To Get Downtown

No, our roof deck is not getting fumigated. This is Vanishing Girl’s new-to-her half-ounce Pineapple runner! It’s far from crispy new, but it is light and big. It will likely see some action in just a few weeks as we have some downwind miles to log… Newport Beach & Ensenada here we come!

Long Weekend at Lake Nacimiento

A nice way to start the day at Lake Nacimiento as the fog lifted this morning. We took the Wetas out for some fun on the lake this afternoon, along with A little DeWitt sailing dinghy. Fresh water, warm weather, and good times.

Friday was fun day, spent sailing around the lake and enjoying the warm weather. On Saturday, the wind spent all afternoon gathering energy for a wonderful hour of double-digit wind speeds just in time for our short-course racing. Most of the crew left Sunday before noon, but Greg and Jared stuck around—and it was worth it! Hours of gentle breeze let us explore the whole lake from one end to the other before it was time to pack up the boats and head back to San Francisco.











Thanks to Molly, Greg, and Bruce for making this such an enjoyable event! Next year we’re planning to take over nearby Lake San Antonio.

Wine and Roses Regatta

The Pierpont girls and six other Wetas gathered in Santa Barbara for this year’s Wine and Roses Regatta, hosted by the Santa Barbara Yacht Club. Dan Wilson chartered one of the Pierpont Wetas for the event, and PPS’s own Paul Martson sailed the other.

Historically a regatta for beach cats, the organizers were excited to have our new breed of small multis attend. Quite a few youth sailors attend, and several got their first ride on Wetas.

Video footage courtesy of Weta class president Bruce Fleming, who also captured the whole
play-by-play on wetamarine.com. Thanks Bruce!

2nd Annual Weta Training Camp

Our second-annual Weta Training Camp was a big hit, with Wetas coming from all along the California Coast. The weather in Ventura was great (again), which we able to make the most of because of the long summer solstice days.
Day one started off with a meet-and-greet, then we finished rigging the boats and set out for a harbor sail before parking the boats on the beach for lunch.

The afternoon was some fun-sailing, boat-for-boat tuning, and capsize practice.

How hard is it to capsize a Weta? It takes some effort! Here’s Jared hiking out to leeward with the sheets in tight, and still can’t overcome the boat’s stability.

Day two started off with a whiteboard session on racing tactics given by local ace Mike Hopper, then it was time to hit the water for some short-course racing. We ran eight races in the afternoon, focusing on start tactics and optimizing boat speed both upwind and downwind.


Thanks to all who participated, and we’ll see you again for next year’s event!

Newport to Ensenada 2014

This year’s Newport to Ensenada race was a strange one, weather-wise. Some forecasts were predicting gusts in the 30-40kt range off the San Diego coast sometime during the night. That’s record-breaking weather for the big 60-to-70 foot trimarans; it’s also boat-breaking weather. We were all a little anxious, expecting a wet and wild ride for the race.

The all-San Francisco crew (Jared Brockway, Dave Berntsen, Rick Waltonsmith, Danna Pomykal, Thierry de Froidmont) met at the boat in Ventura and we set off for Newport the day before the race. It was a long day (~90 miles), but we had beautiful weather all the way down. Lots of dolphin sightings too.

Race day started out breezy. A couple of the boats had already taken a reef, and we did too not long after the start. Soon after taking the reef and settling into a groove, it became apparent that something was not right. The leeward rigging was very slack and the crossbeams were flexing at the joints. Dave went forward to check, and sure enough, one of the four 5/16″ cable stays that give the boat its rigidity had broken. We retired from the race and headed back to Newport for repairs.
broken water stay

It was disappointing to have the race end so soon, but also a relief. If something was going to break, it was better to have it happen now than in the dark crossing the Coronado Islands in big wind. We weren’t the only casualty—last year’s race winner Afterburner had a breakage too and joined us for a lay day in Newport for repairs.

Newport was not a bad place to spend the day.

With all new synthetic high-tech stays to replace the original cabling, we were ready to go the next morning. The low pressure system that caused the nasty weather for the race had cleared up, and we had an extra day before needing to be back in Ventura. Feeling no reason to rush, we planned to overnight in Avalon before heading back up to Ventura. It was a bad decision in hindsight.

