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Hobie 16 Worlds: Who is Team Australia?

They’re mean, slightly lean, absolute sailing machines. Let us introduce you to Team Australia!

With less than a month until the 23rd instalment of the Hobie 16 World Championships kicks off in Costa Brava, Spain, it’s about time we reacquaint ourselves with the “fresh-faced” Team representing the Land Down Under this time round. Across seven series spanning over the course of 14 days, 39 of our finest exports are sporting the green ‘n’ gold in Spain, all promising to do us proud as they compete alongside some of the best on the Mediterranean this September.

But before we get into the nitty gritty details, we must applaud Suzzie Ghent and the team at Vaikobi for providing Team Australia with some the finest threads available. The team at Vaikobi linked the squad up with custom hoodies, tech tops, caps and Terry-Towelling hats fit for only the greatest Hobie sailors.

So, without further ado, let’s introduce you to Team Australia, and give you a glimpse of who they are exactly..

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Florida, Baby

The Northern Army..

Firstly, it would be unjust if we didn’t kick things off with Queensland, where Team RQYS have produced the strongest contingent for the 23rd Hobie 16 Worlds with seven teams migrating to Spain later this month. With entries in the Masters, Grand Masters, Womens and Opens, there’ll always be an Aussie Team to get behind.

Competing in the Masters for the first time, Bella Zanesco is locked and loaded with the South African powerhouse, Douglas Edwards. Since sailing with Tacka and Barny during the QLD States and Bad News, Bella has been producing some excellent results in between her stints commentating for the SailGP. With the Edwards family name laying claim to many Hobie 16 Worlds trophies over the years, along with Bella’s plethora of Hobie sailing knowledge as the 2014 Women’s World Champion, they’re guaranteed to be a tough team to beat on any start line.

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Michelle Bursa & Chelsea Haynes (2nd), Jess Dobie & Bella Zanesco (1st), Josie Marks & Pip Pietromonaco (3rd)

Lachlan Macfarlane and Sharon Rayner have a number of Hobie 16 Worlds under their belt, and are sure to be ones to look out for during the Masters, Grand Masters and Opens. The pair solidified a well deserved, last minute, pre-qualified spot only weeks out from the event. Consequently, Lachy and Sharon have guaranteed a calm and consistent approach to racing after two solid top-10 placings during the Masters and Grand Masters in Florida, 2019.

After a dominant performance in Jervis Bay during the Vincentia Sailing Club’s and RQ Training Weekend, we’re confident that Branchy will put on a show during the Master’s International Cup. Sailing with Carmen Andrews in her first of three series, the QLD Assoc. President has confirmed with the major players that he’ll be stirring the pot in Spain. So, if you’re on the water during the Master’s, make sure your crew has their head out of the boat.

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bad news – Haylie Andrews & Millie Macfarlane

Now, to Andrew and the Andrews. As we just mentioned, Carmen, or Goldilocks from now on, is sailing with Branchy in the Masters. However, that’s nothing but a few extra days on the water, because Carmen is sailing three series with three different sailors. Goldilocks, and her elder sister, Haylie, are sailing in the Women’s World Championship, and they mean business. Running hot off winning the NSW Hobie 16 Women’s Championships, along with the fact the pair are spending more time on the water than any of their Australian counterparts, the Andrews sisters are confirmed to be making a statement.

For the Pelican, this will be his first outing on the helm in a Hobie 16 Worlds. In 2014, Andrew Warneke sailed with the one and only Rob Andrews, so it’s only fitting that he’s sailing with Haylie this time round. Considered as the brains behind the operation, both with Carmen and with Andrew, Haylie is a decorated Hobie 16 sailor, both as a helm and as a crew.

