the bit.
Day 2 – Sunday
After a mid-to-large range night on the Hobie Sailor’s cocktail of choice, the fleets were met with a steady morning breeze, which unfortunately, was very short lived. The Portarlington SC race committee smashed out 2 shifty and fluky races for the Hobie 14s. For the 16s, however, half the fleet were stuck on the top-mark after the breeze decided to go on strike, where a frustrated Nigel and Abi Beddoe watched helplessly as Butler and Luxton’s ‘Munyunga’ snuck around the offset for the finish.
In the Hobie 14 fleet, Zak Rowdon, Mai, Tim Chiu, and the Silent-Assassin all had solid days on the water. However, it was MB and Leon who set the world on fire, both taking a bullet. A notable mention goes to newcomer to the class, Andrew Spinelli from Jervis Bay, showing a consistent growth in his sailing, particularly in his first ever regatta. Noah Skewes, also from the Vincentia Sailing Club, was proving he’ll be a force to be reckoned with in his best recorded open regatta to date.
For the Hobie 16s, the father-daughter duo, Tim and Elsa Tutt set the world on fire with a bullet and a second in two races held on the day. The Dream-Team, Fletch and Georgia, took a bullet in the final race of the day, and an out of the ordinary 14th in the fifth heat after a tussle at the top mark with unnamed Hobie 16 team from Jervis Bay who were a little too eager to tack around in first. And a special shout-out goes to Conor and Joey from Somers, who have displayed an amazing amount of improvement and dedication to racing over the past couple of years, with a well-deserved second on the fifth heat.
After heading to shore with a glass-off, racing was called off for the day at 1500hrs, and the fridges were turned on full-blast as the golden elixir began flowing steadily. As wood-fried pizzas were served on dusk, Rowdy began his annual display of ingenuity with his new game of who could re-thread a 6:1 main sheet the fastest, then complete a jigsaw puzzle in low-light, with an array of prizes to be won. Vinny Cross and Will Fleming proved to be dominant in any context, whilst the younger Rowdon and Elly Morris took the rest of the teams by storm.
And a special mention goes out to all the young guns who got kicked out of the sailing club at the stroke of midnight, which eventuated in a late-night dip in the Portarlington shallows.
Day 3 – Monday
Our sailors were met with a hot, sticky, and windless morning for the public holiday, with Port Phillip Bay clothed in a sea of haze that hid the city of Melbourne from the horizon.
It was the kids who made the biggest splash of the morning when they took ‘The Sandgroper’ out for a paddle during the glass-off. Reports from those onboard indicate that it took at least 10 teenagers to sink the old girl, after she was left to sit on the beach all weekend when Rowdy’s up the beach challenge failed to go ahead.
So, as the day went on, and our sailors continued to sit around waiting for the wind to fill in, the race committee decided to pack up stumps as the clocked chimed 12:30pm. And in unison, the sound of stubbies being cracked open echoed up and down Portarlington beach.
In the Hobie 17 fleet, Jon Sims took the title with an almost perfect scorecard. It was excellent to see two Hobie 17s on the water, and we’re hoping to see a few more in the coming regattas.
The 20 boat Hobie 14 fleet was full of surprises at the 2022 Victorian States. Zak Rowdon, coming of a third in Jervis Bay earlier in the year, finished 5th, with Andrew McKenzie closely in front on 18 points, coming in at 4th overall.
Claiming the bronze medal and retaining his Victorian Youth Championship, was the Young Gun, Bryn Robinson-Mills. In 2nd place, making his comeback after a 20-year hiatus, was Leon Whitworth. And taking home the gold medal, maintaining his ranking as the greatest Hobie 14 sailor in Australia, was Mick Butler.
Following in suit with what NSW trialled at their previous States in 2022, the best performed sailor was awarded for their performance in each of the following classes, rather than the overall winner.
So, in the Masters and Womens division, the HCAV awarded Mai Hordern for a sensational performance in the six-race series. The best-performed Grand Master went to Andrew McKenzie, and the award for the best-performed un-modified Hobie 14 was presented to Andrew Spinelli.
The Hobie 16 proved to be a contest of champions, with four heat winners out of six hotly contested heats. Rounding out the top five and proving to be quite the dynamic duo on the 16, was AJ Luxton and Pat Butler. In 4th position, coming all the way from the nations west coast, were the hot shots, Suzzi Ghent and Cam Owen on 18 points.
Bringing home the bronze medal, and making a triumphant return to the Victorian States, was the father and daughter duo, Tim and Elsa Tutt. In second place, proving that an old dog still has some new tricks, was Gavin Luxton and Jimmy Winchester.
Reflecting the awards for the Hobie 14s, the Masters trophy was awarded to Cam Owen and Suzzi Ghent. For the Grand Masters, Geoff Rowden and Rosie Phelan were congratulated on their performance in the light breeze. Once again, Upu Kila, with the young Jack Cassano, took home the trophy for the Great Grand Masters. And the award for the best performed retro Hobie 16, all the from the 1998 Airlie Beach Worlds, was Dave and Hayley Silvester.
And finally, upholding their ranking as the greatest Hobie 16 team in Australia, proving once again that consistency is key, was the dynamic duo, Georgia and Fletcher Warren-Myers. With three bullets, a second, a third and a drop of a 14th.
So, that’s a wrap Cowboy Sailors!
Another glorious Victorian Hobie State Championships, and as always, the HCAV put on a show that is truly like no other.
The HCAV would like to thank Portarlington SC and all the volunteers who donated their time and effort to the Hobie Family over the long weekend. To the generous sponsors, BIG4 Holiday Parks – Bellarine & Anglesea, Rooster Sailing, and of course, all the time and effort put in by the HCAV members who were absolutely terrific in their support and assistance in putting on such a fabulous event.
And with that, we’ll be seeing you all very soon.
Full results can be below:RESULTS - All Classes