A Swell Time at NZ WetaFest 2018

March 28th, 2018

Last weekend 16 Weta sailors both single and double handed gathered at the Mercury Bay Boating Club in Whitianga.

The venue was just great with the club perched right on Buffalo Beach. There was a good swell running, so many launched 100m down the beach in more friendly surf. Three Weta were launched in front of the club to provide some entertainment. One was successful, another only just successful which included a backward surf on the third set and the last was Weta heroically skippered by our Kerikeri guru…well he did a spectacular backward flip on the last set. As each one of the 6 stitches were inserted in his split melon he reflected on launching 101. In our eyes Chis is a champion whichever way up he chooses to sail.

With 15 knots of breeze, a substantial swell and strong tidal flow - it provided a great day of tactical sailing. The small pink top mark (now you see it, now you don’t) was a special touch from MBBC which added to the event.

The Buffalo Beach Flyby was a quick reach down the bay with the swells providing a good test of boat handling. In the second lap the sailors looked marginally more coordinated. This was followed by some windward/leeward races. Racing was keen with 5 sailors rising from the pack, interrupted briefly by unaccountable lapses in judgement. It was great to see the double handed team of Brent and Serena cleaning out the single handers in a race. Ian, Phil and David showed skill mastering the conditions with some top placing. Our legendary Olympian and fisherman Rex showed the other sailors how to put a series together. He momentarily forgot he was not out fishing when he was caught doing some trawling with the top mark. We are very privileged to have Rex sailing with us showing that champions are made through hard work and determination.

It was very generous of Graeme the MBBC resident Weta sailor to show the Aucklander's the holes on the course by landing in them.

Paula and Dave showed creativity by overshooting the top mark and finding instead a picnic table on Flaxmill beach. The hamper and liquid refreshments landed safely. They then ruled themselves out of the Mercury Bay Scenic Adventures due to double vision.

The Mercury Bay Scenic Adventures took the Weta over to the river mouth, up to Cooks Beach then a reach back to the Club house. A big day if you were a pensioner. 

The Saturday night seafood BBQ was outstanding…congratulations to MBBC!!

On Sunday sailors left the shore in glassy conditions but there was a good swell.  Unfortunately for one squeamish sailor the double handed Weta became single.

A 5-6 knot breeze kicked in and slowly built up making for some excellent tactical sailing. It was great to see our stitched up, split melon Paralympian Chris back on his green turtle ready to do some more damage in the racing this time.

WetaFest was sailed in excellent spirit if you take out incidents of port/starboard, buoy room and shifting marks. Many made marked improvements and everyone had a great weekend of sailing.The prize giving was generously sponsored by The Lost Spring. What a great place! Thanks to MBBC for hosting the event. They have a talented group of sailors who gave freely of their time and efforts. A special thanks to Commodore Chris.

By Roger Kitchen

Race results

Race results 2

Photos Irene Kitchen

Buffalo Beach, Whitianga

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