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here, in the Hobie Family, we love wholesome content

Originally sailing with Millie Macfarlane back when the Hobie 16 was the Australian youth catamaran, the pair sailed successfully in many youth events around the country, even appearing on the classic TV series, Totally Wild. However, Haylie’s outing in China, 2016 saw her and the old boy snag a bullet overall in the Open Qualifying. Following, the pair finished 8th overall in what was an incredibly hot fleet during the Opens. So, with that assessment, one can never rule out what a pair of Andrews can stir up on the water. Here’s what Warneke and Andrews had to say about their Worlds experience so far:

“I’m feeling pretty nervous actually. There are already plenty of hotshots within Team Australia, so it’s been a great opportunity to train with some of the best over the past couple of months. But going to the Worlds, and Europe altogether, for the first time should be an absolute rippa with the Hobie Family. So, all in all, giddy up and lesss gooo!”

the original ‘Team Pelican’

Finally, bringing home Team Australia’s strongest contingent is the Bates family. Reigning from Manly, QLD, and the King and Queen of Hobie sailing at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, have long been regulars at the Hobie 16 Worlds. As one of Queensland’s most highly decorated Hobie 16 teams, Pete and Jules have confirmed they’re hot to trot for Spain after a convincing win at the QLD State Championships back in May. Although, with a pre-qualified spot locked and loaded, the pair have decided to switch things up for the better.

Bringing in their eldest, and from the fabled ’99 crew, Hannah is subbing in for Juliet during the Masters and Grand Masters Cup. Swindling her way onto the Elite Athlete’s Program (because if it wasn’t already obvious, that’s what we Hobie sailors are), Hannah will be representing the University of Queensland as she ventures over to Spain to join in the with the rest of her ’99 brethren: Andrew, Haylie and Paddy. Along with Carmen and AJ, Hannah and the rest of the “grommets” representing Team Australia have promised they’ll be on their best behaviour as they run amok through the streets of Costa Brava, reporting LIVE for Totally Immersed TV.

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wholesome content (contd.)

From the South..

Travelling to their inaugural Hobie 16 Worlds, Conor and Joey have been ever consistent throughout the 2022 Australian Championship Tour. Running 9th overall, out of a whopping 78 teams, Conor and Joey have continued to improve over the past few seasons, running from a 10th, to a 12th, to a well deserved 6th in Jervis Bay, Twofold Bay and Portarlington respectively. As a result, the pair are looking to stir up some trouble in Spain. Here’s what they had to say:

“It was a pretty rash decision, but after how we did during [VIC] States, we thought we’d book in the Worlds and tie a trip back home [Ireland] in with it. I haven’t been home in over three years, so I’m really looking forward to getting back over there. Plus the whole Irish cheer squad will be coming along for the ride. It’s going to so much seeing all the Aussies there running amok, it’s going to be an absolute blast”.

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“how that port start go, bloke?’

Check out an extended interview with Conor and Joey on the second instalment of Totally Immersed TV: On The Radio.

As one of the most seasoned travellers from the Australian Hobie Family, Meagan Bursa was kidding herself when she thought she’d stay in Alice, rather than join the Hobie Family in Spain. Competing in the Womens with German export, Franziska, the Big Bird is unarguably one of the most highly travelled Hobie sailors from Australia. With multiple Worlds and Europeans already under her belt, we’re beyond excited to see how Meagan goes in Spain.

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good for a yarn: Bonnie Butler & Meagan Bursa

If you’re looking for some travel tips and iconic Worlds banter, check out first instalment of Totally Immersed TV: On The Radio, where Meagan gave us her best international Hobie sailing travel tips.

Finally, rounding out the representatives from the south, we have Fletch and Georgia. The dream team from Torquay (or Port Melbourne, just depends on the weather) have been in quality form throughout the 2022 Championship Tour. Sitting at the top of the table for the overall CT, as the greatest Australian Hobie 16 team at the time of press, the dynamic duo have proved time and time again they’re not to be trifled with on the race course. With countless Hobie regattas on their CV, both sailing as a team and against one another, Fletch and Georgia are chasing the gold, and will do whatever it takes to get it.

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“don’t you two realise other people have to sail that boat”

The New South Welshmen..

