Sydney Harbour Weta Challenge

Bill, Ian, Geoff, Peter, Paul & Hamish

February 12th, 2018

Six Wetas including Hamish and Bill from Queensland enjoyed fantastic conditions for a great events on the harbour, organised by Woollahra Sailing Club, with a mixture of short and longer races - and a bonus washing machine on day one!

The first two races on Saturday helped the visitors to find the marks which had been laid that morning and in the light conditions. Paul led at the windward mark by sailing higher than everyone else as well as catching the wake from a powerboat which took him to the layline, closely followed by Peter Martin who was sailing his usual fast and free technique which wasn't so effective in the 12 knot choppy conditions of the first lap. But as the wind increased Peter started to close and in trying to cover him, Paul made a bad gybe and Peter managed to get past on the line.

Race two was closer but Paul tacked off after being blocked at the start and tried to follow Hamish up the right side of the course - which looked good initially but the left was better as there was lots of sailboat traffic with spinnakers on the right so it finished with Peter, followed by Ian, Hamish and Paul with Geoff and Bill bringing up the rear.

The final race on day one was part one of the Three Island Challenge around Shark, Clark and Fort Denison islands. It started with a tight reach to a laid mark in Rose Bay and Ian who was in the lead went around the mark the wrong way so in undoing his error, held up Geoff and Paul, however was able to nip inside. Peter was now in the lead closely followed by Ian and Paul until Paul's tiller extension came off and he was heading to Clark Island, he managed to fix it and carry on chasing after Hamish and Geoff who had got past. The leaders were close together as they rounded the Fort with a gap back to Hamish and Geoff with Paul still playing catchup.

The next obstacle was the wind shadow of Clark Island which the leaders avoided by going wide, but as a local, Paul knew that if you passed close to the Island there was a backwind eddy which could push you through the calm section faster than going wide and he used this to clear the island at the same time as Geoff and Hamish. Hamish and Paul stayed on the right while Geoff tacked early towards Bradley's Head. Paul hung on after Hanish tacked and was rewarded with a lift and some extra pressure in Double Bay. Meanwhile Ian had managed to get ahead of Peter in the strengthening breeze and took the win in a repeat of the drag race around the mark in Rose Bay and back to the finish in a cloud of spray with Peter in close pursuit. Paul had also crossed the harbour after the others and judged the layline perfectly for the Shark Island lighthouse ahead of Geoff and take third place on a thrilling spray-filled reach to the finish.

Sunday had a repeat of the short races with an earlier start but thankfully less chop and Peter led all three races from Ian. The start of the long race had a slightly lighter breeze and the angle meant that gennakers were deployed by those who could hang on. Peter and Ian were neck-and-neck again with Paul not far behind but the leaders dropped Paul when he gybed away from the calm area behind Bradley's Head while the leaders caught a gust to the layline. This enabled Hamish to get past and he was closely followed by Paul around Fort Denison and upwind. The freshening wind meant that Hamish was finding it tough as Paul powered through by sitting on the floats for increased leverage and he used his reverse eddy shortcut to get further ahead as they passed behind Clark Island.

Peter hung on for the finish ahead of Ian with Paul, Hamish, Geoff and Bill not far behind.
Thanks to all at Woollahra Sailing Club for organising the event and providing prizes.

RaceQs 3D Replay - Day 1Day 2
Results here

By Paul White

Peter Martin

Weta Owners

We’d love to hear from you. Send us your stories and photos.

Contact Weta