The 51st Hobie Cat 14 North American Championship is hosted by Clearwater Community Sailing and Clearwater Yacht Club – March 26-28, 2019.This venue offers two options for sailing. The course can be set in the Gulf of Mexico or in the inland waterway which is a narrow bay.
Twenty-five sailors from North America attended, with some escaping the cold weather to enjoy the Florida warm weather. It also attracted 1984 Hobie 14 World Champion Bob Curry to come back to the Hobie 14 Class.
On the first day, ailing was out in the Gulf of Mexico. There was a fair amount of chop with light winds in the 5-7 knot range. Long courses 0.9 nm all courses were 1. It was difficult to keep the boat moving through the chop which is what was needed to stay in the front.Four races were held Dan Borg taking the honours. Finishing off the day with two firsts was Herb James to be one point behind Dan. A further three point behind was former World Champion Bob Curry.
After a slow start to the day with the postponement flag flying racing as a cold front with rain arrived.After the front came through the temperature dropped bringing out some dry suits. The race committee opted to delay racing to evaluate the conditions and wait for the temperature to improve. Racing started with winds in the high teens but the race committee decided to set the course in the inland waterway vs. the gulf. The inland waterway in much narrower, there are shallow areas that were kicking up rudders and there was a small island in the middle of the course. All of this led to frequent led changes and some interesting conditions for the sailors.
Dan Borg continued on his way to continue leading the championships. The big mover was Matt Bounds. Matt moved up from 6th place to 2nd with top 3 finishes and winning the last race of the day. Herb James didn’t have a good day though managed to finish second in the last race of the day to drop from second to fifth place. Nicolas Liebel moved from fourth to third
Unfortunately 1984 Hobie 14 World Champion, Bob Curry retired from the last two races dropping him down from third to seventh.
Day 3 final day
The winds were lighter 8-12 and racing returned to the gulf.
The competition was tight in the top five but in the end the Canadians ruled finishing first and second. Dan Borg (CAN) won followed by Nicholas Liebel (CAN) and Matt Bounds (USA) in third.
As the Hobie 14 event concludes sailors are switching boats as the Midwinters East Championships starts tomorrow for the other classes.