Clear Lake to host Hobie races
For nearly two weeks in September, the Hobie 16 & 14 North American Championships will be held in Clear Lake, Iowa.
Hosted by Hobie Fleet 10 and the Clear Lake Yacht Club, the event goes from September 5 through September 12.
It showcases two of the most popular sailboat models racing for an elusive North American Championship.
“This really is fun for all ages,” Todd Wilson, chair of the Hobie Fleet 10 and member of the Clear Lake Yacht Club, said. “The sailboats are fun to see and watch.”
The Hobie cat is a small catamaran, or a two-hulled sailboat. Hobie racing uses the surf to navigate the course to and from the beach. Sails catch the wind and the skippers have to lean over the edge of the boat to help navigate it.
Events kick off Thursday, September 4 with celebrity and youth wave races from 2-6 p.m. “The celebrity race will feature past North American champions,” Wilson said.
Women’s and youth races begin on Friday, September 5 and last through the weekend. These races will feature the Hobie 14 boat.
The Hobie 14 is the original catamaran designed by Hobie Alter. The Hobie Company is the largest manufacturer of small catamarans in the world.
“The Hobie 14 is infamously known for its forward mast and bent banana-shaped hull,” Chris Wessels, Hobie Division 7 vicechairperson, said. “This boat is great for younger and lighter sailors because it is fairly easy to handle and doesn’t require a lot of weight.”
Hobie 14’s are 14 feet long and nearly 8 feet wide and carry a maximum load of 320 pounds Wessels said.
Hobie 16 Open Regatta Racing begins on Monday, September 8 and lasts through the week, ending on Friday, September 12. The champion will be crowned in a small ceremony Friday evening after the race.
“Hobie 16’s are the most popular type of sail boat,” Wessels said. “It’s about 3 feet longer and its mast is 4 feet taller than the Hobie 14.”
Because Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield sponsors the events, any card-holding member is invited to watch the races from the Lady of the Lake on September 10 for free.
“That really is the way to watch the races,” Wilson said. “You get to be right in the middle of the action -- literally.”
The cruise is first come, first served and will make periodic stops to the shore to load and unload throughout the day.
Competitors of all ages from all over North America are expected to attend as well.
“We have people from all over the US, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Guatemala coming, so the field will have great diversity,” Wilson said.
“This event is so great because at any point we could have three generations of sailors competing against each other, whole families,” Wessels said. “What other sporting event can say that?”
For a more detailed schedule and information, visit the Hobie Division 7 Web site at hobiecatdivision7.org/.