More than 20 entries are confirmed for the second Fiji Hobie Challenge and 2009 South Pacific Hobie championships in Suva from June 26 to July 3.
Fiji's Hobie fleet 252 hosted the inaugural Suzuki Fiji Hobie Challenge last September, using as charter boats the fleet of Hobie 16s it acquired through hosting the 2007 Hobie 16 world championships.
Some of Australia's best and most experienced catamaran sailors contested that event, including Aaron Worrall and Brad 'Worstie' Wilson, Bob Engwirda and Chris Munro, Kerli and Ali Corlett, Bruce Tardrew and Sarah Turnbull, David and Justine Lovell.
New Zealand and Noumea were also strongly represented, and the international flavour is expected to be repeated at this year's event, building on the success of the 2008 Challenge and the lessons learnt in hosting a challenging, island-hopping marathon through beautiful tropical waters.
The program for this year has been modified as a result, bringing the dates forward several months to coincide with the winter off-season and favourable tides for the first and last legs of the marathon across some shallow coral reef-strewn waters.
After two days of short course racing on Suva's Laucala Bay for the South Pacific championships, the fleet of Hobie 16s will head for Leleuvia Island, which will serve as the base for three days' marathon legs tracking around and through different islands, sandbanks, reefs and passages, followed by the fifth day's passage back to Suva.
“There will be plenty of good sailing , navigation, and waypoints….(besides looking out for the palm tree…!!), advises Hobie Fleet 252 stalwart Grahame Southwick, who is behind the introduction and organisation of the Fiji Hobie Challenge along with fellow fleet memebers John Philp, Shayne and Torika Brodie and Matt Sheppard.
For more information, visit www.fijihobie.com/2009/2009.html.