sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : Sail-World Boat Test: Flying the fabulous Weta
Sail-World Boat Test: Flying the fabulous Weta


'Venetian blinding in a Weta - she is remarkably close winded in this mode - Weta Boat test - May 2010'    .    Click Here to view large photo

Sail-World's Richard Gladwell test drives the Weta trimaran off Auckland's Takapuna Beach, and gives his impression of the boat which won the prestigious sailing World 'Dinghy of the Year' Award for 2010:

Over the past 30 or so years there have been several seminal boats and designs.

Bruce Kirby did it with the Laser, Hoyle Schwietzer with the Winsurfer, Hobie Alter with the Hobie 16, and Frank Bethwaite did it with the 29er.

And now, Roger and Chris Kitchen and the team at Wetamarine have done it with the Weta.

One way to judge a boat is by its uses. The Weta just oozes uses.

The Weta all folded up and ready to go - she takes up less space than a small car - making garaging simple. Weta Boat test - May 2010 -  .. .   Click Here to view large photo
It was Frank Bethwaite who explained the 'uses' concept to us where a design appeals to a much wider group than just its target group, often because of a simple design feature that is very effective and appealing.

Take the Laser, the simple one design is everything from a beach sailer to an Olympic class, sailed by everyone from juniors to masters – all of whom think of the design as 'their' boat.

A simple question and answer sums up the situation. 'How many Wetas have you built, Roger?' 'About 400', he replies. 'How many on order?' 'About 200, in the next 12 months' he replies equally nonchalantly.

Clearly Wetamarine have a supply problem rather than a marketing problem. And, with those sort of numbers the Weta has certainly made an impact on a lot of sailors.

The conversation turns to who is sailing it and where it is sailed.

Chris Kitchen fits the slim wave piercing ama into its socket on the main hull - Weta Boat test - May 2010 -  .. .   Click Here to view large photo
In San Francisco the Weta seems to be used as a single hander. In the Caribbean it is a resort boat, there are fleets in all the continents – Asia, Europe, Africa, Oceania, North and South America. 'There is quite a lot of destination sailing in France', says Roger, 'where fleets of Weta do three day camping hops down the coast. And of course there are more intrepid Weta sailors doing the 300km Everglades Challenge.'

Originally conceived by Roger and Chris Kitchen, the Weta was three years in protoype development.

Roger was previously a mathematics teacher who has been involved in small yachts as a pastime for many years, including a management role with Yachting NZ. He's always had a passion for small sailboats and has built a number of dinghies including a 3.7, Firebird, and a P-class. Like many Kiwis, fiddling around with boats comes very naturally to him.

Son, Chris was introduced to sailing at the age of 5 as a crew in Roger’s Firebird. As soon as he was big enough to sail an Optimist he started racing and has never looked back.

Gybing the Weta isn’t difficult as it is made to look - and best of all there is no boom to hit you on the head - Weta Boat test - May 2010 -  .. .  
He progressed through the classes – Optimist, P-class, Starling, Laser competing in many international yachting regattas including winning a Silver Medal at the 2001 ISAF Youth Worlds as well as representing NZ in a number of world regattas. Currently Chris is sailing in the 18ft skiff class.

He picked up an engineering degree BE (with First Class honours) along the way, which shows in the Weta.

There is a diverse and interesting mix of thinking and experiences behind the Weta - perhaps explaining her appeal to a wide range of sailors.

'We came up with a multihull concept and commissioned several companies to design key components', explains Roger. 'They included TC Design, Graeme Robbins Sails, Fyfe Sails, C-Tech and our Chinese manufacturers Land & Ocean and Gaastra.'

'There are also a bunch of top Kiwi Olympic, America's Cup and world champion sailors who have given freely of their time and expertise to assist in the development of the Weta', adds Chris.

Originally designed as a safe yacht for school children to learn to sail in, the Weta is only just slipping into that use in New Zealand. Yachting New Zealand have purchased three for their 'Sailing - Have A Go' program, which each year gives hundreds of school children, their first sailing experience.

Back in the days when your humble scribe used to teach Learn to Sail, and Waterwise (a six lesson sailing experience program), we’d have killed to get our hands on the Weta.

