August 28th, 2020
7NEWS Wide Bay video: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=307395210590489
Another Queensland Weta Championship has been run and all would agree that this was one of the best. Bundaberg Sailing Club excelled as usual in spite of the global situation, the only casualty being our good mates in NSW unable to cross the border due to health directives.
13 boats turned up at the big grassy rigging area where competitors are welcome to camp on the grounds or stay in the many nearby facilities. It was great to see new members like Sunshine Coasters Bill Henebery and Sue McNamara in their new boat win the 2 up from the other local newcomers Paul and Victoria Hudson.
The 1 up class was fiercely fought with most sailors getting a run at the front of the fleet before the usual diehards pushed through for the heat wins. The gusty 10 to 25 knots south-westerly kept all on their toes and a few capsizes affected the final results. Rod Daley gained a double score and the Picklefork Award for a capsize in the ocean during one of Saturday’s blue water ocean races, as well as a river flip chock-top near the finish line on Sunday when the committee sensibly elected to run all the races in the relative safety of the river. This format kept the spectators, the drone operator, and the local news crew satisfied.
A side event could have been decided this weekend also with the new boat/vehicle/camping solutions arriving. President Todd McVey showed off his Ford monster truck with camping slide on towing his Weta, but best effort again would have to be awarded to Bill Henebery and his Landcruiser side slide rooftop Weta loader with luxury caravan in tow. My Kmart popup tent was embarrassingly hidden from view.
Qld Weta dealer Glenn Foley again dominated the fleet overall, taking advantage of a good age, physical fitness, and local knowledge. We did make him work hard though, with his son Mitchell, Doug Chetwynd, Hamish Urquhart, Todd McVey, and myself often ahead of him. The best over 70 master mariner prize went to David Vockler returning to the fleet after a stint sailing his Corsair Pulse.
Glenn managed to win 5 of the 6 heats, letting me get one under the radar, and in the last heat he and I blasted in to a rare dead heat after a 15-tack final windward duel. That duel highlighted the big talkfest item of the year, the new self-tacking jib kit. Many of the fleet have foregone a few percent of jib area to go to this new item for the extra convenience and I would even say fun that the kit has added to our sailing. We are all still sorting out the best sheeting method to suit individual needs, much like the tiller choice really, but all would agree that this new kit rules! In very gusty conditions it made things that little bit easier to do a quick tack, or a quick gybe, with much less speed loss than usual, and I think this has brought an added level of safety as well. The only downside is the possibility of getting in irons in a pre-start, but time and experience will sort that out.
A big thanks to all the Bundaberg locals who followed the tricky Covid guidelines and catered for us, ran the event, or hung around in a dinghy in case things turned pear shape. It really was nice to focus on some sailing and ignore the news for a few days.
By Peter Hackett
Photos Nicole Couley - Photo Album