After a series of 15 races over 4 steamy days Rod and Kerry Waterhouse from Australia have won the Masters division of the 21st Hobie® 16 World Championships in Dapeng, China. Despite the fact that the Australians led the series from the very first race and were never headed in the regatta it was always an amazingly close contest. Positions fluctuated at the top from race to race and everyone in the top 5 had a chance to win going into the fourth and final day of this incredible series.
“It’s been quite an amazing event back to back. Kerry and I are pretty close we have been sailing together for 40 years now on Hobies so we really know each other’s game and we support each other through good and bad. From the start we looked at the competition and thought that it’s pretty serious the Masters series this year, in fact I believe the open world champion will come out of it.
We went in against a lot of tough competition and started off well. It’s an unusual location with very flat water and wind off the shore. There’s nothing certain and in fact it took quite a while for the fleet to work out whether it paid best to go left on the course or right on the first beat.
We were lucky on the first day we had a really good day and came away with four very good results. Where as our competition were having two or three good ones and then maybe a bad one. We learnt well early and as the series progressed other people got to know the track and it tended to even out and the results got close. In fact I think we held the lead, fortunately every day, but there was a different team in second position everyday which shows you how tight things were going.
On the second and third days the wind was fairly consistent, quite light but around 2pm things built and we were single wiring and double wiring, in usually the last race of each day. Everyone had their time, their day in the sun but we just stayed very conservative, we knew we had very good boat speed, we’d been working on that for awhile.
Probably one of the most difficult things was that there were a half a dozen different boats in the mix in the regatta and we started to try to cover those boats. But unfortunately, in the fluky conditions that prevailed, it became very difficult and we would cover one and maybe let three go and that’s why the results were so close and always changing.
Today was a good day but we had a really bad third race, a fourteenth, which meant that basically going in to the last race of the series, any one of five boats could win and that is quite remarkable. Fortunately for us we played, for a change quite conservatively, and that’s just not me. At the start we went to the left hand side of the course which pays 80% of the time and came out really well at the first mark and from there we really enjoyed the race because we knew we had it in the bag,
It was a great series and great competition and I pick that the winner of the Open World Championship will come out of this Masters fleet. I would say we have a really good chance to go away with the worlds but there’s at least a half a dozen teams who have an equally good chance. It could come out of the Youth, it could come out of nowhere but I think that, yes we’ve got a chance but we’re really happy to go away with the Masters. So we’ll see what happens. ”
Mick and Patrick Butler from Australia moved up to second position with a sensational effort coming home to win after sitting in last place on the starting line after the team chose to round the start mark incorrectly thinking they had crossed line early. The effort to move from last to take the lead was sensational to watch and was the most amazing win of the regatta.
William and Lucinda Edwards from South Africa were in second place going into the final day and were knocked back to third by team Butler. Things were looking good to claw second back when they crossed the line with what seemed like a run-a-away victory in the final race of the series, however there was no siren when they crossed the finish line, they had received an OCS and podiumed in third position.
It has been a sensational regatta so far with wind and racing everyday and among spectacular scenery and a beautiful beach. Tomorrow the Great Grand Masters, the Grand Masters, the Women and Youth divisions take to the water, it’s going to be another great Hobie day in South Eastern China.
– Rod Waterhouse