The US Sailing Multihull Championships is an event that rotates amongst the catamaran classes. This year’s event was held on Hobie 14’s. This was a three-day regatta held concurrently with a two-day Hobie regatta for the other classes. Spray Beach Yacht Club in Long Beach Island, New Jersey hosted the regatta.
Spray Beach YC has long been one of my favorite venues. It’s a beautiful club with a great sailing venue. This club pulls out all the stops when the host an event, they have teams of volunteers preparing food and managing every aspect of the regatta. They combine this was a club wide pig roast and party that brings out a big crowd. Spray Beach also has a reputation for great wind and this year certainly reinforced that. Three days of breezy conditions that built in velocity each day, challenged sailors and equipment. The wind build during the day to 15-20 knots for the first two days. The final day saw winds of 20-25 knots. Equipment failures and capsizes kept the motor boat crews busy. By the final day, all the old shrouds had been finished off (People you have to replace those things).
In the 14 class it was a battle of attrition and managing letters on your scorecard. Demastings, OCS and DNF were taking their toll. Crab fishing in this area is popular and crab traps are scattered around the course marked by small buoys. The uninitiated to sailing in New Jersey thought their rudders might just kick up if they hit one these but no, what actually happens is the line and buoy holding the trap suck up the rudder and lodge between the rudder casting and hull. Can you say FULL STOP NOW!
Nicholas Liebel was blazing fast in the big breeze but a broken shroud on day one left him too many letters on the scorecard. In the end Matt Bounds (USA) was the winner followed by Nicholas Liebel (CAN) and Herb James (USA) both which were throwing out an OCS.
Photo credits for on the water shots are Leon Kanopka and Brittney Manning