by Paul White
Three Wetas took part in the 20Km Peter Loft Marathon race yesterday from Bayview in Pittwater, around Lion Island and back. Very testing tight reaching conditions in the strong 20 knot gusts. The top 3 in our class were all foiling Moths. But there were a mix of cats and fast monohulls too - many of whom capsized while the Wetas stayed upright.
Judicious use of the screecher between gusts helped me to get ahead and keep out of the wind holes and I managed to reach the Island at the same time as a Windrider Catamarn (with trap) - but he got away from me on the next section which was a slightly broader reach in 1m waves waves - but just too tight to use the kite in the strong wind and I was getting slammed through the waves and had one "submarine" moment! It was too gusty to cleat the main most of the way round and you had to continuously adjust the jib sheet settings too.
I managed to make up a few more places by avoiding the holes which others had sailed into using the kite to get out of trouble and while the full results weren't available when I left the club, I think I was in the top 15 to finish and the other two arrived a few minutes behind having had their own share of incidents on the way.
Peter Loft, a talented young sailor and member of BYRA was tragically killed in a plane accident in 1990. He appears on BYRA's honour board multiple times. In the 1986-87 season, Peter was the Manly Junior National Champion. The following season Peter switched to the 420 and proceeded to become the 420 National Champion that year and the next.
In Peter's honour, the Peter Loft Foundation was set up to help young sailors compete in national and international sailing regattas. Since the 1990s the marathon race has become an institution on Pittwater, and thousands of dollars have been passed on to the foundation.