On in Travemünder, Germany a new Hobie 14 World Champion was crowned, Thorin ZEILMAKER from the Netherlands, 31 years after the first Hobie 14 World Championships in Hawaii.
The Hobie 14 which introduced thousands of people in to sailing and started the off the beach catamaran sailing craze is still going strong. 67 sailors from 9 countries and 4 continents entered the thirteenth Hobie 14 world Championships.
With an OCS hanging over his head from Race 3 onwards, Dutch sailor Thorin ZEILMAKER proved that consistency was the key to success. With top ten finishes in 9 of the 11 races, Zeilmaker was able to produce consistent finishes in the light shifty conditions as well as the fresher breezes on the last day.
However, it almost came completely came unstuck soon after the start of the last race. After getting a very good start and a good position out to the favoured left hand side of the course, he tacked, jumped out on trapeze, only to keep going and fall into the water. Fortunately he was just able to get one hand back onto the side of the boat before it capsized. Pulling himself back onto the boat, it swung around and he had to put in two more tacks to get to the top mark, but still manage to round in 10th place. Even more fortunate for him was the fact that two of his closest rivals were just in front in 8th and 9th places. Zeilmaker stamped his authority on the event by going on to win the last race to win the event by a 12 point margin.
His Dutch compatriot Peter MANVIS was not so fortunate in the last race, having a disastrous first leg, rounding the top mark towards the back of the fleet. Having moved to within 3 points of 2nd place with one race to go, this race would certainly have been his throwout race, so Manvis decided to sail back to the beach, although his consistency throughout the other races assured him of a fourth place finish.
German sailors Frank SUCHANET and Joachim WEBENER also sailed well on the last day, with this group of four not taking any risks and not wanting to be too far from their close rivals. The four could be seen close together all the way around the course, particularly in the penultimate race where they finished within boat lengths of each other in 3,4,5 positions.
Conditions on the last day provided the best wind for the event, with a solid 12 knots greeting sailors. However, as has been the case for the event, there were some big holes in the course and what would look like a strong position sometimes quickly evaporated. The course today was much closer to the shore with wind around the weather mark typically lighter and more variable than on the bottom part of the course.
However, this didn't seem to deter the top sailors, especially Thorin ZEILMAKER, who always managed to find the right side of the course, or that extra bit of breeze. Even a brief swim couldn't shake him and prevent him being crowned Hobie 14 World Champion - the first ever Dutch Hobie World Champion in 30 years!
14 Year Old Brits teach Olympic and World Champions how it is done!
Tom PHIPPS and Jonathan COOK (GBR) confirmed their credentials as sailors to watch in the future as they completed their domination of both the Open and Youth Divisions of the Hobie 16 Spinnaker class. On their way to winning they managed to beat Gavin COLBY, the current Hobie 16 World Champion as well as Mitch BOOTH, a double Olympic Medallist and runner up in last year's Hobie 16 World Championships.
While the light conditions have obviously benefited the lighter sailors, their boat handling and consistency were the keys to their success. Both Colby and Booth were impressed by not only the skills of all the young sailors, but also their enthusiasm and willingness to learn.
Despite their dominance on the scoreboard, there was actually not much in terms of distance between the top eight boats of the fleet. The four British boats have obviously benefited from their training on the boats in the UK.
This event has been a resounding success and the youth sailors were excited to be able to sail against such top competition as Colby and Booth and were very appreciative of the help and supported by these world class sailors. Not many sailors at this level put this amount of effort back into developing the youth of the sport.
We look forward to following the development of these young sailors and seeing their progression over the next few years.
Full results and photographs are available on the event website at the address below.