The sail to Avalon was beautiful and quick. On the way out of the harbor, we could see the newly-arriving warm front pushing the low-pressure system down the coast behind us. A welcome sight.
warm front

The harbor at Avalon. Always pretty.

The wind had reversed by the time we arrived at Avalon, and reversed again by the time we left. This warm front was turning out to be more than a return to the normal Southern California weather. The forecast was quickly changing, now showing strong Santa Ana winds coming from inland—and yet we still had the normal onshore breeze leaving Avalon.

The headwind and seas strengthened to the point that we decided to take shelter in Malibu’s Paradise Cove for the night rather than continue to Ventura. The Santa Ana wind arrived in the evening, reversing the wind direction and blowing hot and heavy offshore, continuing through the night. That was good for our trip up the coast because it meant the end of the headwinds. The warm, dry breeze from abeam was great but its extreme variability was nerve-wracking.
This is from the weather station at Leo Carrillo Beach, which we crossed a little after 9:00a. The wind would go from near-nothing to gale force within in a minute as we crossed mountain canyons. The most difficult was this “river of blood” at Port Hueneme. Something about the curvature of the mountains creates a massive offshore flow here during the Santa Anas. Normally the red fingers on the color-coded wind map would extend for a mile or so beneath the mountain canyons and then wither away, but this one took us several miles offshore before we escaped it.
Once we got to Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard, the offshore wind calmed down and we sailed the last five or six miles to Ventura with flat seas and a gentle onshore breeze. Amazing that we saw this range of conditions in the span of about five hours along the usually-placid SoCal coast.

Apologies to the crew for the changes to the float plan, but glad that we had some great sailing nonetheless..and some good weather stories to share.


Baja Ha-Ha

Latitude 38’s Baja Ha-Ha Cruiser’s Rally is the most popular and well-liked sailing rally on the west coast. With its perfect mix of adventure and 750 miles of downwind sailing, there is no better way to spend ten days in November when the rest of the country is settling into fall weather blahs. The Baja sun and sailing is hard to beat!


We did the Baja Ha-Ha this year on Orange with three charter guests: Nelz Carpentier from Cal Sailing Club (and recently alumnus of the Clipper Round-the-World Race), John Ricks, and Carl Harrington.

The pictures tell the story better than words—here is Capt Pablo’s gallery from the trip.


The happy crew (in costume here as ’70’s tennis pros) arrived safely in Cabo on November 6 where they turned Orange over to Capt Jared and his delivery crew for the Baja Bash back to Ventura.

Weta West Coast Championships

West Coast Championship weekend was fun for all sizes with the Wetas, Hobies, and AC 72s racing simultaneously. Many of the Weta racers tuned their radios to listen in on the America’s Cup action while they were racing! The Pierpont girls had their dance cards full with Mary Ann (#739) sailed by the national class champion duo of Toni Sacco and two-time olympic silver medalist Randy Smyth, while Ginger (#738) was sailed by Robert Spencer of Dubai on Saturday, with Paul filling in on Sunday.

photo by Jennifer Kroon

photo by Jennifer Kroon

Chris Kitchen (below), sporting his New Zealand colors, handily won the regatta, beating local stars Dave Berntsen and Jonathan Weston. No one was surprised at that result, with Chris being a champion skiff sailor and co-designer of the Weta besides. No one knows their way around the boat better than Chris!

photo by Jennifer Kroon

photo by Jennifer Kroon

Weta Marine has a write-up of the event, Richmond Yacht Club has the results, and Jennifer Kroon has lots and lots of photos of the racing.

Totally Dinghy Regatta

photo by Jennifer Kroon

photo by Jennifer Kroon

The Pierpont girls saw double-duty this weekend with both sailing double-handed. It was the perfect intro-to-Weta sailing weekend with Saturday’s sunny and moderately windy weather as a warm-up to wetter and wilder Sunday.

photo by Jennifer Kroon

photo by Jennifer Kroon

Tri-curious dinghy sailors Stephanie Evans (above) and Molly Morelock (below) had a great time aboard. Double-handing gained popularity on Sunday when West Coast dealer Dave Berntsen joining the fun by having his daughters sail the first race together, then alternately sailing with him.

photo by Jennifer Kroon

photo by Jennifer Kroon

Local Weta aces Jonathan Weston, Dave Berntsen, and Marc Simmel (left to right) Consistently nailed the starts.

photo by Jennifer Kroon

photo by Jennifer Kroon

Photographer-on-the-scene Jennifer Kroon nailed this perfectly-timed shot showing the Weta fleet in perfect (fearful?) symmetry:

photo by Jennifer Kroon

Stay tuned while she edits and uploads the shots from Sunday’s racing….