It’s everything you need to get kids enthused about sailing – easy to rig, hot looks, goes fast, stable, no boom, plenty of sails – so there is something for everyone to do. Stable, and oh so forgiving.

The Weta features a very elegant sail plan - which makes her a joy to sail - Weta Boat test - May 2010 -  .. .  
Takes a load too. Chris tells us that 14 kids is the record. But three or four would be just fine – and a much better sailing experience for them than being in Optimists and chased around by a coach boat trying to instruct.

The Weta all quickly folds away into a space smaller than a car – so storage is no problem.

We picked a good day for our boat test (thanks to PredictWind). A nice warm autumn day with a light sea breeze pushing onto Takapuna Beach.

Roger and Chris Kitchen rigged the boat, detaching the floats from their position on the trailer, slotting the cross beams into sockets in the centre hull, a bit of quick lashing and the whole 'platform' was together.

The two piece carbon mast was quickly together, and in place with three stays.

Every part on the boat is manufactured in a single factory China, except the sails – which are from Gaastra – also in China.

Rigging is even simpler than the platform assembly, the only trick being to make sure the screecher is furled tight.

Weighing in at 125kgs all up, the Weta is easily launched off the trailer

We’ve got the screecher setting within the first 20 metres, and start looking for a bit of kick in the breeze, which is still only around six knots.

Even so the Weta seems to get along all right.

Soon the breeze picks up to eight knots or so and we are away. Out on the edge of the platform, hanging over the windward float and feeling like we have a bit of pace.

Sailing the Weta with three sheets and just two hands is no problem. With the jib and main cleated off, it is a simple matter to run the screecher sheet in one hand and the tiller in the other.

As we mentioned earlier the Weta is a very forgiving boat, if you need a second hand – it’s no problem to drop the tiller for a few seconds and fix the sheets or whatever.

Weta flies in the breeze. Image by www.bayshots.com -  .. .   Click Here to view large photo

With the screecher drawing the Weta sails at a surprisingly high angle – not close hauled but well above a beam reach. Tacking and gybing, with three sails set, is not a problem – and the Weta is very forgiving of slow crew work.

With the breeze building to about 8-10 knots we get our best sail of the day on a tight reach, with the Weta reasonably pressed. There is no tendency to trip over the leeward hull. They’re wave piercing and everything just loads up nicely. The centre hull lifts nicely. With the screecher pulling hard there is a little leeward helm, but no more than you’d expect, and certainly no tendency to bear off and cause serious grief.

Upwind the Weta feels reasonably close winded. The sails are very well cut and the rig really works well. It is easier to sail off the jib tell tales than the feel of the helm, which is very neutral – but maybe that is a multihull thing.


Ashore Roger and Chris unrig, while the questions flow.

Priced at a little more than a Laser, Roger Kitchen explains that the need to keep costs under control was behind the move to manufacture in China. And as demand has increased it has become more cost-effective to manufacture in their own factory – down to spinning their own carbon tube and making even the smallest of fittings.

Something you definitely can’t do in the Weta! -  © Richard Gladwell   Click Here to view large photo
He points to a small guide at the entrance to the sail track on the mast. 'When we imported those – the price was $15 each. When we made them ourselves the cost dropped to 15c'

That philosophy has allowed Chris and Roger Kitchen to use a lot of carbon in the Weta. But they readily admit the Weta could be 20kgs lighter. 'We did the prototypes at that weight, 'Roger explains. 'And then we put in more material to beef up the boat.'

They’ve certainly done that, with a centre girder running the length of the main hull to maintain stiffness. The floats have deck to keel tubes set into them, into which the platform tubes are inserted, so there is no chance of leaks, or the platform working.

When sailing the structure all feels very stiff and tight. Exceptional when you consider that is this is the demonstration boat which has been hammered for 12 months or more – yet still feels like new.

But all good things have to come to an end, and as the judges in the prestigious US sailing magazine, Sailing World, noted when awarding the Weta their 'Dinghy of the Year' award for 2010: 'In fact, nothing about the Weta disappointed, except, of course, having to hand it back.'

We couldn’t agree more.

For more information on the Weta see the website www.wetamarine.com

To read what others are saying about the Weta click here


Whooping along in the Weta in just six knots or so of breeze - The hard part is giving it back - Weta Boat test - May 2010 -  .. .  



by Richard Gladwell

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=69469

7:52 PM Fri 14 May 2010GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.


Related News Stories:

07 Nov 2013  NZ Weta Sailing Update - WetaFest and Fun sailing at Torbay
12 Oct 2013  Fun times at inaugural Weta New South Wales Championship + Video
24 Sep 2013  Chris Kitchen takes out San Francisco West Coast Weta Championships
22 Sep 2013  Weta West Coast Championships, San Francisco - Video Preview
21 Sep 2013  Totally Dinghy Regatta Report - Sept 14-15 Richmond Yacht Club, CA
11 Sep 2013  Weta West Coast USA champs begin in two weeks at Richmond
21 Aug 2013  Wetas at Wine and Roses Regatta, Santa Barbara Yacht Club
06 Aug 2013  What to do with a Weta in the Winter? Go solo surfing - Video
24 Jul 2013  Awesome Weta West Coast USA Championships set for San Francisco
22 Mar 2010  Aussie Weta sailors complete 350km voyage off North Queensland coast
MORE STORIES ...







News - USA and the World

Team Vestas Wind has been recovered from a reef off the Cargados Carajos Shoals, 200nm from Mauritius. Shane Smart was sent to cover the recovery operation and filed these images ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Team Vestas Wind recovered from reef by Sail-World.com/nz and Volvo OR Media
The Volvo65, Team Vestas Wind has been recovered from a reef off St Brandon, on the Cargados Carajos Shoals, 200nm from Mauritius. the yacht has been hoisted aboard a Maersk shipping line vessel, after being dragged over the reef and into the lagoon on the Cargados Carajos Shoals, 200nm from Mauritius. ... [more]  

Andrea Francolini was on the water with the US supermaxi, RIO 100 during offshore training session before the Boxing Day Rolex Sydney to Hobart race, and provided this gallery of images. ... [more]  

The 'super-bacteria' are usually found in hospital waste and produce an enzyme, KPC, resistant to antibiotics. Researchers found the bacteria in samples taken from Flamengo beach. Nearly 70% of sewage in Rio - a city of some 10 million people - is spilled raw into the waters of Guanabara Bay. The bacteria were found in samples taken from several locations along the Carioca river. ... [more]  

The eventful sailing summer will carry on into 2015. In addition to the established annual regatta events, we will see 2015 the J/80 World Championships a week after Kieler Woche, to be followed by the F18 Worlds. Die Notices of Race for YES, Kieler Woche, the J/80 Worlds and F18 Worlds are now accessible online. ... [more]  

RORC Transatlantic 2014 Race Lanzarote-Grenada: An international fleet of yachts took part, with crew from at least 12 different countries racing magnificent Maxis, crewed by top professional sailors, as well as production yachts crewed by friends and family. For all the yachts, the adventure started long before the start line. ... [more]  

Jeremy Pilkington's Baltic 78, Lupa of London was announced as the first winner of the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy with the best elapsed time under IRC. Class winners received an engraved crystal decanter and all competitors present received a special edition bottle of Westerhall Plantation Rum, with the insignia of the RORC Transatlantic Race. ... [more]  

Qingdao, venue of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition, will host some of the world’s finest sailors for the third consecutive year from 14-20 September 2015 with the 2016 dates to be confirmed. Spots for the 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Final, which will be held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates from 27 October to 1 November 2015, will be at stake as well as World Cup bragging rights. ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - A bashing, crashing and punishing first night at sea could well decide the outcome in the race for line honours in this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart race. ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - The 117 yachts in the Rolex Sydney Hobart will face an early test this year, with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecasting a sharp 20 to 25 knot southerly change on Boxing Day afternoon not long after the start. ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Just a few days out from Boxing Day and the buzz around the docks of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia is that Ray Roberts is looking like a very good bet to win this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart. ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - There’s no doubt the returned soldiers aboard Spirit of Mateship and Southern Excellence II are the kind of blokes you want around if things went horribly wrong – and for that matter, you want them for the good stuff too – because they are top blokes. ... [more]  

Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series: This event, which kick starts the Caribbean race season, is proving to be a huge attraction for overseas entries with over 20 already signed and more than 50 boats expected overall. One of the biggest draws is the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race (21 January), a 60 nautical mile ocean race round the island. There are currently 14 established records in this race. ... [more]  

Barcelona World Race: The challenges of racing as a duo, not just seeking to perform at the highest level over a period of 90 to 100 days but actually co-habiting in a small, confined space whilst also experiencing extremes of discomfort – wet, damp, tired, hot, cold, emotional and physical. Here Ken Way gives an insight into how he helps the relationship between the two skippers work. ... [more]  

Comanche’s owner, Jim Clark concedes that a Rolex Sydney Hobart isn’t the ideal first race for such a big, complex machine, but: 'I am married to an Australian, and I’ve seen the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart a number of times. ... [more]  

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Organizers of the St. Thomas International Regatta are proud to announce that Cruzan Rum and Presidente beer, distributed by Glazer’s Premier Distributors, LLC, will provide major sponsorship in support for the 2015 regatta. ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Warwick Sherman never really wanted to do the Rolex Sydney Hobart, he’d done plenty of ocean racing, but bashing his way across Bass Strait to get to Tasmania just didn't grab him. Perversely, all that changed when he was diagnosed with cancer. ... [more]  

The second stage of the Soto 40 South American Tour is coming up next and will be held in Algarrobo, Chile from 24 - 31 January. More than eight yachts are expected to take part in the Chille Sailing Week, a competition noted for its level of competition and close racing, where success is characterized by consistency, precision and teamwork. ... [more]  

The Flying Dutchman, regarded as one of the finest and fastest one-design dinghy classes ever designed, will return to Sydney Harbour en masse when the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron conducts the Australian and World championships, starting next week. ... [more]  

The International Moth Class isn't exactly a new sailing class, yet the learning curve would have to be one of the steepest out there. Moths have been on foils for almost 10 years, yet besides talking to fellow moth sailors, there isn't a lot of information out there to help you master the skills and techniques needed to fly ... [more]  

America's Cup: Full CAS report finds both ISAF and de Ridder at fault *Feature by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz
The Decision of the Court for Arbitration of Sport over the suspension of Dutch sailor Dirk de Ridder has been circulated. The report, which was earlier reported in summary form as to the decision, confirms a 18month suspension on de Ridder, one of the Netherlands' top sailors ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Australia’s premier ocean race has always had an international flavour; Captain Illingworth, who started the whole Sydney Hobart thing was, after all, an Englishman. ... [more]  

An initiative by the SuperYacht Racing Association (SYRA) led to collaboration with the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) and ultimately the creation of a new superyacht handicapping rule - the ORC SuperYacht Rule (ORCsy). ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Ocean sailors are daft; why else would you think it a good idea to take a modern ocean racing yacht around the world on her own bottom to compete in lots and lots of races, some thousands of miles long? ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - The island is off the NSW south coast, 155 nautical miles south of Sydney’s South Head and about 6 nm south-east of Narooma. Its lighthouse, built of granite quarried on the island, began operating in 1881. The island is a protected nature reserve. ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Hundreds of Australian sailors spend their lives trying to win the Tattersall’s Cup; year after year they declare in Hobart that this was their last Rolex Sydney Hobart - definitely - for sure. But 12 months later you spot them again at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, tinkering with their pride and joy and nervously eying off Boxing Day ... [more]  

America's Cup: Lawsuit against Oracle Racing lodged in San Francisco *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz
In further legal fallout from the 34th America's Cup one of the New Zealand sailors named in an action bought by the International Sailing Federation has in turn lodged a lawsuit in a California Court against his former racing team, Oracle Racing Inc over boat fixing in America's Cup World Series ... [more]  

Antigua Sailing Week 2015 by Antigua Sailing Week
If you haven't been to Antigua Sailing Week for some years Antigua Sailing Week have a quick overview for you of what has changed and what makes it worth the journey along with information on bareboat and race charters, multihulls and challenges for 2015. ... [more]  

RORC Transatlantic Race: The three-man team on Sérénade was the final yacht to complete the inaugural race. Having spent over 18 days at sea, the crew were understandably tired but Denis Villotte, Alain Houchard and Pit Porta were smiling from ear to ear in Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina. A large welcoming party had gathered to greet them. ... [more]  

2017 J/80 World Championships: The Royal Southern Yacht Club (RSrnYC) has an active J/80 fleet and attracts many more of the class to its summer series of regattas run annually from May through to September, in addition to match racing J/80s in the annual Grade 2 Match Cup. ... [more]  

Spectacular fire on Sydney Harbour captured on video *Feature by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz
Sydney sailing sports photographer, Beth Morley was on Sydney Harbour, capturing images of the Friday night racing, when a luxury launch caught fire nearby. I was out photographing the Ransa Sailing yacht race this evening when I saw smoke coming from the back of a large cruise boat around the back of Sow and Pigs (reef) area towards Middle Head. ... [more]  

Clipper Round the World: The award is in recognition of the way he directed his crew during a dramatic man overboard rescue in the harsh northern Pacific Ocean last March. The Rod Stephens Trophy for Outstanding Seamanship is an internationally renowned trophy awarded annually for an act of seamanship which significantly contributes to the safety of a yacht, or one or more individuals at sea. ... [more]  

OK Dinghy Worlds: Some sailors will even be in transit over the festive period, so thoughts of overindulgence will be a long way from their minds as they focus on the challenge ahead – overcoming the strong Australian team and preparing for the conditions on Port Phillip Bay. However, if the event is true to form - there will be overindulgence in competitive and fun racing. ... [more]  

America's Cup: Full CAS report finds both ISAF and de Ridder at fault
Sydney Hobart Race - Crew prepares for a game of 'Snakes and Ladders'
WPA Race Season - Hanohano Huki Ocean Challenge preview
Comanche in the Solas Big Boat Challenge - Images by Andrea Francolini
Sunbrella Fabrics supports US Olympic and Paralympic Sailors
Volvo Ocean Race: Images from Mauritius as Vestas Wind salvage begins
Volvo Ocean Race: Martinez leaves Mapfre for Leg 3 to China
Volvo Ocean Race: Nicholson back on the atoll to retrieve Vestas Wind
America's Cup: Iain Murray appointed as Regatta Director again
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - Clipper Race to enter 12-strong fleet
Adventures of a Sailor Girl: News and interviews from December 16 show
Pogo 40, Bingo completes RORC Transatlantic Race 2014
Volvo Ocean Race: Chris Nicholson Interview - Part 3 - On the Atoll *Feature
Bell's Beer Bayview Mackinac Race - Safety Requirements published
Int'l 14 World Championships - Defending champion expects tight racing
WWA Wake Park World Series - Daniel Grant and Aaron Gunn make history
US Sailing’s Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year Awards
Sailing World Cup Melbourne: Highlights video from Port Philip
Bart’s Bash raises huge total for international sailing charity
Optim'X (FRA) completes RORC Transatlantic Race 2014
Perpetual Loyal unveils 1120 square metre A2 for Rolex Sydney Hobart   
ISAF SWC Melbourne – Girls’ Day Out *Feature   
Website for the 2015 Finn Gold Cup in Takapuna is launched   
Great signed Limited Edition sailing books by Bob Fisher for Christmas   
Clipper Race - Sir Robin Knox-Johnston to mentor young South African   
IFDS Worlds 2014 New Video Memories - Halifax is just a click away!   
McDougall + McConaghy Moth Worlds 2015 - Must see, seriously fun event   
Volvo Ocean Race: Chris Nicholson Interview - Part 2 - On the Rocks *Feature   
Successful St. Maarten Regatta Beach Clean-Up at Kim Sha Beach   
US Sailing releases Rio 2016 Olympic Trials System   
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Oldies return   
Volvo Ocean Race sets up independent inquiry into Vestas Wind disaster   
Volvo Ocean Race: Team Brunel: sweet victory   
RORC Transatlantic Race - Apollo 7 touch down   
2014 OK Dinghy Worlds Preview one - Last but not least   
Melges 24 Christmas Sprint Series - Christmas comes early for Red Mist   
Extreme Sailing Series 2014 Act 8 - Superb podium finish for Realteam   
Volvo Ocean Race: Chris Nicholson on the Team Vestas Wind disaster - 1 *Feature   
USA 4 Windsurfing campaign   
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - One last modification to Wild Oats XI   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News








Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT