Alan Taylor, our North American Weta Website Guru must have asked me that question 10 times this past weekend. I was like “bro, getting a little personal aren’t we?”
Let me share a love story. My name is Joe Brake and I am relatively new to the Weta Class. In fact, this September is the one year anniversary of losing my Weta-virginity. Like so many that get their first taste of her sweet salty speed, tugging on her sheets, and her getting you wet...most are hooked instantly. I have been sailing my whole life as I grew up on a 46’ Trimaran cruising around this side of the world with my parents, and racing since my youth to my current age of 41. Like most hobbies that ebbed and flowed of my life, sailing was one that always stuck around. It was my happy place, my therapy. I can honestly say that sailing and water have always been about as natural as breathing and eating. Sailing the Weta for the first time and honestly every time since then has reignited my love for sailing and has sparked the magic I first remember feeling as a kid. There were a lot of firsts for me this weekend, like my first regatta in my new to me boat #487, the first time going out in 25 plus knots of wind on a Weta double handed and sending it with Alan Taylor, and my first time racing since the Pandemic. Do you remember your first?
This inaugural event was a much needed gathering of like minded multihull enthusiasts which converged in Southern Shores, NC on the Outer Banks. The OBX Multihull Sail Fest would be the first regatta for most of the sailors this year. We raced on the Currituck Sound just south of where the 2019 North Americans were held in Duck, NC. In attendance were the dynamic Taylor duo of Stephanie and Alan, Eric Frank and daughter Mattie who hosted the Weta fleet for supper and cooked an amazing taco bar Saturday night (way to go Mattie and Emma), local James Eaton and his son Gabe, new Weta owner Caroline Sherman, and new Weta owner Rob Beadling who helped out with race committee along with a brief appearance by Sabra Gear and her Crew Boy, Donald Lynch.
Day one was slated for a long distance drag race to the Duck Water Tower and back. The winds were a solid 20-25kts gusting at times in the 30’s. Regatta Chair and host Hardy Peters opted for an onshore AP until 12:00 when finally the call was made to go! Eric Frank and crew Stephanie Taylor were the only team to successfully sail the course and to death roll capsize within feet of the finish line. The two experienced sailors had her up in no time as Stephanie quickly swam to the mast to prevent it from getting stuck in the shallow water and Eric was on the daggerboard. Righting her was the easy part, but getting back into their now sailing away Weta that opted for another lap sans crew was the real challenge. Race committee quickly scooped Team Frank-alicous out of the water and chased down their upwind ghost sailing trimaran. As they closed in on their boat Stephanie commanded Eric to “jump”. Like most men when asked by Stephalicous to do something, he did it with little questioning of the consequences. Eric successfully landed on the boat and without hesitating Stephanie was next. This team would go on to win the Weta fleet long distance race for the day.
The afternoon stories and fleet camaraderie was the highlight of the day culminating with a “5 star” taco bar hosted by the Frank family and Chef Mattie. We all reflected on the pandemic and its relationship to sailing and we all echoed how great it was just to connect as humans and sailors. New Weta sailor Caroline said, “it almost felt normal”.
Day two brought nearly perfect conditions of traditional course racing in 12-15 kts. Stephanie, Eric, James and son, Caroline, and myself all made it out to the race course. Alan decided to stay on shore with Sailor Pup Gizmo and they both worked on their Yoga practice with Gizmo’s favorite move being Downward Facing Dog naturally. Each of the four races for the day was around 45 minutes of a pizza slice and a sausage course finishing to leeward. I was able to take four bullets and win the fleet. Eric Frank was 2nd, and Stephanie Taylor in 3rd. A huge thanks to Hardy Peters, East Coast Sailboats, Sail OBX and Southern Shores Civic Association North Marina for their laid back southern hospitality. This First Annual OBX Multihull Sail Fest was a huge success based on all the smiles, wind swept hair, and sunburned noses. They say you always remember your first time. I certainly do, what about you?
Joe Brake WETA #487