Come Sail Away & Race with the wind on the Sea of Cortez -October 8th -14th

Oct 6, 2016 by Anita Kaltenbaugh

Calling all sailors! Outstanding October is here! With that comes warm water, light winds and glorious beach days. Perfect weather to be in or on the water. And, right here in Puerto Peñasco from October 8-14th, the sailboats will be on the water. October 8-9th is the Piñata Regatta, and on October 10-14th the Hobie Class Association of North America will host the Hobie 16 & 18 North American Championships. The Regatta headquarters will be directly on the beach at the Playa Bonita Hotel and Resort.

The International Hobie Class Association, founded in 1991, was created to promote Hobie Racing all over the world. In 1994 Hobie Sailing Championships held their first regatta in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico and now 22 years later they are still going strong.

The races will be directly in front of the beach area in front of Playa Bonita and Sonoran Sky. If you’re not a sailor, no worries mate, enjoy the day watching! Colorful sailboats make a fantastic backdrop; laze away a few hours on the sand and enjoy some action while basking in the wonderful weather.

If you are interested in sailing come by and check out the racing and stop by the organizers tent, The Tucson Hobie Fleet. This group sails in Arizona, California, and points beyond, but they consider their home waters to be the Sea of Cortez in Rocky Point. They would love to meet all sailing enthusiasts and answer any questions.

So why is it called Hobie? It’s named after its founder Hobart “Hobie” Alter (October 31, 1933 – March 29, 2014). According to Wikipedia, Hobie was a young boy who declared that he wanted to make a living without having to wear hard-soled shoes or work east of California’s Pacific Coast Highway. “By Making people a toy and giving them a game to play with it”. A couple of years later, Hobie opened up Southern California’s first surf shop in Dana Point, California wearing flip flops to work. The community laughed at him, asking how many surfboards can you sell? They were in for a big surprise as Hobie then went on to be a sailing pioneer and Hobie Cat catamarans were born.

The first Hobie Class Association Regatta took place on July 4th, 1968. The first six boats ever made competed in a race off Poche Beach, Capistrano, California, a local surfing paradise near Dana Point. From there Hobie exploded and is now designated as “one of the world’s large sailing associations with over 500 fleets in close to 100 countries on every continent, ocean, and sea around the globe.”

How does a sailboat championship race work? There are approximately 50-60 boats registered for the competition and on Monday, October 10th, around 11:00 AM the first fleet will begin racing. After a countdown and series of flags issuing a five-minute warning, bang, the gun will go off, and the racers will sail into the wind for the first leg. Into the wind, you ask? Yes, you heard me correctly, this is what makes a real racing competition. Then enjoy the view of the boats dancing on the water and sit back and watch the boats zigzag as they go around each buoy fighting to be the first one to finish. Each race lasts about 30-45 minutes.

Each team competes for approximately four races each day. First place winners will receive the coveted score of one point. That’s what golf and sailing have in common, the lowest score wins. At the end of the week, they tally the point of the races to declare the winner.

Brian Heffernan, a resident and realtor for Realty Executives, is an avid sailor for forty years and has been competing in Regattas all over the world. He has won a national championship and many state and local championships from Hawaii to England. Brian is racing with his wife, Heather Heffernan. The pair Team Heffernan are sponsored by Roger Clyne’s Mexican Moonshine Tequila, (so watch out for the five-foot graphic of a Mexican Moonshine tequila bottle bobbing around the sea). He met his now race partner and wife on Tucson Beach in Rocky Point in 1996, when she crewed for him. They were married two years later. I asked Brian what he loves about racing (besides meeting his wife), after so many years. “I love the competitive game and there’s lots of variables. The wind’s always changing; the waves are always changing, and there are boats all around you, moving in all directions. Everything’s fluid. It’s like a giant chess game only being performed at high speed.”

So, why do they race? Brian says “It’s exhilarating-—the sound of the wind, waves it’s just a blast as you turn the boat down a wave and take off. You are surfing on the waves, working the boat.”

So, if you are up for some surfing the waves, action check out the Piñata Regatta October 8-9th, and The North American Hobie Championship Regatta on the October 10-14th, or be daring and register your own Hobie at www.fleet514.com.

Some years ago – never mind how long precisely – having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.

H. Melville, Opening Line from Moby Dick

Now – bring me that horizon.

The last line from Pirates of the Caribbean:

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