Congratulations to the team of Darren Smith / Jasmine Hill for the 3rd place out of 31 Hobie 16s at the 2010 Western Australian Hobie State Championships. The regatta was held 27-28 February at Jervoise Bay Sailing Club located several kilometers south of Fremantle.
Darren has been in and out of racing Hobie Cats — and at both ends of the boat as both crew and as a skipper. Ironically, this year he raced and placed at the same club where he first started sailing. His sailing career started at the age of six as crew on the Hobie 16 for his dad. As Darren grew up he crewed for various skippers including Ray Armitage and on the Hobie 18 for Gordon Golby. At 21, he started skippering and has since put in over 20 years of experience at the helm.
Remembering back at Darren’s childhood and forward to his future sailing he added, “Keep the family involved and take them with you.” Darren, his family and the other competitors had a great time living together at the Jervoise Bay campsite. There was a thrilling and fun atmosphere in the evenings with non-sailing families and friends enjoying overnight, morning and lunch time together at the venue.
On the water, Darren is a pretty serious sailor and some say he takes racing too seriously. At the higher levels of racing, sailors like Darren increase their training days, especially before a major event. Darren prepares by sailing both days on the weekends and fitting one weeknight of sailing in for several weeks before Nationals and States.
The secret to Darren’s success wasn’t memorizing the course and the wind shifts. His secret was looking at the whole course. He planned his some of his tactics in several races based on how the the wind was effecting a group of keelboats racing a separate course upwind from the Hobie course. The wind predictions paid off. Additionally, he suggested that newer sailors need to concentrate on staying out of trouble (such as being in a good position at the start and around the marks), sail a technically good race and finish every race.
Darren predicts that the future of Hobie Cat racing is having a variety of events from local club races to distance races to the national and the world championships. He encourages all levels of sailors to participate in as many events as they can.
Moving into the future, look for Darren and his family at the 2010 / 2011 Australian Hobie Championship at Jervis Bay in Vincentia – New South Wales from 30 December 2010 to 5 January 2011 (hobiecatnationals.com.au / vincentiasailingclub.com.au).
ABOUT The 2010 Western Australian Hobie 16 Championship
The 2010 Western Australian Hobie 16 State Championships were held Saturday 27 February and Sunday 28 February at Jervoise Bay Sailing Club located several kilometers south of Fremantle. Gill Australia, Sail Power Marine and Jervoise Bay Sailing Club sponsored the two day championship event.