Behind the Sails: The Making of the US Sailing Multihull Championship

Organizing a US Sailing Championship is no small feat. It requires meticulous planning, seamless coordination, and an unwavering passion for sailing. This year, the US Multihull Championship, held at the Dallas Corinthian Yacht Club (DCYC) in Oak Point, Texas, showcased the combined efforts of Shiela Holmes, the Event Organizer, and John Nekus, the Committee Chair of the US Sailing Multihull Committee. Their dedication brought together 28 teams from across the country, including two from Puerto Rico, in a thrilling display of skill and camaraderie. The wind ranged from 5 to 25 knots, adding an extra layer of challenge and excitement throughout the weekend. 


Shiela Holmes: Crafting a Championship 

Shiela Holmes, a seasoned sailor with decades of experience, spearheaded organization of the event at the Dallas Corinthian Yacht Club. Representing Hobie Cat Fleet 23, one of the oldest Hobie fleets in the US, Shiela brought a wealth of knowledge and a deep-rooted passion for the sport. Fleet 23, based on Lake Lewisville just north of Dallas, has been a hub for Hobie Cat enthusiasts for over 50 years, thanks to their free Hobie University learn-to-sail program. 

DCYC has served as a host venue for Fleet 23’s regattas and championship events for nearly two decades. Shiela emphasized the symbiotic relationship between Fleet 23 and DCYC, highlighting the club’s exceptional hospitality and the mutual benefits of increased sailor participation.  

“More sailors means more fun,” Shiela remarked, capturing the essence of their community. 

Despite having organized three Hobie National and North American Championships, this was Shiela’s first time hosting a US Sailing Championship. Her inspiration stemmed from a lifelong connection to Hobie Cats, dating back to 1976. Having competed in over 60 major Hobie Championships and carrying a cherished photo of Hobie Alter Sr. in her PFD pocket, Shiela was thrilled to seize the opportunity to host the 2024 USMC on Hobie 16s. With the backing of Paul Bell, Commodore of DCYC, her vision became a reality. 

Shiela’s primary goal for the event was to ensure that participants were provided with competitive racing and camaraderie. She hoped the sailors would find the event well-organized, with excellent race management and memorable social events. Shiela also stressed the importance of appreciating volunteers, enlisting their help early, and leveraging their strengths to make the event a success. Her favorite aspect of hosting was witnessing the joy and camaraderie among sailors, spectators, and volunteers.  

“The best ships are friendships,” she fondly noted. 


John Nekus: Steering the Committee 

John Nekus, Committee Chair of the US Sailing Multihull Committee, played a crucial role in the championship’s success. With a clear vision and strategic planning, John ensured that the event adhered to the highest standards of US Sailing. His leadership was instrumental in navigating the complexities of organizing a national championship, from coordinating with various stakeholders to overseeing the logistical aspects. 

John’s commitment to the sport and his deep understanding of the sailing community were evident in every decision he made. His ability to balance the competitive spirit of the championship with the need for a friendly and inclusive atmosphere was key to the event’s success. John’s efforts ensured that the 28 teams experienced a seamless and enjoyable competition. 

  A Weekend to Remember 

After three days of challenging racing, Francisco Figueroa and Faith Payne, of Puerto Rico, captured the Hobie Alter Cup by pulling away from the fleet on the third day and winning the final three races of the event to finish with 35 points. 

The 2024 US Multihull Championship at DCYC was a testament to the dedication and hard work of both Shiela Holmes and John Nekus. Their combined efforts created an unforgettable experience for all participants, fostering a sense of community and sportsmanship that transcended the competition. As the sailors battled the varying wind conditions, they also formed lasting friendships and unforgettable memories, embodying the true spirit of sailing. 

The event was not just about racing; it was about bringing people together, celebrating a shared passion, and creating a legacy of sportsmanship and excellence in the sailing world. Thanks to Shiela and John, the US Multihull Championship at DCYC will be remembered as a great success in the sailing community, setting a high standard for future events.