The Weta West Coast Champs, held on the 21st and 22nd of September out of Richmond Yacht Club was good fun, with great race management by the women's Byte fleet (and some good AC related banter!) on a tricky tidal and shifty race course and with a great although sometimes distracting view of the America's Cup racing.
Saturday dawned light and shifty and Sunday started the same, but the breeze built through the day. Everyone was sitting out on the ama upwind, but downwind the heavier crews found life more difficult in the lighter breezes.
Chris Kitchen dominated the racing, making most of his gains downwind and in the starts. Although the one time he went for a cheeky port tack start, Randy Smyth and Toni Sacco shut him down! Having experienced Chris' annoying downwind speed before, my personal theory is that Chris has sailed the Weta so long that he can steer the boat to its optimal speed without thinking about it, leaving him plenty of time to think about the shifts and tide. Chris' take on the regatta was all positive, he says "the buzz was just so fun, everyone was smiling and enjoying themselves, no matter how they ended up in the fleet".
Saturday night the keg was quickly dispatched and after an excellent dinner put on by Richmond Yacht Club most people drifted home to rest up for Sunday's racing (Weta and AC).
Sunday was windier than Saturday, and Jonathan Weston started to get his form going, taking a race off Chris and a second in the last race. But it wasn't enough to stop Chris taking out the regatta.
Robert Spencer, a keen Weta sailor who lives in Dubai and works for Emirates bought over some awesome prizes, a scale model of an Emirates 777 airplane and a pair of ETNZ binoculars, thank you Robert!
Along with Robert the regatta was very widely attended, Keith Rice came from New York state, Randy Smyth came from Florida and of course Chris came from New Zealand. It was also great to see some female representation with Ann-Marie Moore from San Francisco and Toni Sacco from New York state.
There are still a few Weta regattas coming up, look out for the Wetas at the HPDO in Long Island Sound in a couple of weeks. Also keep your eyes peeled for the video - screen shots below!
Photos by Jennifer Kroon - http://www.jenniferkroonphotography.com/2013/Weta-PCC-Sunday-digital/n-kDWbk/i-6nvqLwx