It wouldn’t be a Hobie 16 Worlds without a Waterhouse present. Back to claim their fourth consecutive Grand Master’s Cup, and with a hat-trick in the Masters looking as likely as ever, Rod and Kerry are jet-setting over to Spain to make history either way at the 23rd Hobie 16 Worlds. Running hot off the Worrell 1000, with a chest full of gold in their carry-on, Palm Beach’s finest are arriving with a target on their backs.

Not seen at an Australian Hobie Cat event for many a long year, the Booth clan have slipped their names into the qualifiers with not a minute to spare. Mitch, Ruben and Jordi, sailing under the banner of the hallowed Palm Beach Sailing Club, have all locked in their spot on the Open Qualifiers, solidifying the contest that will be the Qualifying Series. We only wish the rest of the competitors good luck and happy sailing.

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The Master’s Cup Champions – Dapeng, 2016

Back on the mainland after 20-odd years, Sliggabegga’s back and Gav Luxton means business. Sitting fourth overall in the Australian CT with Jimmy Winchester, Lucky-Dog is looking like he’ll be a force to be reckoned with as he finds himself on familiar waters after his bout in the Europeans last year. With Goldilocks Andrews on the front of the boat, saving the best till last and just like a fairytale, we can already anticipate who’ll be calling the shots as they head out on the water on Day 1 of the qualifiers.

Whilst we’re on the Luxton topic, we must mention that our resident Pom and Aussie by default, AJ Luxton, is locked in to be sailing with her better half, Morgan, in the Youth division. Coming third overall in Florida, just shy of Paddy Butler and Caitlin Epps, the pair are highly qualified catamaran sailors and have represented Team GBR in a bunch of Youth Europeans and Worlds on the Nacra 15. With no other Aussies in the Youth Division this year, you can guess who we’ll be backing for the gold.

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Lucky-Dogs (more wholesome content, enjoy)

Finally, we have the Butler Boys: MB and Paddy. A lot can be said about the pair, both at home and out on the water. The last time we saw the two sail together at a regatta was in Florida, 2019, where the boys finished fourth in Masters. Additionally, they were just shy of Rod and Kerry in China, 2016, finishing with the silver, and on home waters in 2014, were the boys placed fifth. However, this will be the first time the Butler Boys have teamed up in the Open Championship, so it’s fair game.

Currently, the pair are neck ‘n’ neck in the Hobie 14s, with MB laying claim to the NSW States in Jervis Bay and the VIC States in Portarlington, whilst Paddy displayed dominance during the QLD States in Brisbane, dusting up the old boy convincingly. In the Hobie 16s, however, MB claimed the bullet in Twofold Bay, as Paddy slowly crept up the ladder to claim a second on count-back during the Baddie Regatta back in June. All that can be said is that: the Butler Boys are on.

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“keep your head out of the boat”

The Conquerors in the West..

We’ve said it once, and there’s no doubt we’ll say it again, it isn’t a Hobie 16 Worlds unless Colby is sailing. Considered as one of the greatest Hobie 16 sailors of the past 50 years, 2 x Hobie 16 World Champion, Gavin Colby has set in stone his place as the official “Wild-Card” during the Semi-Finals. Only a mere race away from clinching the 2019 Worlds in Captiva, Florida, Gav and Worsty were only four points away from the World Title with four bullets on their scoreboard – more than ay other Opens team. So, as you can expect, Colby’s hungry for more. However, this year Worsty is a no show, something to do with an incident in Sotogrande, 1997…

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as always, a coupla Aussies in the midst of it all…

Consequently, Gav has chosen to level up. Teaming up for the first time at a Hobie 16 Worlds since they solidified immortality in Jervis Bay, 2014, Josie Marks is back on the boat as the pair prepare to lock in a third World Championship. The pair have been on the tools, training on the Swan River with their fellow Westerners for some time now, so we are beyond excited to see how they perform in the Opens in Costa Brava.

