If It's Wednesday, It Must Be a Hobie Day

Exclusive reporting from the Lands' End Caribbean NOOD Rendezvous at Sunsail's Club Colonna in Antigua.

Carib NOOD 3
John Burnham

The wind dipped below 20 knots for the first time this week on Antigua's Hodges Bay where Sunsail's Club Colonna is located. Race committee PRO, Luigi Reggio, whose main focus this week is on what he terms "the sailors' fun meter," called for a boat change to Hobie 15s, a two-sail, boom-less, board-less fiberglass design that's fast and well suited to resort sailing. Since most of the sailors who had tried a Hobie in more breeze earlier in the week had quickly found a way to pitchpole them, this promised to be a fast and fun day-for spectators, at least. Bora Gulari steered the Chicago boat to victory in the first race. Bora is clearly a bit of a speed monger with windsurfing, kitesurfing, and skiff sailing on his resume in addition to crewing on Phil O'Neil's Nelson-Marek 46, Natalie J. He enlisted a different crew for each race and as a team, they won for the day, finishing the three races with 5 points. O'Neil crewed for Gulari in the second race and said that a practice session in the morning was his first time ever in a Hobie Cat. The St. Petersburg champions, represented by Scott Nixon and Kevin Elion, weren't long on catamaran experience before this week either, but they adapted quickly. "We had the traveler in the middle in the first race," said Elion, "and that was all wrong. When we let it down a little for the next race, we went much faster." With downwind speed to burn as well, the pair won the second race, then Elion switched out for Ted Kaczmarski, who drove the last race and finished third with Nixon crewing. Kaczmarksi admitted they might have done better if he'd listened to his tactician. Winning the third race, and hanging close to the St. Pete team in the overall series standings, was another catamaran newbie team, Doug Sabin and Alex Felton. The former, a Finn sailor, and the latter, a Rhodes 19 sailor, led the second race but were passed by Nixon and Elion downwind. In the third, however, they started well and launched themselves into a commanding lead they didn't give up. They won't be getting too cocky about their cat prowess anytime soon, however; the judges scored them highest for the best pitchpole of the day, a telling photograph of which is rumored to be en route to Dr. Crash's office. Other good capsizes noted by this reporter included teams from Toronto, Larchmont, and Annapolis. Racing for the Caribbean NOOD Rendezvous championship concludes on Thursday in a boat type yet to be determined.Scores for Wednesday follow: Chicago (5)St. Petersburg (6)Marblehead (7)Toronto (15)San Diego (17)Detroit (18)Annapolis (19)Texas (22)Larchmont (26)