June 24th, 2019
The first ever Weta East Coast Championships were held in conjunction with the 62nd Annual Governor’s Cup, June 14-16 at Kerr Lake in North Carolina. Eleven Wetas planned to race with a total of 103 boats.
Carolina blue skies greeted the fleet as they arrived Thursday, rigged their boats, set up camp sites on the lakes edge and enjoyed their evening food and festivities. Linda Wright, John Redman and Dick Hitchcock all drove up from Florida while Mike Wright jetted in from Washington State to skipper one of the double handed teams.
On Friday, twenty sailors from other fleets got to experience the exhilaration of a Weta. Afterwards, the majority wanted to be contacted to skipper or crew in a future regatta. Fleet building at its finest! After getting some exercise on the water, sailors enjoyed the ice cream social and Roger Kitchen’s presentation about the development of the Weta, youth sailing and the state of the worldwide sailing culture.
On Saturday, racing began in 8-10 knots of wind. Since no throw outs were allowed, consistency was key. Weta sailors learned some important lessons. Always, always tape your side stays! Race 1, down came a mast. Race 2, down came a mast. Lesson number 2. Always, always read the sailing instructions. A sailor who was at the front of the pack, did not finish correctly while another sailor did 3 laps instead of 2 before finishing. On Sunday’s final day of racing, the wind was up with some close racing between boats. Seconds separated some of the finishers.
Throughout the weekend, Roger Kitchen was flying around the lake on a Weta like a kid at Disney. His smile was so big that it could be seen on shore.
After all the mayhem on the race course, results were all over the place. Congratulations to incognito “Tropical Green” for his singlehanded first place finish, which he attributes to Roger’s mojo on his main sail. Second was Alan Taylor who ended his last few races with all bullets. The best Father’s Day ever was for Eric and his daughter, Mattie Frank, the first place double handed team followed by Stephanie Taylor and Joel Blade in second. In addition, Donald Lynch received the coveted “Wetatude” Award for all his efforts helping sailors launch and retrieve their boats along with anything else that was needed. Although Donald had fun, he said the he plans to be on the water next time. Last but not least, Donald’s main squeeze, Sabra Gear received the “Rookie” Award for her very first regatta.
In the end, keys got locked in a truck, several misjudged the water depth while coming into the beach and jumped in over their head resulting in Wetas in the trees (No, we’re not in New Zealand.), circus acts performed by unintentionally doing the splits over the ama with a foot stuck in the mainsheet, one sailor who had to pee on her feet after getting bit by fire ants (Yes kids, this works better than ammonia!), an almost pop-up wedding (You read that right!), a flat tire, and enduring the yummy vending machine coffee on the trip home.
It’s unanimous! Everyone had a blast and plans to be back to sail on the fresh water of Kerr Lake on June 19-21, 2020. Hope you can join us!
By Stephanie Taylor
John Redman and Linda Wright
Mattie and Eric Frank
Day 2 racing
Incognito “Tropical Green”, Mattie and Eric Frank, Gizmo the Sailor Pup, Stephanie, Roger Kitchen, Alan Taylor