New foam Weta - Peter Hackett

May 17th, 2018

My first foray into Weta-World was with an early model #177 boat I got at the right price, which was well set up with the carbon bow protection and even a rare outboard bracket. I am happy to admit that from the first sail I was really addicted to these little definitive “bang for your buck” boats. I have spent too many years racing all sorts of boats so told all my friends that this was my little cruiser, and proceeded to sail at least twice a week riding waves all over Moreton Bay. 

A few months later a mate of mine encouraged me to join in for my first regatta at Lake Cootharaba with 11 other of the most wonderful sailors on our own start. Bang, I was hooked. 

The racing was so close; it was like being in lasers again without the bucket out the back, and without the spinal pain. I managed a few glimpses of brilliance over that weekend to encourage me to look seriously at the new foam boats coming out of the factory. Although nearly twice the cost of a good used boat, decided I was getting a lot of mileage out of #177, so placed an order for #1184. 

Many have asked me for opinions on the improvements and it is not hard to argue that in my boats different by 10 years, the slightly lighter hulls, the better North Sails, the better hull joins, and better foils (I started with a short centreboard and opti-yukki-rudder), the improvements are certainly worth the dollars. Cruising will be little different, and racing, well….

Let me put it this way, the boat feels crisper, not necessarily faster but just crisper…in fact, noisier from the bashing of the water as you jump on the plane upwind.

A few weeks back in a 25 knot Easter regatta, it did not matter how new the boat was. You could get to the front few with a good start and good mark roundings. You would drop back a few places with a bad (greedy because I left it too late) furl at the bottom mark. You could crawl back to the front with a few good tacks, and one good windshift on top of that got me a heat win. Yeehah!!! 

The time I most love my newer boat is when pulling the whole shebang back up the ramp after a great day’s sailing. The new girl is just a little easier to pull. 

The kiwis running this show deserve a big pat on the back because their carefully introduced improvements have kept these boats feeling like true one-designs, and I look forward to the next few seasons with glee. 

By Peter Hackett 

Weta #1184

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