The Wetas made up the largest single class at this fun event amongst assorted Hobies and other catamarans, and all competitors had been encouraged to wear Christmas costumes (Santa hats abounded) and decorate their boat accordingly. However, given that the Weta is a wet boat in the forecast 16 knot winds, most of the owners struggling to find places to put decorations that would still be there after 5 minutes of racing – Peter's boat had tinsel wind indicators attached to the shrouds which looked great except that he was showered with bits of tinsel throughout the race!
After taking multiple photos of the assembled group of sailors in the sunshine, with much hat swapping required, and a course briefing which only the locals could interpret, we set off for a race start. The four minute start caught out the visitors as it wasn't clear (except to Peter Duross, the local) that the Wetas would depart on the 4 minute flag. Peter Duross was off on a flyer in the 15 knot breeze which was patchy as the wind funnelled through the surrounding hills. It was so variable that at times Wetas separated by 10 metres were tacking into the wind or on a screaming spinnaker reach. Peter seemed to have his own personal wind god and shot off again while Pete, crewed by his son Toby, were gradually hauling him in.
After gybing away from the beach and heading towards the open water they eventually found the large channel navigation pole which was being used as a turning mark. Paul had caught up with the leading two on the offwind leg – despite a "submarine" moment when he ploughed into the back of a wake wave but approaching the mark, he managed to get completely wrapped in the spinnaker sheet in a hasty gybe. After untangling this he set off again and was closing on the leading two as first Pete (and son) arrived at the beach with Peter close behind. Paul arrived soon after followed by Geoff. After quickly putting boats back on trailers they headed to the clubhouse for a well-earned beer, barbecue, prizes and Christmas cheer.
RaceQs Tracking & Replay
Paul (Tryster) & Peter (Auweta 845)
Photo: Upu Kila, Palm Beach Sailing Club