NZ WetaFest 2016 - A World Masters Games Warm Up

March 21st, 2016

With just over one year to go until the World Masters Games, Weta sailors have had their first regatta using the WMG format of sprint and destination races.

The Torbay Sailing Club have also started their preparation by embarking on building a magnificent new club house to host the event.Torbay certainly know how to run regattas with their highly successful Sir Peter Blake Regatta.

Last weekend 30 Weta sailors had a weekend of coaching and racing in perfect sailing conditions.

In the morning Weta sailors had quality coaching from 2 champion 18 skiff sailors including some practice starts to get used to the racing format. The sailors ranged from beginners to national champions. Doug Elder from the WMG organising committee was there to watch first hand how the nimble Weta coped with the short sprint races and to confirm the racing format.  In 15 - 18 knots of onshore breeze there was plenty of action when the single handed Weta doused their gennakers at
the bottom mark. The 4 sprint races were completed in around 20 minutes for each race.

In the WMG there will be 2 divisions - single handed and double handed. You need to be over the age of 35 to enter and there are 5 age divisions from 35 to 75+.

The destination race from Torbay to Arkles Bay in 4 – 7 knots was very tactical with the first boat arriving in 1 hour. A gourmet lunch was provided and there was much discussion on the return tactics. As expected the asymmetric gennakers proved to be a great tactical test as they slid down the East Coast Bays on an outgoing tide.

Jon and Lucy Bilger took out the overall title and were also the first double handed. Phil Scherer was the winner of the single handed title. The competition was close all through the fleet.  

There is a lot of interest in this event as the Weta is very easy to sail especially in fresh conditions.  With the different age groups and the single/double handed options everyone has a good chance of a very close competition. There are 30 charter boats available for overseas Weta sailors. NZ Weta owners are now planning their training programmes as this is such a unique opportunity to take part in an international competition on their home waters. It is an open entry event so all Weta sailors can compete.

Race Results

By Roger Kitchen

Photos Luis Kitchen (Day 1) & Josh McCormack (Day 2)

Huge thanks to everyone who helped us run WetaFest & predict wind for the subscription prizes!


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