At Weta we work hard to build grass roots sailing, so we made up what was possibly the first ever Rogaine Orienteering sailing race in an effort to get everyone involved. People had to find and take down codes that we had hidden around the harbour (they had a map with their location). But the key was that they could do it in any order that they wanted. After the le mans start they shot off in all directions with a lot of tactical plans. The kids really got into it, bossing their Dad’s around about where to go and getting to be properly involved in the race.
The next day we did sprint racing, we kept it short to keep the fleet together and make sure kids didn’t get bored. We had a huge range of ability, from people who have taught themselves to sail in the Weta, to Jon Bilger a 470 Olympian and his daughter Stella.
Chris followed in the chase boat giving advice and driving our awesome video man Josh. We almost had some Ben Ainslie moments with Chris’ keenness to get the shot, but luckily everyone was to chilled out for that!
With everyone complaining about dropping numbers, we are working to interest families and newbies with innovative and fun sailing. The Weta is a perfect boat for it, you can go fast with little effort or skill, but when you’re racing it tacks and gybes quickly (if you do it right), speed differences are subtle and the race is full on. Will Cobb (second place) and I used to race laser radial’s against each other. He’s now a 49er sailor and I sail F18’s and F16’s and we had some great tussles. Although you are going slower than a true high performance boat, it was all about picking the quick angle, picking the gybe to roll on, looking for shifts etc. Right down the fleet everyone had their battles, The Bilger’s and the Charlesworth’s battled it out for first double handed and the Tauranga local kids Dylan and Tom tried to outsmart Phil and Lawrence Schrerer, but Phil was to wiley for them – he told me he had to employ some dirty match racing tactics to take out 5th place on count back over Tom and Dylan!
Tauranga yacht club was a fantastic venue, they put on good food, cold beers and put up with our random antics. The sea breeze came in and built nicely both days. Not to mention we all got a surf in the morning, I got to go sailing all day and then the boys got a cheeky kite in the early evening. Wish we were doing it again this weekend…