High Sierra Regatta

High Sierra Regatta Race 1 video by Don Logan.

The High Sierra Regatta delivered Weta sailing at its finest this year with plenty of sun, flat water, and ideal wind. The 11-boat Weta fleet raced on the second weekend of the regatta along with PHRF boats, Viper 640s, Open 5.70s, Ultimate 20s, Thistles, Victories, and San Juans.

The two Pierpont Performance Sailing Wetas were chartered by Scott Poe and Don Logan of Newport Beach. No rookies to sailboat racing, they got up to speed quickly (literally and figuratively) and were finishing in the top half of the fleet by the first race. One of the highlights of the weekend was pushing Don and Scott off the dock for their first Weta sail on Friday. The late afternoon wind was mild and there was barely a hint of whitecapping on the water. They flipped down their rudders and lowered their daggerboards as the boats glided out toward the end of the dock. Just as they were settling in with the tiller extension and sheets, they got into the smooth wind outside the tree-lined launch area and WHOOSH!—in ten feet the boats went from stroll to gallop. Don and Scott were off across the lake giggling like teenagers.

We pulled the boats out of the water at the end of each day, rolling them on their dollies into the nearby parking lot (or somewhere on the margins) for the night. With the two-lane launch ramp and adjacent six-boat-wide beach, it didn’t take long to get whole fleets of dinghies in and out of the water each day.

Saturday was the first race. The Wetas had the fourth start behind the PHRF A, Viper 640, and Open 5.70 fleets. The course for the first race was #4: a long one to the lake’s uppermost mark, then ping-ponging back down the lake on the way back to the finish. The PPS support crew, equipped with cameras, paddle board, inflatable dinghy, and a kiteboarding kite drove to a launch point near the top mark to get some photos.

We arrived a little late—just in time to catch the last few Wetas rounding the mark. At least we were well-positioned for the second race…except that the course was shortened for the second race. We set off chasing the fleet downwind on the SUP and kite-powered inflatable dinghy. The kite-dinghy was a hit with spectators, who were probably expecting a spectacular wipe-out at any moment.

Saturday night was the Weta class get-together, hosted at our spacious Catavee campsite. Stories were swapped, rum was drunk, and a set of vintage retro-cool beach/camp furniture (Scott’s) was sold to another Weta sailor (Brian Grover from Encinitas), for a price that left buyer and seller thinking they got the better end of the deal. Bruce Fleming and his wife Shelly finished off the evening by demonstrating how to make banana boats on a campfire.

Sunday was the last day of the regatta, and since there was only one race, they made it the long course again. We made it to the top mark in time to see Dave “Dave-O” Berntsen way out in front for the rounding. On the way back down to the finish, Dave-O was still first, having passed most of the Viper fleet (Vipers started ten minutes before the Wetas) Official scores posted at the Fresno YC site.

Scott and Don both did remarkably well for first-time Weta sailors, finishing fifth out of the eleven boats that raced. How did they both finish fifth? Well, there were some mix-ups in the scoring with the end result being that Don got to accept the fifth-place trophy at the awards ceremony, only to discover that one scoring mix-up still remained. Doing some mental correction on the official results, Don realized that Scott had pipped him by one point, making Scott the rightful fifth-place finisher. We’ll call it a tie so they will be motivated to come back and settle their friendly competition next year.

Photos from Genevieve Peterson’s High Sierra Regatta photo stream

Summer Sailstice Weta Training Camp

Write-up: Bruce Fleming; Photos: Mischa Lopiano

Ever had such a good weekend away that it spoiled you for going back to work on Monday? You know, how when you get to work and say to yourself, “man, do I have to go to work now?” and then declare, “I need to have more weekends like that!” Last weekend was one of those for seven Wetas who sailed in Ventura. We had a blast sailing together, in fantastic weather, on some of the longest days of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Everybody came to learn something, and then went home having filled up on sailing, fun, and new experiences.


