British Hobie 16s at Eurocat.
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Eurocat 2004 was held in Carnac, France from April 30th to the 2nd of May. Four British Hobie 16 travelled to the event to race with the other 50 Hobie 16s to bring the entries to a total of 54 boats. After a few days training from Marcus Lynch the event kicked off.
Day one was a day of medium winds, 12-14 knots with large shifts and squalls with the rain. Race one got away first time with a generally line shy fleet. Simon Kearns and Ben Burns lead round the first windward mark and lead to the finish. Kevin Cooper and Justin Martin sailed a safe race to finish 2nd after having been 2nd for most of the race. Ryan Crawford and Lewis Crawford pulled through to finish 6th after having under-layed the spreader mark. Race two was held in similar conditions with the Crawford brothers winning the start off the pin end. Following their start they lead round the course to win followed by Kearns Burns in 3rd and Cooper Martin in 4th. The last race of the day began in about 8 10 knots with Kearns Burns almost being called OCS in the middle of the line. Round the windward mark the Crawfords lead followed by Cooper Martin in 2nd and Kearns Burns in 7th. By the finish Cooper Martin had pulled through to lead by a comfortable margin with the Crawfords in 4th and Kearns Burns in 5th.
Day two was the day of the famous long distance race. The start was again an impressive sight with over 300 cats starting on one line. After 3 hours of hard racing in large waves and 20 25 knots of wind at times, and the Crawfords having vertical issues the brits finished in an impressive positioning of 2nd Hobie 16 for Cooper Martin, 3rd Hobie 16 for Kearns Burns and 5th Hobie 16 for the Crawfords.
The final day saw a return to short course racing. The wind was much lighter with only 7-8 knots for race one. After the only general recall of the event Kearns Burns had a great start and rounded the windward mark in third place with the Crawfords inside the top 10 and Cooper and Martin slightly struggling in 20th. Down the first run Kearns Burns gybed out into stronger tide and sailed into the lead which they held to the finish after being pushed hard by the French girls, Morganine and Marion. Ryan and Lewis pulled through to 4th and Kevin and Justin sailed a solid race and pulled up to 7th at the end. Race two started in 3-5 knots and was set to be a trying race from the beginning. Kearns Burns were rolled off of the line and struggled in the light winds, rounding the windward mark 9th with all the Brits having a tough time in the light winds. Halfway through the race the wind died completely and swung 100 degrees right and carried on swinging till it had swung 180 degrees by the finish. Cooper Martin finished 12th with Kearns Burns in 13th and the Crawfords crossing the line just as the time limit ended in 21st. No more racing was held, as the wind was unstable and light. This left Team Kearns Burns in 1st overall with Cooper Martin in 3rd and Ryan and Lewis in 4th. The British finished in the top three youth slots overall and a British boat won every race bar one.
Mention must also be made to Luke Butler and Katie English who sailed well and learnt a lot in their first Hobie 16 European event to finish 31st overall.
1st Simon Kearns Ben Burns 10 points
3rd Kevin Cooper Justin Martin 14 points
4th Ryan Crawford Lewis Crawford 15 points
31st Luke Butler Katie English.
Report by Simon Kearns www.teamkearnsburns.co.uk