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 Alvimedica's OBR Amory Ross reports on the crew's progress as they continue to head south in the Volvo Ocean Race. The last week of sailing has been full of tactical decisions as the team decide when to head south and when to turn east towards Cape Town. ... [more]  

Nandor Fa and Marcell Goszleth are the first Hungarian duo to take part in this renowned double handed non-stop sprint around the world. The Barcelona World Race will be the very first real race for Spirit of Hungary, which has been designed and partly built? by Nandor Fa himself. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. Team SCA OBR Corinna Halloran reports on day 20 for the crew. Wow; A bit of a monumental day—both literally and figuratively. Three weeks ago it was the eve of the start my friends took me for one last ice cream and I couldn’t figure out if I was nervous or not nervous. ... [more]  

Talent, passion, ability, success. All qualities that spring to mind with regard to Luke Patience, the 28 year old 470 Class silver medallist from London 2012. SSL is delighted to announce that Luke has now accepted the Star Sailors League invitation to participate in our 2014 Finals, becoming the second UK special guest star, alongside newly-crowned Finn World Champion Giles Scott. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Like in the old English tale of Robin Hood, it’s a case of taking from the rich and giving to the poor. That is what we have been seeing over the last few days. More wind just behind the leaders has allowed the middle, poorer pack to catch the rich leaders. ... [more]  

American Windsurfing Tour Severne Starboard Aloha Classic 2014 - Today we have all been treated to an incredible spectacle of windsurfing, on the second day of competition at the AWT pro bracket of the Severne Starboard Aloha Classic. ... [more]  

The International Kiteboarding Association’s (IKA) annual general meeting next Tuesday (Nov 4) is likely to debate measures put forward by the Polish Kiteboarding Association (PKA) that would effectively outlaw ram-air kites from the beginning of next year. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Still tight at front as Roaring Forties beckon *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz
According to the routing function of Predictwind, the three boats are covered by just 10 miles in terms of distance to be sailed to the finish on their optimum course, more telling is that on the same basis just seven minutes would cover the first and third boats to finish. Sail-World interviewed Team Vestas skipper, Chris Nicholson this morning - he comments in this report. ... [more]  

The Aloha Classic is the longest existing windsurfing wave event (together with Sylt in Germany). 2014 marks 30 years since the very first event and the 25th edition of the Aloha Classic. Let me rewind back to when I was a young journalist, following the evolution of windsurfing, back then windsurfing was called ‘the fastest growing sport’… ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race - Team Alvimedica heads south by Amory Ross, Team Alvimedica
OBR Amory Ross reports on Team Alvimedica’s progress in the Volvo Ocean Race. It’s wild that after six days of sailing down the coast of South America we finally found ourselves pointed directly at Cape Town (going 16 knots) but all the routing indicates we’re not far enough to the south so down we go! ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. Team SCA coach Brad Jackson gives his thoughts on Leg 1. 'We very much understand what the girls are trying to do and who they are competing against and if they do things well they are right up there in the mix. ... [more]  

Little Traverse Yacht Club (Harbor Springs, Michigan) won the Yacht Club Challenge in the 106th Running of the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac. ... [more]  

Want to see 40 great sailing champions in action in stunning Nassau in the Bahamas? The Star Sailors League, an emerging international circuit, is offering the chance to win a four-day holiday for two people with accommodation at the luxury Atlantis resort and water park. ... [more]  

Bidding is now open in the auction to join the Volvo Ocean Race as a part of Team Alvimedica and support heart charities around the world! Team Alvimedica supporters have the unique chance to bid on two experiences that will take place at each stopover throughout the race. ... [more]  

The seventh edition of the St Barth Cata Cup is set to be thrilling. Sixty teams will go head to head aboard the last generation of F18 boats: Hobbie Wild Cat, Nacra Infusion MKII, Cirrus R, Phantom and C2. It is a high-speed, tactical, technical and spectacular discipline! ... [more]  

AWT Severne Starboard Aloha Classic 2014 - The day started early with a traditional Hawaiian blessing, welcoming everyone to the beach and setting the wheels in motion for a fantastic contest. As the ceremony continued the wind started to blow and straight after the skipper's meeting it was straight on with the pro men competition. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race - After 19 days of Leg one, the leaders are still within sight of each other, something we don’t think we’ve ever seen at such a stage between Alicante and Cape Town. It’s the ultimate inshore race, staged hundreds of miles offshore. Abu Dhabi, Team Brunel and Team Vestas Wind are locked against each other with Dongfeng Race Team just 17NM further adrift. ... [more]  

The Taiwan 2014 Kitesurfing Open & Green Tourism Miaoli proved to be an interesting event for the Kiteboard Tour Asia (KTA) to get involved with at the Longfong Fish Harbour beach front in Jhunan. As the KTA had been wanting for some time to bring an event to the renowned high wind shores of Taiwan, which is famous for its windy conditions 300 days a year. ... [more]  

Best possible conditions are expected when 2014 World Championships in ISAF-class Kona One is about to start in Islamorada, Florida on Saturday, November 1. A total of 115 sailors from five continents will line up making it the largest Kona event ever. The outcome is very open with a number of high-profiled sailors with multiple international championship wins in different windsurfing classes. ... [more]  

2015 U.S. Youth Sailing Championships - The dates for the 2015 U.S. Youth Championships, hosted by Eastern Yacht Club in Marblehead, Mass., have been changed to July 6-10 from the traditional second week in August ... [more]  

'It is no less important to the Commodore as air or water,' said Staff Commodore of the San Diego Yacht Club Chuck Nichols. The Lipton Cup is arguably one of the most iconic regattas in the sailing community. This three-day regatta is an invitation-only event where the best sailors from around the country compete to represent their yacht clubs. ... [more]  

