Thursday, 19 June 2014

Weta celebrates #1000

Congratulations to Roger and Chris Kitchen with a lot of hard work they have achieved something to be proud of.
Thanks to everyone who has contributed, you have made the Weta journey such good fun, we are looking forward to the next 1000!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

WetaFest 2014

WETAFEST - East Coast Champs

The second annual Weta Fest has successfully wrapped up at Fort Walton Yacht Club, Florida.This Weta Fest event has got great international traction in just its second year with numerous replica regattas being held throughout the world in each Weta community. The simple format involves all sailors including a coaching day, sprint races, long distance race and plenty of off-the-water social time to enjoy what the location has to offer. It's nothing new but is satisfies the demands of today's hectic timeshort lifestyle where you have to mix it up to maximise fun!

Sailors attended from all over the USA including California, Michigan, Texas and New York States, as well as Weta Marine representative Miranda Powrie from New Zealand. What was interesting in this event, given the cool light forecast, most of the fleet opted to sail single handed – the opposite to last year that saw sailors pairing up to manage the strong winds.Miranda held a coaching clinic on the Thursday to help the sailors further develop their sailing skills.

Day 1 Racing started off with a frosty, shifty 10-15 knot northerly. Atlanta's Mike Krantz launched off the line and won by a good margin. It must have been from all the practice he had at the A Class worlds in New Zealand last month. For the second race the breeze built to 20 knots. Miranda stuck it to the boys and led until the last leg when San Francisco's Jonathan Weston edged past her to take out the win.

In race 3 the wind completely dropped and swung to a 0-2 knot southerly. John 'Superman' Luzius got a jump on the fleet, only to have a sad America's Cup moment when the committee blew up the race. Something supernatural about what happens to 'Superman' at Weta fest (see for his story).

The committee persisted and did well to get a quick one lap race to finish off the day, Miranda Powrie held of Alabama's Jim Leonard to take out the race. As the sun set the fleet enjoyed kegs, rum and Mexican food sponsored by Salt Boards. Word is that the debrief had some heated discussions fuelled by margarita's on the finer points of how to master Weta sailing.

Day 2 started at Tommy Mattione's restaurant with the fleet enjoying the 'worlds best eggs benedict'. Lucky for those who chose the light option as the racing was light only reaching a peak gust of 4.4 knots! All accounts are that it was a good test for the brain to pick as many of the shifts as you could in the 5 sprint races. A day of snakes and ladders on the race course. Jim Leonard sailed super consistently to secure the overall lead with a day to spare. Mike Krantz did well to take out two races.

Day 3 The final day of Weta Fest was a destination race. Unfortunately the breeze did not repeat last years 25 knot ripper and only peaked at around 6 knots. The course was a figure of eight in the harbour and again Jim Leonard sailed well to win overall. This left the overall standings with Miranda in second place (seems to be a kiwi theme here....) and Atlantas Mike Krantz in third place.The fleet celebrated the regatta end at Fudpuckers – don't attempt to pronounce after their Margaritas.... with a give away of Ronstan Prizes. The hot pink gennaker was given away along with some kiwi flavoured special prizes to embrace the roots of the Weta.

A video of the event including drone footage will be released shortly! Big thanks to Ronstan for sponsoring yet another Weta regatta.The North American Weta fleet is highly active already early in the season with the St Francis Yacht Club Spring Dinghy regatta being sailed over the same weekend as Weta Fest, in San Francisco. The fleet there also battled light winds only racing on Saturday. Dave Berntsen won, with Christophe Allie in second and Marc Simmel in third. The fleet is set for a big season including events all around North America. 

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Get ready for Charlotte Harbor

CHARLOTTE HARBOR, FLA. - The 5th annual Charlotte Harbor Regatta has been set for Feb. 6-9, 2014. With more than 100 boats competing, the 2013 event became the largest regatta in the history of Charlotte Harbor. The word is out.

Featuring nightly regatta dinner parties, 10 one-design classes and competitors from around the country racing on three race circles, the Charlotte Harbor Regatta has quickly grown into one of the most talked-about regattas in the nation. Find out why SAIL magazine designated Charlotte Harbor as "one of the top 10 greatest places to sail in the United States."

Classes invited to compete in the 2014 regatta are the Sunfish, Laser, Flying Scot, Precision 15, 2.4mR, Hobie 16, Hobie Wave, F16, F18 and Weta trimaran. Other classes will be considered by request. Free beach, ramp and lift launching facilities, free or low-cost storage, affordable hotels and low registration fees make the Charlotte Harbor Regatta, "the fun, affordable regatta."

Since its inception in 2010, the National Association of Sports Commissions recognized the regatta as its "Best Local Event" and the Charlotte County Visitor and Convention Bureau honored regatta organizers with its 2010 "Event Development Award." The CHR board staged the International Association for Disabled Sailing's 2012 IFDS World Championships and the 2013 regatta featured the 64-boat strong Laser Masters Midwinters East. Charlotte Harbor has also played host to the 2012 2.4mR North Americans and the U.S. 2.4mR Class Association Nationals.

