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Wetafest 2016

Wetafest 2016

The 2016 New Zealand Wetafest (Nationals) were held at the Torbay Sailing Club over the weekend.


The Fest is getting bigger every year with 21 boats registered this year, meaning the start line (and the beach) is starting to get crowded as the Weta is 3.5m's wide.


The Weta can be sailed either single or double handed with each option having advantages and disadvantages, and we had crews travelling from as far away as Timaru.


Following a 5am start to drive to Auckland, Saturday saw 4 races completed in 10 to 15 knots of wind, but dying out towards the end of the day, making for some challenging conditions with lots of holes and shifts. A one metre swell allowed the better sailors to catch the waves and surf downwind making for some fast sailing. I managed to finish the day with 2 seconds and a fourth and hopefully a discard-able 10th on the result sheet.


Racing on Sunday consisted of two long distance races, first Torbay to Arkles Bay, and following lunch, back again. Following a tight upwind battle between the 4 leading boats, I finally got in front with 400 metres to go, and with a lucky lift crossed the line 100 metres ahead of David Kennett.


Following lunch, it was a port tack downwind start and a kite run all the way back to Torbay and then the prize giving. Following a great start, I was leading everyone on a long port tack ride back to Torbay. David Kennett sailed a slightly faster and higher angle and slowly disappeared out to sea, while following a bad start Jon Bilger gybed into the shore and followed the beach along Long Bay. The final gybe into the finishing line revealed the shoreline paid off with Jon getting the win, I picked up a third and David finally came in with 8 boats in front of him.


Prize giving had David and I matched on 12 points, both with one win each, and I managed to retain the Weta National Champion Trophy with a better result in the final race.
Jon Bilger and his daughters Lucy and Stella took the two handed cup. Full results here.


A special thanks needs to go the Roger and Chris Kitchen for organising the event and developing a fantastic fun boat. There are now over 1200 sailing at various locations around the world


The World Masters Games are coming to Auckland in April 2017, and the Laser and the Weta have been chosen for two sailing classes for the games. The sailing is being held at Torbay Sailing Club. The Weta is the perfect class for us old guys with bad backs, as you don't need to hike as you do in a Laser.

Photos here.

Story: Phil Scherer

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