Weta Swarm at Weston Sailing Club

Hats off to Pete Cailes for having the tenacity to go ahead with the event and Weston Sailing Club for adapting the club facilities and their organisation so we could hold the event safely in these Covid times.

Five intrepid sailors made the journey from various parts of the country with Patrick Lyon making the trip down from East Yorkshire, Tim Jeremy, a new owner this season having bought Pete’s old boat, travelling from New Quay in West Wales, John Watts from West Wittering , Chris Hodge from Shoreham and Pete Cailes from the other side of the Solent. Four of us sailed single handed and Pete had Julian as his crew who was fairly new to sailing but it is always nice to see some new faces in the class.

Glorious sunny weather greeted us on Saturday morning with a moderate to fresh northerly breeze. Because of the early morning tides there was not enough time to hold any racing on Saturday but for those who had arrived on Friday evening or early enough on Saturday morning there was just time to rig the boats and go for a sail to test the water so to speak. What a joy to be out on the Solent in those conditions, benign enough inshore for a nice easy launch but breezy enough offshore to keep it “interesting” on a 3 sail reach. Back to shore before the water disappeared, picnic lunch and we helped the later arrivals with rigging their boats. You would think that extra hands would reduce the time it takes to rig a Weta but we spent so much time chatting it took twice as long. In the evening Anna, Pete’s daughter, very kindly did a barbeque for us all, what could be nicer on a warm summer’s evening over looking the Solent with a beer or 2, putting the world to rights and talking Wetas.

On Sunday morning the wind was still a moderate north easterly coming over the top of the trees from onshore as we mustered for our first race with the rest of the club racers though we were the last group to go at 10:15. Fluky winds at the start made it difficult to get to the line never mind pick your lane but once we had cleared the trees and the headland we were hit by the wind and lifted up to the first mark. We were accompanied by a well sailed Aero 7 and Laser but once we rounded the mark we were able to fly our gennaker’s on a fine reach to the next mark and leave them behind. It was then a jibe onto a broad reach on what was probably the windiest part of the course where you had to bear away in the gusts, come up in the lulls to get up to the mark and navigate a wind against tide chop. This is where you start running out of hands. It was then a beat to the rounding mark before tacking in fluky winds, riddled with holes, to the line. There were 3 back to back races on the same course with 2 to 3 laps per race in lovely sunny conditions before we had to get off the water. I know Chris Hodge had a bit of a nightmarish day with him being hooted as he crossed the line on the first race and thought he had finished when he still had another lap to go. He also had a close encounter a lady when he “flew” his windward ama over the transom of her boat. Fortunately, she had a central main sheeting system so no entanglement and she seemed to take it in good spirit but I think Chris was shaken by events as he was only too aware of what could have happened. That evening we had a lovely meal in the local pub discussing the day’s events.

Unfortunately, the wind didn’t come out to play on Monday so we decided to pack up early, say our goodbyes and head off home after what was a great weekend. Thank you to Pete and Weston Sailing Club for putting on a great event and the results below are just based on Sunday’s 3 races:

  1. Patrick Lyon
  2. Tim Jeremy
  3. John Watts
  4. Chris Hodge
  5. Pete Cailes & Julian