Year in and year out, the U.S. Disabled Championships is one of the most fascinating sailing events in the world. A strong collection of the top sailors in the country are in Galveston, Texas preparing for this week’s three-day championship, which begins Thursday, October 30 and concludes Saturday, November 1. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Team Vestas back-slams both race leaders *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz
The Chris Nicholson skippered Team Vestas Wind, has made a big gain in the last 12 hours in the Volvo Ocean Race, and is now positioned between the two lead boats. The Danish flagged entry had been positioned to the west of the leaders, who were in the fringe of the St Helena High. ... [more]  

Last night all the American Windsurfing Tour riders, and some of the top PWA sailors, enjoyed a fantastic opening party and registration for the Aloha Classic at Adventure Sports Maui. Food, drinks, photos and lots of chat was the order of the evening, and this morning all with gather again at 9am for the official opening blessing. ... [more]  

Many know Bill Erkelens as a former rigger, team manager for the Maxi Sayonara and subsequently Campaign manager for Oracle Racing during the IACC efforts and a really good sailor with a solid Rolodex of connections in the yacht racing world. When the opportunity to manage a Volvo team arose, Bill did not hesitate, and in late 2013, the Bay Area Native accepted the roles as COO for Team Alvimedica ... [more]  

Team Alvimedica OBR Amory Ross reports on the crew’s progress in the Volvo Ocean Race. Even in the 'straight-line' sailing that has dominated the last portion of the race, the dynamic of our fleet position has been in a state of constant change. ... [more]  

Team SCA OBR Corinna Halloran reports on day 18 for the crew in the Volvo Ocean Race. We are fighting. We are determined. We are focused. Yes, today was not easy, but we did not allow ourselves to slow down-- we sailed with the conditions given and sailed at 100% performance. ... [more]  

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) published its 2015 Anti-Doping Code on Wednesday (29 October), which will apply to all Member organisations, Paralympic Games and IPC recognised International Federations, from 1 January 2015. ... [more]  

Sailing legend Sir Robin Knox-Johnston hopes to inspire greater French participation in ocean racing through his entry in the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe. 'France is a nation of sailors with excellent role models; legends in their own right,' said Sir Robin. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - The big news of yesterday was the introduction of an ice gate by Race Director Jack Lloyd. Designed to take away the temptation for the teams to dive deep south in the search for better pressure and a better angle to Cape Town. The Ice Gate is placed at 42 deg South between 20W and 10W, seen on the screenshot below. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race - Up until now the comment from the boats to the east has been that Team Vestas Wind had made a bad move by digging west. But now, with the high pressure to the east expanding, perhaps Wouter on the Danish boat has read the future a little better and has set his team up for a comeback. ... [more]  

Optimist World Championship 2014 - Six races were made last week and the fleet was divided into Gold, Silver and Bronze. Each fleet has 70 sailors. This first part of this championship had light winds, lot of current and little waves but today it changed completely: The wind gauge marked 23 Knots on the race area, the waves were high and short. ... [more]  

2014 - 15 Volvo Ocean Race - Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing have finally given ground to Team Brunel after almost exactly a week at the head of the fleet but the new leaders’ thin advantage may well be very short-lived as the Volvo Ocean Race Leg 1 turned into a game of hunt-the-breeze. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Ice Gate laid in Southern Ocean on Leg 1 *Feature
Volvo Ocean Race - Reality for Team Vestas Wind
Volvo Ocean Race: Straight-line progress continues for Team Alvimedica
Volvo Ocean Race - Team SCA entering the Southern Ocean + Video
Comanche ocean trials in Newport + Video
La Torche PWA Grand Slam - Title race thrown wide open
ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards one week away
Clipper Race - Is this the toughest job on the ocean?
PIC Coastal Classic Roundup: Almost 30 minutes slashed off record
America's Cup: Artemis Racing signs seventh Olympic Gold medalist
Pieces in place for the 2015 GC32 Racing Tour
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Behind the numbers
Volvo Ocean Race: Front runners open gap for Cape Town *Feature
AWT - PWA Finale 2014: Severne Starboard Aloha Classic - One day to go
2014 International Masters Regatta - Augie Diaz takes the trophy
Volvo Ocean Race - Supreme sailing for Team Alvimedica
Volvo Ocean Race - Team SCA, united by one
A big shift for Pumpkin Pursuit in Richmond
ISAF Annual Conference to take place in Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15: Latest position report: October 27, 1700 UTC
Oakcliff Ocean Racing Team to race RORC Transatlantic Race   
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - The search for skippers is on   
China Cup Int'l Regatta - Windier weather brings victory for Vanke   
Argo Group Gold Cup - Stena Sailing Team wins in Bermuda   
GC 32 Foiling Cat Argo sets Mount Gay Rum Around Jamestown Record   
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15: Latest position report, October 27, 0630 UTC   
2014 RS:X Youth Worlds - Going out with a bang! + Video   
2015 Flying Dutchman World Championships - Winners will be Grinners!   
RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup - Denmark’s Christian Spodsberg wins   
Argo Group Gold Cup 2014 - Berntsson joins sailing’s elite   
Sand Flies versus Foiling Moths - Moth World Championship 2015 *Feature   
2015 International 14 World Championship - Frasch leads German team   
Ian Williams and GAC Pindar set up an exciting AWMRT finale   
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 Leg one – South Atlantic tactics   
Volvo Ocean Race: Steady run to the finish at Cape Town   
18ft Skiffs: Club Championship - Race one   
2014 Optimist World Championship - Race started with a clear day   
2014 - 15 Volvo Ocean Race - Fernando de Noronha   
2014 - 15 Volvo Ocean Race - The longest route   
Argo Group Gold Cup - Semi Final matches set for Sunday   


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 WAS US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT