You know are at the Gold Coast Catamaran Club’s ‘Memorial Bad News Regatta’ when:
- A: There is inappropriate touching of the top mark.
- B: The ‘On-Station’ flag is the Skull ‘n’ Crossbones.
- C: At least ONE room in The Rocks Resort can be heard from the beach.
- D: The sun is shining, the breeze is hardly blowing and the kids are absolutely loving it.
- E: All of the above.
The mainsails have been dropped, the boats have been secured and the sail-boxes are all but locked on another Bad News Regatta. What was unarguably the largest and most successful Baddie Regatta to date, the team at the Gold Coast Catamaran Club must be applauded on putting on the greatest event we’ve seen since the Baddie Regatta, circa ’22.
Before we relive the chaotic revelling of the Hobie Family on the Gold Coast, we must acknowledge the individuals that made this event the spectacle it is.
- Worst News: the dog, the birthday boy, and the man who perseveres like no one we’ve ever seen.
- Deb: the hours you spend making this regatta possible is extraordinary (and for putting up with Worsty).
- Sarah: who’s tenacity behind the scenes is integral to the Gold Coast Cat Club (and for putting up with Worsty).
- Bob: who’s generosity can never be matched.
- Tom: for being the PRO we never knew we needed.
- Eliza: for putting up with Tom.
There are countless individuals that have contributed in there own way to this event. Whether it be telling their mates about the waves they surfed, sharing past stories of their time at the ‘Man Cave’, or dragging one by their dreadlocks, giving them a boat and a bed for the greatest weekend on the Championship Tour.
The 22nd Edition of the Gold Coast Cat Club’s Baddie Regatta saw a grand total of 30 boats racing on the crystal clear waters of the Pacific. Consisting of: twelve Hobie 16s, seven Hobie 14s, six Hobie 14-Turbos, three Hobie 18-Reimagined, one Hobie 20 (hybrid) and one Taipan 5.7.
With half the boats on the beach from the Sunshine State, and many regulars a no-show on the water, the foreigners that made the trip up and over to Currumbin Alley must be commended for their efforts. Hobie 16 World Champions, Cam & Suz, were the rockstars from Western Australia. The Hobie 18-Reimagined mob came all the way from the Northern Beaches, along with two Hobie 16s from the Fisher clan. Rod Waterhouse, Upu Kila & Andrew Nelson turned up on 14s along with The Butler Boys & Lucky-Dog. Ellie flew in from Newcastle, whilst Anthony McColough made his return to racing on a 14-Turbo.
So, without further ado, let’s kick it ‘n’ rip it!
There were a number of arrivals to The Rocks on Thursday afternoon. The Butler Boys blew in around lunchtime, as MB dropped off the quad-stacked trailer and the offspring for a paddle. After a couple hours in the crowded Alley, Paddy was greeted by Pearl, Angus and their ’embarrassing parents’ who were set and ready to execute a pearler of a weekend.
Later that evening, a Hobie 18-Reimagined arrived in the carpark, along with the double-stacked Hobie 16s coined ‘Ladybug‘ & ‘Moiwa‘. Naturally, the carpark was beginning to fill up quick.
Waking to the rumbling of waves crashing invitingly to the sailors in The Rocks, only one sailor arose at sunrise to greet the day: MB. Celebrating his 62nd birthday the only way he knew how, it was a 90 minute surf, followed by an 11km run to Kirra and back, a quick bowel of off-bran cereal before another paddle in The Alley; albeit, remaining blissfully unaware of the mischief Worsty and Paddy were cooking up in 9J.
Utilising a voucher he’s had for years, Worsty booked himself and the birthday boy a skydiving session above the Goldie. Without going into too many details: Pearl was horrified, Angus was loving it, Paddy was keen for a sail and the rest of the mob were just happy it wasn’t their birthday. Unfortunately, the session was cancelled for the day with a booking in place for 365 days time…
As the day progressed, Jayson & Simone Martin arrived with bloody bells on, as did Anthony & Sheryl. Jess Dobie & Ado Fawcett were also on location, tasked with breaking in (literally) Jenni Dickson’s 2007 Worlds Hobie 16 she’d just purchased from all the way down in Narooma, NSW.
The Fisher clan, all the way from Palm Beach, NSW made their way back up north for the first time since their 2021. This time round, Dave & Megan were looking to stir it up alongside Emma Rankin & Hayley, the current Australian Women’s Champions.
As the mariners kept arriving in droves, Worsty could be seen doing laps of The Alley, towing all but one overly sized trailer onto the beach. However, it was the Pelican’s arrival on the Gold Coast that initiated the the raising of the esky lid.
Bloody Leon didn’t waste anytime getting out on the water, proving that if he could get out through the surf in his old vessel, then anybody could. After an hour or more dodging the array of surfers, Paddy joined him out on the water, foreshadowing the events that would take place for the rest of weekend.
As the boys came to shore, and the sun began to set over the backdrop of Surfer’s Paradise, it was back to the Butler’s for what was…
…I think I’ll just leave it at that.
As the sun rose on a crystal clear morning with waves rolling in from the Pacific and the faint whistle of a westerly blowing in the palms, there was only one question bouncing between the sailors: where the bloody hell was Lucky-Dog?!
Having locked himself in The Rocks ‘dead-zone’ before, one would think a well-trained dog like Gav would have an idea on how to make his way home; particularly when your home is a ground floor apartment that’s accessible via the verandah. However, with his two brain cells working overtime, Lucky-Dog managed to find his way to the basement, where his faithful commodore was waiting earnestly for some night-time company.
Staying true to what we have come to expect this Championship Tour, Rod & Kerry Waterhouse made a rockstar arrival the morning of, as did local lads Phil & James Kellond-Knight. Joining the gang once again was Lachy Macfarlane, who this time had Maddie Wendt along for the ride. Competing in her first ever Baddie Regatta, Mads was chomping at the bit to see what all the fuss was about.
Making their way down to the beach like a pack of 14s heading downwind, the merry band of sailors were slowly showing face at the Gold Coast Cat Club’s site office. Our ever-so-chipper PRO followed Deb’s acknowledgement of Yugambeh Country with an in-depth analysis of the weekend’s racing. Ellie & Charlie, unaware of the morning’s proceedings due to a scheduled meeting with their pillows, were greeted to cheers of rejoice as racing was postponed till the afternoon. The only entity running later than the pair on Moiwa was the breeze…
As always, the Baddie Regatta wouldn’t be the same without a few surprise cameos. Steve & Michelle Watt were on the scene, with Watty providing an assist on the water. Keagy & Emily came down the road to say hello, as did Bella & her knew sidekick, Steve, who’s beginning to understand the concept of the ‘Hobie Family’.
Papa Pelican, Brad, in addition to Juliet & Peter, turned their visit into a day trip, with the later Bates heading south to Grafton for a high school reunion (good luck). Due in later that afternoon was the resident doctor-to-be, Hannah Bates, who’s studies may have prevented her from gaining time on the water, but would never hinder a night at the Man-Cave.
However, the most significant visitor this year, was the presence of Fossil. The man, the myth, the absolute Hobie Legend you don’t need to see to believe!
Henceforth, as the day in the sunshine continued with a splendour like none other, it was eventually time to hit the water.
With the Totally Immersed TV & Hobie Asia Pacific GoPro’s attached, the fleet began their journey out through the surf. Bloody Leon & Rod were first on the water, getting used to the light, onshore breeze. MB managed to sneak a couple waves in before the big boats made their way through the swell, gliding through the waves like a pelican in the wind.
Dave & Sid on the Hobie 20 could be seen from a mile away with the bright red and yellow sails, glistening against the backdrop of Burleigh Heads. Likewise, eyes were drawn to Linda & Tracy on the bright pink Hobie 18-Reimagined, sporting the 181 sail number; of which, Phil informed us it was in fact Bad News’ old sail number.
Only two races were held that afternoon, but they were nothing short of eventful!
The 14ft fleet was pushing the limits, with a black flag constituted after a false start in the second heat; however, nothing could fault the likes of the Pelican. Sailing Dhaawarri, on lone from Yuin Country, Andrew Warneke was starting like a Jack Russell in heat. Although, he soon learnt for himself it was all for nothing, as not a single tack came out clean during his hike to the top mark.
Igor was pushing the limits of Danger in the light air, lifting the windward rudder on the uphill; however, nothing could compare to MB, who’s sloppy rig was proving to be the percentage play in the puny puffs. Hunting the old-boy, Paddy’s head was on a swivel deciding whether to chase down the former World Champ, or fend off the likes of Rod effen’ Waterhouse. Concurrently, having a jolly old time, Digger claimed a bullet for the 14-Turbos in the first heat.
Sailing in his first Baddie Regatta, Tom McGillivray was absolutely blown away by the creativity of the race committee as they touched up the anchorage of the top mark after the first lap. Covering his son’s eyes for the next three mark roundings, Gordon managed to steer his way to two bullets, ahead of the likes of Cam & Suz, Phil & James and Dave & Haylie. Finally, with a red-hot, fresh set of sails, Hamish & Jenni were standing out in their comeback stab at the Baddie.
John & Bronte were all but smiles on their 18-Reimagined, taking on the surf for the first time at the Gold Coast. Claiming two bullets, the pair were in hot contest with Ian & Janica, who’s long trip north was well worth the wait. Meanwhile, Nick and the big-rig Taipan 5.7 could be seen charging through the surf like a Dog hunting a cold can of coke.
As the sun began its decent over the skyscrapers of Surfers, the sound of salsa music could be heard echoing from the sand dunes. Going full Brazilian, Igor scooped an onlooker onto his boat as he hit the shore, drawing the attention of the party goers to the butterflies on water, playing like dolphins in the waves. Upu caught a ripper, as did MB & Paddy, but it was Carmen who’s manoeuvring through the waves made up for her crew’s past adventures.
With refreshments upon arrival, it was an evening of yarning, surfing, a quick dip in the hot tub and the bare minimum one would expect when packing up a catamaran. Although, with a surprise 50th of the mongrel Dog himself at the Man-Cave, it wasn’t long before the sailors were making their way north for one heavenly night…
Saturday: Man Cave
What could only be described as the ‘stairway to heaven’, Emma Rankin’s first time ascending the steps of the Man-Cave was one she’ll never forget. Walking past the nostalgic Hobie Sailing posters from the bygone era, Emma’s insertion to the Hobie Family is only recent, but as an Australian Champion, it’s growing stronger by the regatta. And after this weekend, she’ll be totally immersed.
Greeted to a slideshow privy only to the individuals present on the fateful night, Will Macfarlane had no intention of reliving Worsty’s past exploits; he had his eyes on Bathurst. Joining Will, a duelling Cam & Suzzi were floating between the big screen and the bar. A Pelican could be seen circling the pool table, all whilst the Bates & Butler duo were hard at work as they faced a minibar stocked to brim, meaning only one thing: ‘Paddy’s Potions’.
“Two shots of your favourite spiced rum; muddled up with a handful of mint and lime; splash of sugar syrup with a few cubes of ice; a soft shake; pour it into a tall glass and top it off with some ginger beer! Bob’s ya uncle, Karen’s ya father’s sister and that’s the way to bloody well do it!”
As the night continued, stories were shared about Worst News and the exploits we’ve all experienced with the Dog in one way or another. Tom’s voice echoed throughout the cave, bouncing of the walls like the Dog at the Florida afterparty. However, it was Deb and Sarah’s heartfelt stories, along with an original poem written by Gavin Colby, that made us realise how truly special our mate and this regatta is to our community.
And with that, we’ll leave you with Colby. Because, quite frankly, you should’ve been there!
In the realm of tales, there’s a man we know, With mischief in his heart, and a laughter that’s low.
A missing tooth, a badge of honour he wears, A reminder of adventures, and daring affairs.
He loves a good rum, its warmth in his veins, Sipping by the fire, where memories remain.
With croaky laughter, he shares his stories bold, Of fishing escapades, where legends unfold.
From the world of bad news, he learned his trade, Crafting tales of wonder, where stories cascade.
In mischief he revels, in mischief he thrives, But always in good spirit, where joy survives.
On a Hobie 16, he sets sail with pride, With an awesome crew, right by his side.
Except when he goes blind or is hungover, it’s true, But even then, his spirit shines through.
A terrific dad, a partner so grand, He casts his love like a fisherman’s hand.
Teaching life’s lessons, with patience and care, Creating a bond that’s beautifully rare.
And in the quiet moments, when the world is still, He finds solace in fishing, a passion he fulfils.
With rod in hand, and hope in his eyes, He embraces nature’s beauty, beneath endless skies.
In the realm of friendship, he stands tall, A great friend to us all, answering every call.
Through worst news and mischief, he’s always there, With a heart so kind, showing us how to care.
So let’s raise our glasses, to this extraordinary guy, Whose laughter echoes, reaching the sky.
With his missing tooth and love for the sea, He’s a cherished friend, the best there can be.
Gavin Colby, 2023
Waking to a glass-off from Coolangatta to Surfers, it was a slow start to the day for the mariners of the Bad News Regatta. With the remnants of the sizzling salsa party still evident on the beach, the sleep-deprived sea-farers were gradually making their way down to The Alley. For Ellie & Charlie, it was instantly in the water upon arrival. Hannah parked up on the beach for a read, Carmen & Haylie were smashing some B&E Rolls, whilst Paddy & Pelican contemplated a surf or a swim … we can confirm they’re still deciding.
Unsurprisingly, all of the above were some of the last sailors off the beach. Additionally, in a dramatic turn of events, Cam & Suz were running latest of them all, watching from their balcony as Worsty & Watty were setting the top mark for three high octane races.
Barely passing the five knot barrier, Paddy & Pelican barely made the start of the first race where Ricky’s encouragement on the microphone powered the boys along. As the thirteen Hobie 14s headed to the top mark, Anthony managed to roll MB, Igor was zigzagging up and down the course, Gav & Bloody Leon were bickering all whilst Upu led the pack without a second thought.
Cleaning up the Turbos, Upu claimed three from three over Igor and Digger. Concurrently, MB mirrored the Papua New Guinean powerhouse in the gentlemen’s class, finishing the regatta with a clean sweep ahead of Paddy and Rod.
In the middle of the race course, the Thundercats could be seen running their own race. Seasoned professionals, Steveo & Lou, were close to breaking the sound barrier, whilst Liam was on the helm going hell for leather with UK export Kathryn holding on for dear life. Some say her screams could be heard from The Rocks, whilst others believe it was her reaction to the deformed top-mark.
In the big boat class, Dave & Sid started the day off strong with a bullet, as John & Bronte swung through to claim the next two, along with the overall regatta on yardstick. Ian & Janica sailed a consistent regatta to beat Linda & Tracy for third, Nick & his Taipan 5.7 rounded out the pack.
With many of the regular Queensland Hobie 16 teams out of action, there was an opening for a new team to take out the Bad News title. Emma & Hayley started the day in the style, claiming the first race of the day as their own. Not far behind, Dave & Megan finished in third, with Gordan & Tom maintaining their consistency with seconds in the third and fourth heats.
The reigning champions, Cam & Suz, finally got their act together with a fourth in the third heat, followed by two bullets to finish off the weekend. Jess & Adrian continued to improve, coming away with two fourths in the final two heats. Hamish & Jenni showed some consistency, as did Lachy & Maddie in their first regatta as a team.
Carmen & Haylie sailed valiantly against Ellie & Charlie. Both teams proving you can never be too loud during a race. Improving each race was Jayson & Simone, along with Christian & Tracey, solidifying that time on the water is the best gift of all.
As the fifth race of the series came to a close, and the race committee were looking in need of refreshments, the decision to call the racing for the day was made, and no one could be happier. In the fading breeze and the dying light, the backdrop of Surfers Paradise stood high above the catamarans, looking down as if we were insignificant leaves floating in the deep blue.
With the decision to award the Bad News perpetual trophy to the class with the highest numbers, the Hobie 16 fleet came out on top. Consequently, Sunstate Watersport’s Gordy & Tom raised the infamous centreboard for the very first time. Claiming victory over Cam & Suz by just two points, Gordan steered a near perfect regatta. Begging the question: if you sponsor the regatta, are you guaranteed a bullet?
With a setting sun bleeding across the sky, the evening’s temperature soon plummeted. A result of which was an excursion to the The Rocks’ spa before a Bad News family dinner at the top of Elephant Rock. In the highest level of the surf club, looking northward to the flickering lights of Surfers Paradise, the mariners of the Baddie Regatta gathered for one last time, eating and refreshing their way to an early night.
Well, at least for some it was early night. For some, however…
Monday: The Aftermath
For all of you that hung around 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 glorious six months the Hobie Family has had. From Lake Macquarie to Port Melbourne, and from Bris-Vegas right across to Rockingham; we’ve seen it all. But the Gold Coast Catamaran Club’s Bad News Regatta is purely unique as an event; undoubtedly reflecting the ‘Hobie Way of Life’.
Bad News is an event that is truly like no other. The hedonistic approach the Hobie Family has towards this weekend, let alone every regatta we go to, is something; and something I am overwhelmingly privileged to be a part of.
What we have here in Australia is unreflected anywhere in the world. The extravagance, mischief and uniqueness of Hobie Sailing is experienced differently for each of us. We all come from such various walks of life; but being out on the water, with nothing but our boat and the breeze, is that one thing that unites us all.
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 essence of the Baddie Regatta. This year, I have stayed on Tour longer than anyone. I’ve brought you behind the scenes with the unequivocally exceptional team that is Totally Immersed TV, and shared the stories that we’ve all experienced, both on and off the water. But it’s time for some new voices from the Hobie Family to start sharing our story…
So, with that, I’ll be seeing you all soon. Thanks for letting me stay a little bit longer.