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1 January 2004, 05:01 pm
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Australian Hobie Championship
Moreton Bay, Manly

Racing concluded yesterday in the first series of the Australian Hobie Championships. The sailors had a variety of winds from light/moderate to survival.
It was a great series and a credit to the hosts Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron. But the success of any championships can be measured by the sailor's faces and there were plenty of smiling faces around the boat park.

The Hobie Tigers have shown themselves to be the show case of Formula 18 racing in Europe and Australia has shown it no different here.

The competitive fleet attracted three current world champions. In the first six races there were five different heat winners. The results showed the same tight sailing with World Tornado Champion Darren BUNDOCK and Brad SUMNER tied for first place, with Darren winning on a count back of the overall results.

Darren believes the Hobie Tiger has some of the toughest competition in multihull racing, "just seeing the different heat winner showed that nobody dominated the series. It was a real tough series."

Steve FIELDS, Managing Director of Hobie Cat Australasia finished third. Steve was please that factory team finished first, second and third. "We never thought that our whole team would do so well, the boats are just standard Tigers and Darren to his credit put his boat together on the first day of the regatta and won."

"As the major sponsor and podium finisher we are overjoyed at the results."

In the Hobie Youth it was an all family affair with brothers Shane and Michael PETERSON fighting for first place. With older brother Shane becoming the eventual winner. These two young sailors will now continue their battle in Cancun, Mexico at the Hobie 16 Youth Worlds.

For selection series for the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship in Poland Lachlan GIBSON edged out Taylor BOOTH.

This now sets up and exciting series at McCrea Yacht Club next week when the selection series will be held.

David BENT sailed a perfect last day of the championship to win all three races and the championship. Husband and wife team Steve and Leslie KIELY tried valiantly to close the gap but could not match the boat speed of Bent. Andre NELSON hung on to claim third place overall after winning the first race of the series.

Making a return to women's racing Belinda ZANESCO won the Hobie 16 Women's National Championships. Donna KENNEDY kept the pressure on Belinda with a first and second in the last two races.

It was a great series with the sailors enjoying the racing and the hospitality of Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron. The Hobie 16 Open and Masters start on the 2nd January.
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