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Close racing at the North American Weta Class Championship in North Carolina

by Bob Hodges, WCNA Class President 7 Nov 15:11 PST 31 October 2019

Did we just sail the dream regatta?

- 11 races over three days with partly cloudy to sunny skies, temps in the low 80's, and champagne sailing winds of 5-18 knots - Grassy lawn to store and rig boats on - Onsite restaurant & bar with changing facilities footsteps away from the boat park - Beautiful venue in the Outer Banks of North Carolina - Outstanding competition in both single and double handed fleets - Split starts for single and double handed fleets - Fantastic diversity in the fleet with male and female sailors as well as ages ranging from pre-teens to sexagenarians

That's a short summary of the 2019 Weta North American Championship. The venue was the NorBanks sailing facility in Duck, NC. Our host was Jon Britt who sold NorBanks to a new owner but owns the property and is still a Weta dealer. Duck is a small community on the Outer Banks of North Carolina about 5 miles north of the site where the Wright brothers made their first flights in Kitty Hawk. Racing took place in Currituck Sound, the brackish body of water to the west of the island with the Atlantic Ocean almost a stone's throw away to the east.

Sixteen entries made up the entire fleet of sailors and this was split between nine singlehanded entries and seven doublehanded entries. While there has been separate scoring in the past for both divisions, this was the first year that separate starts were run for both fleets. This made for better racing and all of the competitors seemed very happy with this format.

The racing was close and exciting. In the singlehanded fleet, six sailors won races and the winner of that division was not determined until the last race. Likewise, in the doublehanded fleet, there was a tie between the top two boats at the end of day 1, 2 points separating the two at the end of Day 2, and a tie again after the first race on Sunday. Emerging from these battles were Elise Read and Bob Hodges and Richard Stephens who are respectively the 2019 Weta North American Champions in the doublehanded and singlehanded divisions. Here's a link to the full results:

For full results see www.wetanorthamerica.com/2019-nac-results

It's worth mentioning some of the new Weta sailors who were racing at this event. In the double handed division Joe Brake was sailing with his son Beau and James Eaton was sailing with his son Michael. Also in the doublehanded division Sabra Gear was sailing her first Weta regatta as a new Weta owner with Michael Lynch (who was sailing his first event regatta).

It was exciting to have Joe and James racing with their sons. Both live in the Outer Banks area, both are former intercollegiate racing sailors, and Joe is an active Flying Scot racer (well maybe not anymore!). Joe was so psyched about the class that less than a week after the event, he had purchased a boat.

This was also the first Weta North American championship for Phil Styne who was racing with his partner Michelle Schott. Phil and Michelle raced the 2019 WCNA winter/spring series and Phil is a top Corsair trimaran sailor and a past Corsair national champion. In the singlehanded division, it was great to have Tom Reese racing. Like Phil, Tom is a top Corsair trimaran sailor who has also won a national championship and his performance consistently improved during the series resulting in a race win and a well earned 4th overall in the singlehanded division.

The Weta Class of North America did have its annual class meeting during the event. The main item was approval of the 2020 venue for the next North American championship and that will be Muskegon Yacht Club in beautiful Muskegon, MI. Racing will take place in Muskegon Lake, which is really a natural bay that is connected to Lake Michigan. The event will take place the weekend after Labor Day.

Thanks to all of the hard working volunteers and our sponsors who made this event happen. The list includes:

- Stephanie and Alan Taylor - Regatta organizers, website management, and publicity - Jon Britt - venue owner, mark boat operator, "Got a problem, I'll take care of it" dude - Dick Hitchcock - Weta Florida, charter boat provider, on shore assistance, regatta sponsor - Mike Krantz, ZHIK USA - regatta sponsor for entry giveaways (beautiful ZHIK hats with Weta logo), regatta awards, and raffle giveaways - John Heizer - WCNA secretary-treasurer who assisted with regatta registration, Regatta Network event setup, and event finances - Bruce Fleming and Bob Hodges - sponsors for the post-race refreshments - JD Rosser - our PRO from Hobcaw Yacht Club and his team, they did an outstanding job and were the most friendly and efficient race management team we could ever hope for.

As class president, the only thing missing from this event was - MORE BOATS!

For our 2020 championship, look for registration and a NOR to be up on Regatta Network before the end of the year and also start planning for the winter/spring series in Florida being coordinated by Florida fleet captain Cliff Peshek. Cliff put together a beautiful perpetual trophy for this series and we had good turnouts in Port Charlotte, Fort Walton, and Gulfport this year so let's make it even bigger in 2020. Our recruitment slogan for the 2020 North Americans will be 30 IN 20, that's 30 boats or more racing in Muskegon next year.

To close this report, here's the best quote of the event by Joe Brake at the awards presentation - "This was the most fun I have ever had racing a sailboat".

Sail fast and have as much fun as Joe and Beau!

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