October 18th, 2022
Having enjoyed and learned so much from sailing with the Northern Wētā skippers in the 2020 Sprints regatta I was keen to get to this next one (2021 was cancelled due to Covid).
We all arrived and rigged on Friday with twelve races for each class over Saturday and Sunday. My thanks to the Bruce who again welcomed us into his back lawn for rigging and launching. You know you’re in Rotorua when you’re warned about a hot mud zone at one end around the water’s edge (Terry later confirmed it was indeed hot!).
The racing format was the same... it’s all about maximising sailing time across both days with a rapid format: 15 to 20 minute target race times, three minute countdown, resolve any issues on the water with a 270 penalty turn.
Organisers did a great job managing 60 boats through 72 races across seven classes in mostly light and variable lake conditions that meant they also had a few course re-sets to juggle. Classes were; A class(12 off), Farr 3.7(9), Lasers(15), OK dinghy(8), Paper Tiger((2), Wētā (6) and Zephyr (8).
The Wētā group had our usual close racing with most of us taking the lead at some point. Day one was fickle with four knots and big wind shifts and the occasional freshening puff to maybe 10 knots. Whoever found the breeze got ahead and we had to pay attention to make the most of what breeze we had. Day two was a little better, and worse... with some great periods of 10 to 12 knots and powered sailing on flat water... but then also dropping off to absolute zero at times.
Most of us won or came close at some point in the regatta while we also had moments we’d prefer to forget ...Terry reminded me the prod wasn’t for prodding when I completely fouled him at the first mark in the first race... I lost my breeze just as he found his and I then certainly didn’t have room to clear ahead...First penalty turn :-/ . Mike’s best start was pulled after the wind died and the race was re-started. Ian was caught out a long way from the start after a recall changed the start sequence. Terry was robbed of a win right near the end after being wind shadowed by boats from another race. I’m sure Roger was distracted by his colour scheme (Kermit green boat with right orange gennaker) and I saw Alex parked in his own special hole over on the right-hand side of the course.
The highlight for me was connecting again with Roger and the Northland and Auckland Wētā group and to also meet Vicky and Jean through the after sailing debriefs. This is a great bunch and another example of the positive vibe right across the Wētā community. There was a lot of discussion about the merit of the larger square-top versus pinhead main in these conditions but I believe my results came down to a combination of having learned how to use the self-tacking jib properly, being familiar with lake sailing and having been lucky with the breeze. I’m looking forward to sailing with this group again at the Wētāfest in Torbay in March.
Many thanks to the Rotorua Yacht club for organising another amazing regatta, to Bruce who opened up his back yard to double the available rigging/launching area.
By Simon Boys
Photos Rotorua Yacht club