From garage project to transforming
the sailing industry
It all started as a scribble on a school note pad for Roger Kitchen. After spending hundreds of hours on the water teaching kids to sail in boats that were slow, too small and tricky to sail, Roger thought there must be a better way.
Roger and son Chris, researched around the world for a boat that was simple to teach in but still fast and exciting. No one else seemed to have the answer, so in typical kiwi style they thought, bugger it, we’ll just build one ourselves. So the garage was cleared out and the help of a few experts enlisted (Tim Clissold of TC designs did the original design) and the rest is history.
The Wētā trimaran is heralded by many in the industry as a breath of fresh air in the stagnant small boat sailing arena. Wētā brings a burst of energy and excitement to sailing clubs, schools and boating families.
Today there are over 1400 Wētā trimarans sailing the waters in 24 different countries around the world and the boat has been recognized by winning the Sailing World International Boat of the Year Award in 2010.
“We want Wētā to be known as the boat that has transformed the dinghy sailing industry from slow and boring, to fast, easy and exhilarating fun.”
Wētā are going all guns blazing to make people aware that there is a better way to learn to sail and to reignite a passion that you are never too young or too old to have fun sailing.
Roger’s dream for the future is there are kids of all ages, all around the world, scribbling pictures of the Wētā on their school or office pads, as they daydream about the exhilarating experience of sailing a Wētā.
He has built a variety of boats. He has also been very involved with local sailing clubs in both administration and coaching. For 3 years he was Chairman of the Yachting New Zealand Junior and Youth Committee which controls all recreational and high performance youth sailing in New Zealand.
Chris has a Mechanical Engineering degree from Auckland University and has worked for short periods as an engineer. He has sailed for 19 years competing in many international regattas in a wide range of classes. He is a qualified coach with Yachting New Zealand and has experience coaching New Zealand sailors at worlds regattas. Currently he is match racing and sailing 18’ skiffs.