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Hobie 16 – The Trials Of Regattas
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Hobie 16 – The Trials Of Regattas

The Hobie 16 regatta that ended in a disastrous day.

This regatta I was crew on Dad's Hobie 16, it was a fund-raising event for a local charity, and the sponsors had set a special effort with stalls and games for all ages. The regatta planned for three races, with the best two results determining the winners. Dad hooked up the Hobie and in a serious mood we departed for the dam.

Dad took competition seriously, “Today we're going to show them Son!” the rest of the family where going to follow later in the family car, luckily they didn't. On arrival at the dam, to my surprise, a Navel boat was present racing around on the dam, this was the rescue boat if needed. Boy, was it needed that day. The skies showed a possibility for rain, but not to let the sponsors down, the Hobies off loaded, rigged and readied for racing. I donned my life jacket to impress the multitude of good-looking young girls present, remember I was very young and still not proficient in the art of “chatting up” the opposite sex.

The racing was to begin later, but due to the weather building up they sponsors requested an earlier start to entertain the crowds. Twelve catamarans entered the water and proceeded to the start line, most where Hobies and a few of the other makes, Dad's comment “Don't worry about that %#$@, watch the other Hobies! And don't let that jib flutter.” Instructions in mind, concentrating on Dad's placing the Hobie in the ideal place for the start, the weather was forgotten. A big mistake.

The siren sounded on time and the sails pulled in, the race was on. A strike of lightening and loud clap of thunder reminded all and sundry there was a storm coming. Warning was not enough, the Hobies with older crew headed for shore, Dad attempted the same unsuccessfully. The strong wind caught the main sail and over we went, a major capsize, mast under water, with Dad and I in the water. Down came the rain, this wasn't bad, it was the hail that accompanied the rain, the size of chicken eggs.

When a Hobie totally capsizes, the trampoline (the sail between the hulls that you sit on) lies level with the water, consequentially there was nowhere to hide from the hail. Dad pull me close and attempted to shield me from this pelting, collecting a good few hard hits on his own head, Dad was always hard-headed, and his concern, his son, me. Now the Navy rescue boat came flying to the rescue, they pulled up close to us and asked if we needed help to upend the Hobie. Dad answered in the negative but requested they took me with them, he would wait out the storm.

Now these young sailors, keen to show their prowess, decided to rather help us right the Hobie and one youngster jumped in. The wind was too strong to even consider this, and Dad told him so, you didn't argue with Dad. The young sailor joined us close to the hull furthest from the hail, but not being a big enough protection, he collected a shot or two to the head. His head was obviously not as hard as Dad's, he started to sink, and not wearing a life jacket was in danger of drowning. Now Dad had me in one hand and the sailor in the other. “%#$@, why can't these youngsters listen to me?” uttered from his mouth, not a man of many words.

The storm finally abated, and with the help of the recovered sailor, we quickly upended the Hobie and sailed to the shore. This was not the end of the story, Dad, as a habit always took the vehicle keys with him on the Hobie, these in a small bag hooked to the Hobie rigging. The bag still attached but the keys, gone! Dad in no mood to receive interference, “ %$@# the keys, help me get the rigging down so that we can go home” his only words. This had been a storm of note, no one dry, no stalls standing, chaos everywhere and water cascading from all directions.

Rigging down, Hobie loaded on its trailer and now to start the vehicle. Fortunately it was a diesel and Dad, head under bonnet, had it started in no time. Homeward bound and not too soon, down came the rain again, in torrents, so hard it was difficult to see the road ahead. The road was so awash with water it became a lake on which we drove, Dad knew the area well and continued on regardless, one thing in mind, get home. At one stage the water started to come through the doors of the vehicle, it was a Land Cruiser and fairly well off the ground, four-wheel drive engaged and on we went.

We finally arrived home, my Mother had seen the weather from the house, and decided not to risk the trip. She, interested on how we had fared, ask my Father, the answer, “ask your son” he left it to me to tell Mom the happenings of the day, while he cracked a beer, probably to forget the fiasco. Not a good day for Dad and his “today we will show them” attitude.


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  about 9 years ago
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