The 5th annual Charlotte Harbor Regatta will once again feature a wildly popular Pusser's Rum Beach Party at Port Charlotte Beach Park. Limited on-site tent camping is available.

For participant, media and sponsor inquiries about the 2014 Charlotte Harbor Regatta, e-mail Brian Gleason at or call 941-206-1133.

John Lange

Charlotte Harbor Sails, LLC
Tiki Water Sports - Charlotte Harbor
4760 Tamiami Trail
Charlotte Harbor, Fl 33980

(941) 979-9728

West Coast Champs 2013

The Weta West Coast Champs, held on the 21st and 22nd of September out of Richmond Yacht Club was good fun, with great race management by the women's Byte fleet (and some good AC related banter!) on a tricky tidal and shifty race course and with a great although sometimes distracting view of the America's Cup racing.

Saturday dawned light and shifty and Sunday started the same, but the breeze built through the day. Everyone was sitting out on the ama upwind, but downwind the heavier crews found life more difficult in the lighter breezes.

Chris Kitchen dominated the racing, making most of his gains downwind and in the starts. Although the one time he went for a cheeky port tack start, Randy Smyth and Toni Sacco shut him down! Having experienced Chris' annoying downwind speed before, my personal theory is that Chris has sailed the Weta so long that he can steer the boat to its optimal speed without thinking about it, leaving him plenty of time to think about the shifts and tide. Chris' take on the regatta was all positive, he says "the buzz was just so fun, everyone was smiling and enjoying themselves, no matter how they ended up in the fleet".

Saturday night the keg was quickly dispatched and after an excellent dinner put on by Richmond Yacht Club most people drifted home to rest up for Sunday's racing (Weta and AC).

Sunday was windier than Saturday, and Jonathan Weston started to get his form going, taking a race off Chris and a second in the last race. But it wasn't enough to stop Chris taking out the regatta.

Robert Spencer, a keen Weta sailor who lives in Dubai and works for Emirates bought over some awesome prizes, a scale model of an Emirates 777 airplane and a pair of ETNZ binoculars, thank you Robert!

Along with Robert the regatta was very widely attended, Keith Rice came from New York state, Randy Smyth came from Florida and of course Chris came from New Zealand. It was also great to see some female representation with Ann-Marie Moore from San Francisco and Toni Sacco from New York state.

There are still a few Weta regattas coming up, look out for the Wetas at the HPDO in Long Island Sound in a couple of weeks. Also keep your eyes peeled for the video - screen shots below!


Photos by Jennifer Kroon -

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Wine and Roses in SoCal

The weekend of August 17 & 18 four Wetas traveled to sunny Santa Barbara for the annual Wine & Roses regatta.  Along with 35 beach cats, Dean Daniels from San Francisco, Brian Grover of Encinitas (near San Diego) Paul Martson and Bob Shirley from Ventura enjoyed good weather, comradery, hospitality and competition.

The 8th month of the 2013 in SoCal has earned the nickname, “Fogust” and so it was Saturday morning.  The typical “morning sickness” south wind rippled the gray water as sailors fretted about the weak wind and lack of Sun.  The 1st start was postponed until noon at the skippers’ meeting, and then for another 15 minutes by the RC boat out on the water.

But, as the afternoon wore on the sun burned through, the wind filled in and once again Santa Barbara provided near perfect sailing conditions.  Although the first race was sailed in about 10 kts of wind, by the 3rd and 4th races we had our posteriors out on the amas and were freighting around the W/L racecourse in over 15 kts of wind. The wind did start to fade in the 5th race, tho.

Paul and Bob dueled for 1st and 2nd place in every race.  Some races were horizon jobs, others were very close.  At the end of the day, Bob had a tenuous one point lead over Paul.  Meanwhile, Dean and Brian were battling for 3rd and 4th.  Dean won several starts and was at the top of the fleet at the windward mark many times.  Brian has very little racing experience and so is learning about starts and tactics.  But, he has blazing boat speed and a big smile plastered on his face.  Soon, he will be a force to reckon with.  Between races, while most competitors were heaved to conserving energy, it was enjoyable watching Brian buzz back and forth while beam reaching with his gennaker.  He definitely enjoys his boat. 

Friday evening we enjoyed a Mexican buffet dinner at SBYC.  Paul and Dean bought a bunch of raffle tickets to benefit the “Make a Wish” foundation and ended up winning a boatload of swag.  Bob and Brian both scored very cool tech shirts.

Sunday morning was unusually sunny with light westerly winds. It bode well for racing if one ignored the fog lurking out in the channel.  Again the 1st start was set for noon.  Ominously, the fog crept in and the wind dropped at about 10:30.  As boats cast off the beach the ocean surface glassed off and the RC boat disappeared in the gray murk.  We found our way out to the start line but had to float around for another extended postponement.  Soon, tho, the fog lifted over Santa Barbara and the racecourse, and as we waited for the wind to fill in the sight of colorful sails floating in front of the coastal mountains was enhanced by three layers of clouds.  Down towards Summerland there was still some fog on the beach, puffy clouds backed up against the mountains, and thin, wispy high clouds streaked the blue sky in the high altitude.  The beauty of the moment was breathtaking.  Now if the wind would just fill in….

The RC finally did run 3 races and the wind did build to about 10 kts.  As usual in Santa Barbara, the right (beach) side of the course was favored.  Predictably, Bob always banged the right corner upwind and left corner downwind (same place on the course) with good results.  Paul made the 1st and 3rd races very close often being within 2 boat lengths of Bob many times ahead, but unable to beat him to the finish line.  At the end of the day, Dean placed 4th, Brian 3rd, Paul 2nd, and Bob 1st. Ironically, while the racers were on the beach disassembling the boats after the races, the wind filled in strong enough to power the local kiteboarders.  One guy actually was kiteboarding on a hydrofoil, which was truly amazing to watch.

This is the 3rd year that Wetas have competed in the Wine & Roses regatta.  All three years the regatta has been very fun with excellent sailing.  It is always the 3rd full weekend in August, so please, put it on your calendar and plan to attend in 2014.  4 boats was fun, but 14 would be much more fun.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Blasting in Ottawa!

photo credit: Kara Leslie Johnson

Last weekend the Ottawa Skiff & Cat Grand Prix was held at Nepean Sailing Club ( on Lac Deschenes, a wide spot on the Ottawa River. I'm the only Weta sailor at the club, only having purchased my boat this spring.

I was really pleased to have Richard Stephens and Keith Rice make the drive up from Ithaca NY, and bring a 3rd boat as well to loan to local sailor Jesse Henderson.

The weather pattern all weekend was an unusual breeze from the south - very gusty at times, and generally over 10 knots (sometimes over 20!). Everyone got out for some practice on Friday, with Jesse going out double-handed for his intro to the boat, as the breeze was really on at that time.

The Weta's were assigned Skiff B status, sharing the spot with 3 29ers. We rated Portsmouth 900, and the 29ers 924. We seemed to be a bit faster uphill, while they seemed to have the advantage off-wind. The first day was a surprise though as the 29ers had decided in advance to just do windward-leewards rather than the triangle-windward-leeward specified in the sailing instructions.

Ashore we wondered how the RC would make sense of it and score us all. Also on the water was Skiff A, which had 19 I14s and 49ers in it, and a Catamaran start of about a half dozen boats. The RC would frequently assign different windward marks to the different fleets to keep them separated and have the races end around the same time. We had to watch for a mark colour flag to be raised along with the fleet flag during the starting guns.

For the Sunday we decided to stay closer to the 29ers by also doing just windward-leewards. That kept the racing closer together between the two classes of boats, and the finishes were often mixed up with 29ers and Wetas interspersed. Around 12:30 pm the breeze really kicked in solidly over 20 knots with a top gust recorded at 29. After finishing that race it seemed obvious the RC wouldn't get all the upside down boats sorted out in time to squeeze in one more before the 2pm cut off, so we headed in. No Wetas capsized all weekend!

At awards the Weta's were given the Innovation Trophy (a flying pig) for bringing something new to the regatta. Lots of comments were heard about how much fun we seemed to be having out there. We ended up being scored separately from the 29ers, with Richard coming out on top and Keith 2nd.

Full results at:

The photographer has just posted pics from the event:

This is a good one of Keith blasting downwind while Richard is on his way back

And one of Richard and I crossing behind a 29er

A big thanks again for Richard and Keith making the drive. It would be wonderful to get a bigger turnout next year.

Weta 553
Fireball 14678
SRMax 121 (4sale)

Attention Weta No Cal Sailors!

Weta owner Jim Saarman has extended an invite to the Weta fleet to sail at the Inverness Yacht Club on lovely Tomales Bay the weekend of June 22-23. If you have not sailed here before the environment is beautiful and the IYC is a gem, 100 year clubhouse. If this sounds interesting, then read on, because it gets better...

The plan is to have a seminar in the AM to cover rigging, sailing techniques, etc. In the afternoon we can have a pursuit race up Tomales Bay to Hog Island and back. Sunday we can join the a scheduled IYC race on the bay. Fun casual sailing.

After racing on Sat night we can have BBQ, local oysters/steaks at the IYC or at Jims house (depending on how many participate).

There's accommodations on the bay. Beautiful beaches, hiking, food and a super relaxing location. I encourage this to be a fun "family" weekend.

If you have interest in this venue you need to email me ASAP so we can make plans. I guarantee that this will be a super fun family time to enjoy one of the nicest locations in No Cal with cool people on your Weta.

Please email me soon!



David Berntsen
Weta West
US West Coast Distributor

(415) 686 4583 M