Ithaca Wētā Swarm 2023

September 08th, 2023

Location: Ithaca Yacht Club, Cayuga Lake, New York.

Event Organizers: Richard Stephens, Liz Singh, and Devin Van Zandt.

The Ithaca Yacht Club (IYC) hosted five Wētās and several Hobie catamarans for a wonderful and memorable weekend of sailing from August 25-27, 2023.

This weekend event brought together passionate sailors, families, and friends for a fantastic time on the serene waters of Cayuga Lake. Cayuga Lake is one of the eleven glacial Finger Lakes located in upstate New York. It is the longest of the Finger Lakes, stretching approximately 38 miles (61 kilometers) north to south.

Cayuga Lake is known for its breathtaking natural beauty, clear waters, and its close proximity to Cornell University (my Alma Mater!). With perfect weather conditions and several destination sails and social activities, it was a truly remarkable weekend.

Day 1 - Friday,  August 25, 2023: The weekend kicked off on Friday afternoon with a warm welcome from the Ithaca Yacht Club members Keith Rice and Liz Singh. After a late lunch, the sun came out and the wind came up for several hours to get in some perfect later afternoon sailing. Liz and Elissa got out early on their Wētā and got several hours of perfect sailing covering a lot of miles. Liz, a Laser sailor, is new to the Wētā and liked the comfort of the wide platform and the screecher off the wind. Dan Kisel on his Hobie 14, Devin Van Zandt and Kevin Novak on their Wētās, and Keith Rice on the club’s Hobie 14 got in some great sailing prior to the winds dying off around 6:30pm. During setup and after the sailing there was lots of sharing of stories and go-fast tips along with taking in the beautiful scenery.

Day 2 - Saturday, August 26, 2023: The weather in the morning on Saturday was warm with moderate 5-7 knot breezes. Five Wētās and three Hobie’s set off for Taughannock Falls State Park about five miles North of Ithaca Yacht Club for a wonderful barbeque prepared by Richard Stephens. Several of the Wētās were heavily packed with drinks and food to share at the Barbeque, fully testing their ability as food transport vehicles. The fleet had a decent breeze and made it to the state park in no time where there was a very nice beach available for all the boats. Richard Stephen’s brought all the fixings and worked tirelessly on the grill preparing a wonderful Indian Chicken with naan and hot dogs. Everyone had a great time getting to know one another better before setting off back to the club.

After all day on the water, several folks met at the Northstar Public House for dinner and some craft beer and to share sailing stories. Day 3 - Sunday, August 27, 2023: We originally had plans to get in some impromptu windward-leward racing, but instead decided to travel int the early morning to the south end of the lake to see the Cornell Sailing Center and Stewart park. We were greeted with a good Northwest breeze that had the Wētās flying our gennakers all the way down. Dane Kisel on his Hobie 14 made very good way going straight down the lake while the Wētās jibed all the way down.

Liz Singh’s husband took several photos from Stewart park of the fleet. After a quick upwind trek back to the club in growing winds, several of the fleet had a wonderful lunch on the porch at the yacht club and got to watch the big boat fleet compete in some very tricky winds. Everyone said their goodbyes and headed back to their homes after a wonderfully fun weekend of sailing and making new friends. A special thanks to Ithaca Yacht club, Richard Stephens, Liz Singh, and Keith Rice for being such wonderful hosts and making sure everyone had a great time!

By Devin Van Zandt

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