On a weekend of this very hot July, the usual raid of the 808 Fleet of Pescara took place, now in its eighth edition.
The raid is an event eagerly awaited by the 808 Hobie caters as it brings together not only the crews who are passionate about regattas but also those who experience the Hobie cat as sailing where they have fun, where sharing wins over the competition: for many, what keeps many people connected is fun, a sense of participation and the pleasure of going to sea.
Sailing has one advantage over any other sport: it allows you to start practising it even at an advanced age, at 40, 50 and 60 years old. This then fully marries with the Hobie way of Life, the desire to have fun with the catamaran.
It is also essential that the Pescara fleet has many creative ways of bringing people together: regattas starting from the beach (read “Hobie Le Mans 808”), night sailing, arrival in a night place with bivouac and return, ….. These events have always been the heritage of the 808: anything that promotes interaction by lowering the barriers to entry.
After various inspections and meetings, the choice of the arrival destination for the 2023 raid is, as in recent years, south of Pescara, at the beginning of the now well-known Costa dei Trabocchi which this year has had its consecration as one of the most beautiful places in Abruzzo with an advertisement, television and otherwise, never seen before.
The organization moved in time already for months to establish a certain date on the full availability of the restaurant of the Baia Cattleya bathing establishment of the friendly owner Fabrizio Leonzio and his family, Claudia, Benedetta as well as perfect in his staff.
Entry/exit channel for boat towage corridor, Tollo railway station no more than 200 meters away to comfortably return by train to the city of Pescara for crews who do not prefer bivouacs in tents, large car park for accompanying persons, umbrellas available for raiders: there are many strong points for this easy choice.
Specially created WhatsApp group for this event, the commodore informs the participating associates daily with continuous news. The use of an assistance dinghy is also ready and available, in case of calm forecasts on the pre-established weekend.
Saturday morning, after rigging the boats, the skipper meeting at 11.30. The commodore recalls that it is not a regatta, but a sailing: therefore, with mutual assistance and help, the idea is to sail compact and united, despite the desire to always arrive first. Waypoints are established for regrouping the fleet during navigation: the first in front of the Stele Dannunziana (¼ way) and a second in front of the new tourist port of Francavilla al Mare (¾ way).
8 nautical miles, sailing along the coast as close as possible to the horizontal cliffs along the seawall for reasons of safety, vision and sceptical of the fleet in navigation. Even if you must tack upwind, it is essential not to move far from the coast, therefore a greater number of tacks for a compact and non-dispersive fleet.
Fourteen HC16s at the start equal the number of participants in the previous edition. There are those who participate “single” without bowmen, those with family, and those who sail together with a small group of children on the trampoline. Group photo before the start.
During the skipper meeting, the latest sail purchase in the fleet, Walter’s 112552 wants to perform like a peacock by breaking the line of boats in a nice line along the shoreline starting off alone. Massimo, the most diligent and attentive, proves to be the holder of the latest edition of Hobie Le Mans and with a burning sprint, not only demonstrates that he is already in great shape for the next edition at the end of September but stops the HC16 thoroughbred pawing before hitting some swimmers.
He lingers in the final preparations: the start is suddenly given by the lady, annoyed by the multicoloured spectacle of the sails that fill the shoreline (and block the horizon of the sea!).
The 8 nautical miles directed to the goal become 14 for upwind tacks: average speed of 5 knots, sailing duration 2 hours and 50 minutes.
Upon arrival, those who dive into the clear waters of that place, those who celebrate with fresh beer, those who go to the CVL – Circolo della Granita where the name says it all and those who … go fishing for octopuses!
He passes an old man, arms behind his back and an analytical walk: “But are you the ones from the other year?”
Me: “Yes we were here 2 years ago and 4 years ago”
He: “Yes, but you were more!”
Me: “But no, we are still 14/15 boats”
Him: “no no, there were many more!!”
They recognized us, impossible not to do it with the explosion of colours of our sails!
At sunset, he decommissions (even the mainsail alone) to make room and starts pitching the “2 seconds” tents directly on the sixteenth trampoline for 10 of the 14 total sixteen who spend the night in tents on the shoreline. Someone leaves by train from the nearby station, and other companions and/or family members instead arrive by motorbike or car with our bags containing the few spare garments to follow. The flags of the sponsor, of Flotta and the Hobie “Tequila” are raised as well as the yellow, light blue, and white “HC” ones: “the flags flutter in the wind”! (phrase of our fellow citizen poet Gabriele D’Annunzio).
Quick shower and start of dinner under various gazebos, booked as mentioned a month before. Dress code: HobiewayèpersempreFlotta808 green t-shirt, also given as a tribute to the owner of Baia Cattleya. During the dinner, prize draws for all the crews are offered by the sponsor who always accompanies the 808 fleet in its events.
Dinner with 32 people which extends until 1.00 am then a few hours of sleep (pampered only by the sound of the waves on the shoreline) because at 5.40 am there is a show not to be missed: the sunrise on the horizon. Stunning classic ritual photos! 7 am: breakfast at the establishment, then for someone another round of granitas at the CVL social promotion association. Countless other baths in the sultry Sunday.
The crews who come from Pescara by train are late due to technical problems on the railway line: the other 808’s, in order not to waste time, set about arming their Hobie cats. Quick skipper meeting: the commodore reports that as soon as the latecomers arrive, we leave. Like the fighters taking off from the aircraft carrier, one after the other, taking turns, the bowman lowers the prow from against the wind to leave respecting the launch corridor in the crowded Sunday presence of bathers. Show!
Close fleet navigation, continuous photographic sequence with crews almost engaged.
Our navigator shows us 12 miles covered in almost the same time as the outward journey, but downwind, therefore sailing almost parallel to the coast without tacking, average speed of around 4 knots.
As soon as you arrive, tents and luggage are collected from the cars of the companions who have bivouacked with the crews.
Tired but very happy, we meet under the palm of the fleet to celebrate again with fresh drinks.
This is the Hobie way of life 808!