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1 February 2008, 10:32 am
Countdown To Hobie Worlds In South Africa
Jean Christophe MOURNIAC and Franck CITEAU
Defending Hobie Tiger World Champs Jean Christophe MOURNIAC and Franck CITEAU

Hobie Tiger and third Hobie Dragoon World Championships 2008
Langebaan, South Africa

A month prior to the start of the sixth Hobie Tiger and third Hobie Dragoon Worlds in 2008, the South African organizers have received 74 pre-entries representing 14 countries.
Seventeen youth teams (soon 25 in total) will battle it out on the Hobie Dragoons. The rest of the fleet will line up on Hobie Tiger catamarans (F18). Among them are top ranked sailors, like multiple Tornado World Champion and current F18 World Champion Darren BUNDOCK (AUS) and silver medallist at the 2007 Tornado Worlds Carolijn BROUWER (BEL). The local youth squad is well prepared for an exciting competition in the Langebaan Lagoon on the West Coast of South Africa. The championships will start on Monday 3 March and finish on Saturday 9 March. For both classes, a maximum of ten races are scheduled.

Langebaan is well-known for its strong winds and flat water. These are not only perfect conditions for the performance of Hobie Tigers and Hobie Dragoons, but also a pleasure for the competitors. Heavy weather specialist Mitch BOOTH (NED), Olympic medallist and Hobie Tiger World Champion 2003, will be eager to win the title again. But the competition will be full on, as current F18 European Champions Mischa HEEMSKERK and Bastiaan TENTIJ (NED) returned to the Hobie Tiger class in which also the local Hobie 16 heroes will try their luck. Among them are three past Hobie 16 Worlds Champions: Blaine DODDS (1998 and current Master World Champion), Shaun FERRY (1993, 1998 and 2005) and Colin WHITEHEAD (1978). And South African most adventurous cat sailor Duncan ROSS, he crossed the Drake Passage on a 20-foot multihull, grabs the opportunity to race once more at the highest level. Mixed crew Allan LAWRENCE (past Hobie 14 World Champ and placed second at the inaugural Tiger Worlds in Italy) and Inge SCHABORT (past ISAF Women's World Champ) will join forces in their attempt to win the event.

Favourite Youngsters

Soon after the 2008 Hobie Dragoon Worlds were allocated to South Africa, the national Hobie Cat Association started an intense youth programme. The result is a competitive and enthusiastic Hobie Dragoon fleet that includes about 20 teams. They trained hard and are well prepared for their mostly first experience with an international event. According to the local organization, there are some definite favourites to win the Dragoon title. They warn the foreign competitors for Matt WHITEHEAD and Meg DU PLESSIS (RSA). WHITEHEAD gave the under 21 youth a wake up call at the Youth Hobie 16 Worlds in Fiji. He finished 13th as first time skipper. Another team to watch is Petrus SMITH and his 9 year old crew Ewie LOUBSTER, who is the youngest entered. SMITH and LOUBSTER have an advantage of sailing every day on the Worlds' venue, so they know the currents, shifts and banks very well. Five out of the 17 entries so far will race in the open class. The rest of the fleet is junior, so under the age of 16.

Hobie Tiger and third Hobie Dragoon World Championships - click here

Diana Bogaards
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