As a first time competitor at a Hobie 16 Worlds, Glenn Fairey is chomping at the bit to get over to Spain with the rest of the Hobie Family. Glenn will be racing with seasoned Hobie 16 crew, Natalie Eldridge, who’ll be flying in hot off a Contiki Tour right in time for the Masters, whilst Alexandra Young will be subbing in the Open Championship. With a solid performance already under their belts at the WA State Championships in Esperance, we’re stoking to see how both pairings go at the Worlds.

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no wonder Josie’s on board, take a look at that bloke

Widely renowned as one of the most dominant Hobie 16 teams Australia has produced over the years, Dazzy and Claire are in form, as always. Placing 3rd in both the WA States in Geraldton and QLD States in Brisbane, the pair have proved that consistency is key when competing in high calibre Hobie regattas. With a top 10 placing in Florida, 2019 and countless Australian National Championships under their belt, we can expect the Nedlands duo to sail clean and fast later this month.

It is unarguable that there are no Hobie Sailors more committed, more deserving of claiming Gold than Cam and Suz. Having undoubtedly clocked the most kilometres travelled out of anyone on the the 2022 Hobie Championship Tour alone, Cam and Suz have clearly defined the rule “time on the water”. With a bullet at the Bad News Regatta back in June, and as our current Australian National Champions (it can be argued which title holds more significance), could this be the year of the Orange Whip? With a silver in Jervis Bay, 2014, and just shy of the podium in Florida, 2019 and Fiji, 2007, Cam and Suz are hungrier than ever!

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blue whip?

May the lifts be plentiful, and the knocks be scarce..

Finally, on behalf of the whole Australian Hobie Family, we’d like to wish Team Australia the best of luck as they venture over to Costa Brava, Spain, to compete in the 23rd Hobie 16 World Championships. As always, Team Australia is guaranteed to put on one hell of a show, both on and off the water, and we are beyond excited to see how they all go. From the distribution of the sail numbers on the sands of the Mediterranean, to the endless hours spent debriefing with refreshments in the pool, Team Australia is in for the ride of their lives.

To those at home, remember to stay tuned via the ANHCA Facebook Page, and if you haven’t already, jump onto our Instagram @hobieclassaustralia which will be providing live coverage for the duration of the Worlds.

But for now: sail high, sail fast, and kick some bloody arse!

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Paddy signing out, be seeing you very soon….

Masters International Cup

  • Fletcher & Georgia Warren-Myers (VIC)
  • Cam Owen & Suzzi Ghent (WA)
  • Glenn Fairey & Natalie Eldridge (WA)
  • Rod & Kerry Waterhouse (NSW)
  • Lachlan Macfarlane & Sharon Rayner (QLD)
  • Peter & Hannah Bates (QLD)
  • Darren Smith & Claire Bisgood (WA)
  • Rob Branch & Carmen Andrews (QLD)
  • Bella Zanesco & Douglas Edwards (QLD)

Grand Masters International Cup

  • Rod & Kerry Waterhouse (NSW)
  • Lachlan Macfarlane & Sharon Rayner (QLD)
  • Peter & Hannah Bates (QLD)

Youth World Championship

  • AJ Luxton & Morgan Smith (UK/NSW)

Womens World Championship

  • Carmen & Haylie Andrews (QLD)
  • Meagan Bursa (VIC)

Open: Qualifying

  • Rod & Kerry Waterhouse (NSW)
  • Andrew Warneke & Haylie Andrews (QLD)
  • Gav Luxton & Carmen Andrews (NSW)
  • Conor Greagsbey & Joey Thomas (VIC)
  • Mitch Booth & Rita Booth
  • Ruben Booth & Alex Collins
  • Jordi Booth & Ana Iacovone

Open: Pre-Qualified

  • Cam Owen & Susan Ghent (WA)
  • Peter & Juliet Bates (QLD)
  • Lachlan Macfarlane & Sharon Rayner (QLD)
  • Glenn Fairey & Alexandra Young (WA)
  • Fletcher & Georgia Warren-Myers (VIC)
  • Darren Smith & Claire Bisgood (WA)
  • Mick & Paddy Butler (NSW)
  • Gav Colby & Josie Mark (WA)