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Queensland Weta State Titles at Lake Cootharaba Sailing Club

by Ian Richardson 8 Dec 2019 21:56 GMT
2019 Queensland Weta State Titles © Julie Hartwig - Sailing Shotz Photography

Three NSW Wetas (Keith, Geoff and Ian) made the long road trip to Lake Cootharaba for the QLD Weta state titles being held in conjunction with their annual Mono Masters regatta. Their addition increased the entry to 15 boats.

Still recovering from an illness, Ian had only decided to attend a few weeks before and managed to score a really nice B&B right on the outskirts of Banora Point - ideal for the first Weta nationals next December, which are being held at the same venue.

After arriving on the Friday they took the boats down to grab a spot on the beach in front of the sailing club. A few of the QLD Weta sailors came down to say hello - it was really good to meet people you have only met on Facebook previously! A nice relaxed meal at the pub had all primed ready for racing on Saturday.

Sailing was due to start at 12:30 with back to back races. By the start, the wind had picked up to a solid NE seabreeze at 15-20 knots with gusts of 25 which stayed in for the rest of the day. The first race was a learning experience for Ian as he had not sailed with the 9.3 SqM Square Top (SQ) mainsail in anything above about 12 knots before, and the SQ mainsail is now the Weta Class Standard in Australia. Initially he had it way too depowered and was not particularly fast upwind which was remedied for the second race.

The star for NSW on the first day was Keith who had two thirds. Ian had a fifth then broke some gear in the second race while in third place, and Geoff had an 8th and a 9th. Local Weta dealer, Glen Foley, was on fire and won both races.

The club put on an enjoyable BBQ after racing which we all enjoyed. The QLD Wetas also had a class meeting to discuss various things including formalising the draft class rules and the conduct of the national titles next year.

The breeze on Sunday was a fair bit stronger from the north and was most enjoyable although Ian ran out of steam in the last race where it was gusting over 25 knots. The racing was pretty close with Keith coming from fourth at the start of the last lap to winning comfortably. Ian was third for most of the race but tired towards the end.

The fourth race had the strongest wind and Ian was fighting for the lead until the last lap when he ran out of energy but after a 45 minute race, only 25 seconds separated 2nd to 5th place.

Overall Keith had a first and a fifth, Ian had a fifth and a second and Geoff had an 11th and an 8th. The last race was called off which meant no discard.

Glen Foley won the event. Keith was an impressive second, Ian was fifth and Geoff was ninth out of a total of 15 boats including two that sailed 2-up and one junior, Glenn's son Mitchell Foley, who had a spectacular capsize in the last race.

New Weta owner Tod McIvey commented: "What an awesome competitive class. Congratulations to all who competed."

Some things Ian learned during the series:

  • Lake Cootharaba is a really nice venue for our nationals next season
  • The SQ sail works well in all breezes. It's actually very easy to take too much power out of it.
  • We will have some stiff competition from some of the QLD top sailors heading south for the NSW states at Speers Point ASC on Lake Macquarie from 28-31 Dec, where we will also be joined by sailors from Victoria.

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