(in conjunction with the 65th NC Governor’s Cup Regatta).
In our third year, the Wētā East Coast Championship at Kerr Lake has become the most anticipated event of the Mid-Atlantic season. June 16-19 was a gathering of old friends and new for several days of sailing and swimming in fresh, warm water. Sailors travel from New York and Florida and some even may make the trek from the west coast to converge in North Carolina.
On Thursday afternoon, Wētās begin to arrive at the venue to rig, claim the prime spot on the beach and socialize. The Florida contingent helped load rocks from the rip-rap onto the back of a truck and set up the Wētā feather flags at the entrance to the rigging area. The weekend has begun! The sound of not too distant thunder cancels any thoughts of an afternoon sail and we all scurry to the campsites at Wētā Village for shelter. As the front quickly passed, the group enjoyed dinner cooked over the campfire and a game of corn hole.
Friday, the parking area was abuzz as more Wētās and other fleets arrive and start rigging. There’s wind! The Wētā sailors and some of the Isotope Catamaran fleet gather for the afternoon sailing clinic. Alan & Stephanie describe the drills for the day. A windward/leeward course is set to encourage tacking and jybing practice. A couple sailors obviously needed mark rounding practice as the leeward mark was “pickle forked” on more than one occasion.
Saturday dawned with Northwesterly winds 15-20+ knots. “It’s going to be sporty”. The common topic of conversation – do we have more registered boats than the Wayfarer Class? Do you think we’ll take the Gov Cup? (Gov Cup is awarded to the skipper who beats the most boats, so it’s a combination of boats on the start line and consistently high finishes).
We were able to complete 2 races, complete with a couple capsizes and many bow plants some of which were even synchronized. The catamarans and Jet 14’s on our course had had enough, so RC called it a day. John Harrop showed great form with 2 decisive first place finishes. Keith Rice and Alan Taylor were tied for second. As one sailor said and many agreed, "I'm knackered!" After the regatta BBQ Chicken dinner, everyone went back to camp and retired early.
Sunday’s winds were still NNW but only 8-12 knots with gusts at 20 or more. Harrop continued his dominance with 2 more bullets. Taylor wrapped up the series in second, followed by Rice in third and Richard Stephens in fourth. Back on the beach, we were anxiously awaiting the results as boats were de-rigged and made ready for the trip home.
Finally, the horn calling everyone to the awards presentation which included 96 boats and 13 fleets. This is the third year that the Wētā Class has participated in the NC Gov Cup Regatta. And this year we took home the Cup! John Harrop is the 2022 Wētā East Coast Champion and the winner of the NC Governor’s Cup Regatta.
Thanks to everyone who made the East Coast Championship a huge success especially those that traveled a good distance. Eight interested sailors from other fleets were given demo rides after the races in Wētā wind. And lest I forget, there is a new perpetual award, the Almost Award, given to the sailor who ‘almost got an event trophy’.
Save the date for Father’s Day weekend – June 16-18, 2023. Let’s "Keep The Cup" in the Wētā Fleet!