The Hobie queen about her adventures in both large and very small boats - Pia L’Obry
We have had a chat with the Hobie queen Pia Lobry who, in addition to having spent nearly 30 years as an agent for Hobie Cat in Sweden, has also managed a Mini Transat project, as the first Swedish participant, as well as sailing expeditions to both Greenland and Antarctica
Many people probably know you as the Hobie queen with lots of adventures in both large and very small boats, tell us a little about your sailing background?
The funny thing is that I never sailed a dinghy growing up, but my interest in sailing started when I was in Vancouver, Canada as a nanny. I realized that sailing was more fun than looking after children and that's how it all started. When I came home, I started working as an agent for Hobie Cat and since then it has been various adventures in relation to sailing. I love being on the water and experiencing new things, but I am also quite competitive and want to do things as well as possible!
I also like to push the boundaries a bit and try new things. This has, among other things, led to me starting a raid race with Hobie Cats from Malmö to Stockholm, in connection with the opening of the Öresund Bridge in 2000. A concept that was then further developed into the Archipelago Raid.
When you think of Gotland Runt, what do you think of?
I think of all the people and the festivities, I think of the warm and blue nights and I think of the rather hairy situations that sometimes arise. I sailed the year when a trimaran capsized and we were very close to capsizing both forward and sideways on the trimaran I was on. Gotland Runt really has the legendary sound with me as with many others. Even though I was very early in sailing solo and double-handed offshore back in 2002, I have never actually competed in Gotland Runt double-handed. I have sailed full crew, Classic, girl's boat and trimaran, but never double-handed.
Do you have a special race that you would like to tell us about?
If there is a special memory that comes to mind, it is when I sailed with SCA's girls' boat in 2014. It was a Farr 45 and we sailed pretty well. Down by Hoburgen, there was very light wind and when we came around the cape from the west, there was a large cluster of boats parked in the calm. We managed to keep up the speed and slip past everyone close to shore. It felt like we overtook 100 boats in about an hour, a very memorable moment among my Gotland Runt memories. You should never give up, because right as it is, there will be a restart and then there is always a new chance!
Will you be sailing in 2023?
(Slightly quiet and hesitant) I have a few offers, but not really decided anything yet… laughter.
What does the rest of the sailing calendar look like in 2023? Something exciting going on?
I arrange sailing trips to Greece and Mauritius, so of course there will be sailing! We have loads of fun dinghies, Hobie Cat, RS and ILCA so there is something for everyone. We are also looking for people who can lead sailing activities down there, so young people who didn't get a job at Lökholmen or the harbor in Sandhamn are welcome to get in touch!
We thank Pia for the chat. Hope to see you at the start line for Gotland Runt this summer.