Yachting mainland-style at Sand Hollow Sailing Classic

HURRICANE – Sailing isn’t just for folks on the coast anymore, and one local club has brought yachting to the Southern Utah mainland. This weekend, Hobie Fleet 941/Sand Hollow Yacht Club will host sailing fleets from Southern California, Nevada and Arizona at the 2014 Sand Hollow Sailing Classic, an annual regatta that features a lineup of official points races for the regional competitive sailing division that includes Southern Utah.

“There are going to be sailors that are top 10 in the nation, even top five in the nation,” said Raul Hevia, event co-chairman and founder of Hobie Fleet 941 and the Sand Hollow Yacht Club, the sponsoring body of the event.

The Sand Hollow Sailing Classic takes place Saturday and Sunday at Sand Hollow Reservoir. Members of Hobie Division 2, the Hobie catamaran racing division that encompasses Southern Utah and surrounding regions, will gather at Sand Hollow for two days of racing Hobie Cats, which are small catamaran sailboats.

Hobie Fleet 941/Sand Hollow Yacht Club members at Sand Hollow Reservoir, Hurricane, Utah, Undated | Photo courtesy of Raul Hevia, St. George News
Hobie Fleet 941/Sand Hollow Yacht Club members at Sand Hollow Reservoir, Hurricane, Utah, Undated | Photo courtesy of Raul Hevia, St. George News

Spectators are invited to come out and watch the races, which will take place Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. A beach party will take place on Saturday evening after the races, beginning around 7 p.m., and spectators are invited to attend that, Hevia said. Local musicians Hal Stead and Michael Hargis will provide entertainment at the beach party.

“If spectators want to come to the regatta and then stay for the show, they’ll play pop and country music,” Hevia said. “Everybody that comes, bring your camping chair and enjoy the ambience there. It’ll be great. It’ll be a beautiful sunset.”

Three different sailing classes will compete during the two-day event, plus beginning and advanced classes. The event is a points regatta for Hobie Division 2, which includes about 30 sailing fleets. Camping World, Findlay Hyundai and Jamison BJ Cox Family Dental are sponsors of the event.

“(Spectators) are going to see a lot of beautiful boats out there,” Hevia said, “and it’s going to be exciting because the wind is going to blow out there this weekend like it has been the past month. (The boats) move fast with good wind, so it’s going to be exciting.”

In addition to hosting the Sand Hollow Sailing Classic each year, the Hobie Fleet 941/Sand Hollow Yacht Club members also travel to regattas hosted by other sailing clubs in the region.

The club additionally sponsors a youth program, which is open to any local kids interested in learning how to sail. No sailing experience is needed to join.

“They need to know how to swim and just have an interest in sailing. That’s it,” Hevia said.

Hobie Fleet 941/Sand Hollow Yacht Club additionally hosts sailing merit badge classes for local Boy Scouts free of charge.

Hevia said anyone who has an interest in sailing is invited to come out to Sand Hollow on a weekend, join in with the club members and try out sailing for themselves.

“You don’t need a boat,” he said. “Just come and we’ll put you on one of our boats.”

Most of the club’s 25 members had no sailing experience when they got started in the group, Hevia said, but now some of them sail competitively throughout the country.

Hobie Fleet 941/Sand Hollow Yacht Club members at Sand Hollow Reservoir, Hurricane, Utah, Undated | Photo courtesy of Raul Hevia, St. George News
Hobie Fleet 941/Sand Hollow Yacht Club members at Sand Hollow Reservoir, Hurricane, Utah, Undated | Photo courtesy of Raul Hevia, St. George News

“When I started the club five years ago, I put an ad on Craigslist asking everybody that had a sailboat to come to the lake on a Saturday, and three people showed up with boats,” he said.

After that, many people who didn’t own boats and had no sailing experience began calling Hevia about the club, and he invited them out to the lake to get a taste of sailing. The club started growing from there as novice sailors got hooked and ended up buying boats of their own.

Hevia, who grew up in Puerto Rico, said moving to Southern Utah, where the only bodies of water to sail on are lakes, was initially a big challenge for him.

“I grew up sailing in the Caribbean waters, and it took me a good seven years to get over the hump of going sailing on a lake,” he said. “When I went to Sand Hollow, I discovered that I’ve been missing out for a long time because Sand Hollow is just beautiful.”

Sand Hollow is the only local lake suited for Hobie Cat sailing, he said, because it has the sand beaches necessary for beaching the boats, which are commonly called “beach Cats,” and the wind conditions are ideal for a good portion of the year. The sand beaches also provide a perfect setting for club members to gather and socialize after a day on the lake.

“It’s not only a sailing club, it’s also social,” Hevia said. “People enjoy each other’s company, so the beach is very conducive to that. This is what they call ‘the Hobie way of life.’”

Event details

  • When: Saturday, May 17, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    • beach party at 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 18, 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Where: Sand Hollow State Park in Hurricane
  • Admission: Free to watch the races | Sand Hollow State Park entrance fees apply
  • Resources

    • To join Hobie Fleet 941/Sand Hollow Yacht Club, to become a sponsor of the group, to join the youth sailing club or for any other information, contact Raul Hevia at 801-390-5813, [email protected], or visit the club’s Facebook page

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