Paul Martson, cofounder of Pierpont Performance Sailing, and I conceived this event to be a weekend to give newer Weta sailors some time on the boat in medium air conditions. Ventura seemed like a great location, far enough North on the coast of California to have better winds than San Diego and Los Angeles, but not so far that our target audience in the southland would find too far to drive. The weekend we chose was random—not too far after the last weekend we sailed and not too close to the next one we’re planning to sail on. It was just coincidence that the date landed on the weekend following the Summer Solstice, and the annual world-wide sailing festival called Sailstice.

The shortest description of the weekend is here, provided by Paul, who is currently editing a video of the weekend: Geared for basics and fun on Sat, and racing practice on Sunday w/ super short course & lots of races.  Nice venue, nice weather.  Brian from SD won the Most Improved award, a Weta hat. We all had so much fun, we better make this an annual get-together!


Here’s a longer description…


  • David and Erika Neagley, father/daughter from San Diego, sailed their yellow Quite Rightly
  • Tim Corcoran, Claremont (east of Lost Angeles), sailed his yellow Shaheen
  • Brian Grover, Encinitas (northern San Diego), sailed his bright red boat, formerly known as the Wealy Wed Weta
  • Mitch Yount, Ventura, chartered a Pierpont Performance Sailing boat, white Ginger
  • Bob Shirley, Ventura, sailed with us ion Saturday aboard classic gray Empress
  • Bruce Fleming, San Diego, sailed the notorious yellow Akahele!
  • Craig and Roger Coutre, Newbury Park (east of Ventura) chartered a Pierpont Performance Sailing boat, white Marianne on Saturday
  • Paul Martson drove a monstrous RIB (loaned by the crew of famous catamaran, Afterburner) and provided RC duty on Sunday aboard a Contour 34 trimaran, Orange.
  • Jared Brockway, San Francisco (co-founder of PPS and coach for the weekend) sailed Marianne on Sunday

Saturday began with boat launching and rigging at Ventura Harbor, followed by a pow-wow in Pierpont Bay Yacht Club to discuss the plan with coffee and donuts. Around Noon we got our boats off the docks and sailed out of the harbor to a crescent sand trap slope originally called Mommy Beach. We have since renamed it Weta Beach. Google Maps have not yet updated their database. At Weta Beach, we took photos of the seven boats lined up and lunched on sandwiches provided by Paul and Jared on the monstrous RIB.

Fueled up and ready to go, we sailed out to open water off the beach, and formed a flotilla to sail a mile and a half up the coast on a close reach to Ventura Pier in building breeze and gorgeous blue skies. Winds blew 6 to 10 mph…not quite what we wanted for the weekend, but better than nothing.


Once we all arrived at The Pier, we sailed back and forth in the building breeze and enjoyed buzzing the RIB and riding the gentle ground swells in toward the beach. Bob Shirley sailed a little further up the coast to a surf spot and spent the next 45 minutes buzzing the longboards there.

Since many of our newer Weta sailors have not capsized in yet, Paul and I felt a primary objective of the weekend was to give them that experience. Viewing Wetamarine’s capsize recovery video, edited by and starring Wetamaven Miranda Powrie, had been assigned as homework. Today was the day to apply that learning in a real-world situation. They soon experienced how difficult it is to flip a Weta, especially in light winds. I figured out one way: sheet in both sails, drop the tiller, run to the bow and lean into the jib and hold the mast by the 3 halyards. The boat should trip over the lee ama and then cartwheel over.


From his position driving the RIB, Paul announced that there was a prize to the first boat to go over. I think I was first, but I shouldn’t be counted in the prize giving since I’ve got prior experience. After some initial struggle, David and Erica got their boat over, and while Erica set to work getting the boat back over, David casually took pictures with his camera from a short distance astern.


Tim got his boat over too, and righted it with the graceful style seen in Miranda’s video.


I got my boat almost completely righted, but then it wind vaned around (the sails were still cleated) so I had to uncleat before starting the roll over again. I was fortunate that the wind had dropped, since the flooded ama was now my lee ama, so the boat was on the verge of flipping again. Once I got moving, I tacked and sailed off on a reach to empty the flooded ama.

During our debrief later, all of us credited Miranda’s video for showing how it’s done, and we all rehashed the surprise that the Weta is not an easy boat to capsize in the first place.

While we were having a great time in the bright sun and light winds, flipping our boats under the watchful eyes of Paul and Jared on the RIB, a muscular and tanned beach lifeguard got a bit riled up about the apparent sailboats in distress offshore. He scrambled a paddleboard and padded out to intersect Mitch as he sailed near the pier. He gave the strapping young man a ride out to our sailing area and he proceeded to read Paul and Jarred the Riot Act. The poor guy was riled up because he was originally concerned about the multiple sailboats in distress off shore! (Okay, I guess we should’ve notified the coasties or the county lifeguards we would be doing this…) I think he needs to lay off the Monster and Red Bull.

While Paul and Jared gave the guy a ride back to the pier, the Weta fleet began reaching back to the harbor and then enjoyed an hour of sailing around in the freshening breeze in the open ocean. Around 3 p.m. we reconvened on Weta Beach and decided on one last sail out to the harbor buoy before heading in. Back at the dock, the next learning experience for a couple of our crew was docking. Not easy for any new sailor, and definitely a challenge on a Weta in the cul-de-sac of the finger piers in the very back corner of the harbor! Happily, no gel coat lost was today. Squeezing all the boats into a couple of slips and floating dock was also a challenge. Props go to Erica, who swam under a dock to thread a dock line where there were no cleats. Not 10 minutes later, we sighted a bat ray and at least two white tip reef sharks swim by the area she dove!

Tim Corcoran provided sail lube, otherwise known as beer and chips and dip, to aid in our de-rigging. Later, after showers and laundry management, we enjoyed a hearty BBQ chicken dinner with a couple dozen old codgers at Pierpont Bay Yacht Club, and sat through their general membership meeting. Many of the members asked Paul for an introduction, and so we told them a little about our activities of the day, and put on a quick slide show of 50 of visiting photographer Mischa Lopiano’s best shots and 10 minutes of raw edit video from Paul’s GoPro.

Sunday dawned a bit grey and cooler with a typical marine layer that slipped in overnight. The Wetas met for another Pow-wow in the PBYC clubhouse with coffee and donuts and discussed basics of racing – start sequences, start tactics, windward buoy approaches, tacking angles and gybing angles, basic right-of-way rules, and mark rounding.

Bob couldn’t join us today, having Bar Tender duty at the PBYC, and Craig and Roger didn’t return, so there was a spare PPS boat to sail. Paul motored out and anchored Orange, the 34-ft Contour Tri about half a mile off the beach to the north of the harbor. Jared drove the RIB out with a PPS weta alongside to drop a pin and then anchored to windward as the top mark. Paul juggled starts, filming with a GoPro, taking stills with his camera phone, and noting finishing orders. Jared managed to rig a Weta while bouncing all over, side-tied to the RIB in chaotic chop created by swells bouncing off the harbor jetty. Here’s the micro description of the snappy little practice races we had:

#1 Mitch and Bruce won the start
Mitch was first around the weather mark! Followed close by Bruce
3rd was Brian
Order of finish:  Bruce by 5 seconds, followed by Tim, then Brian
David and Erica didn’t know that we substituted the RIB as the wx mark!  (Paul’s bad)

#2  David and Erica won the start at the boat, with Mitch looking fast off the pin end
Wx mk was Bruce, Mitch, D+E, Tim, then Brian
Order of finish:  Bruce, Mitch, Tim, D+E, then Brian (close!)

#3  D+E start really well!  Bruce was late due to weed on his blade (not really, but it’s a plausible excuse for being lazy)
Mitch banged right side, and it paid as he was first around
Jared finishes rigging his boat and joins the fleet for the downwind finish

#4  Jared wins the start mid-line
Bruce had the boat end nailed at speed at +4 secs
Jared first around the wx mark, and second to finish behind Bruce who is wicked fast OTW
Third was photo finish between Jared and Tim, then Brian, then D+E

#5  Jared won the start by lurking at the boat
Bruce tried to port tack the fleet but had to duck two boats
He made up on the leg and rounded first.
Brian showed HOT speed upwind (Paul likes to think it was a result of some coaching)
Order of finish:  Bruce, Jared, Mitch, Brian, Tim, D+E

#6  Bruce and Mitch take the start at mid-line, and Jared at boat
Mitch went right again with D+E.  Brian fast again upwind
Jared first around by a WIDE margin (like 15 seconds) followed by Brian
Order of finish Jared, Bruce, Mitch, Brian (yah!), Tim, D+E

#7  No notes.  Did it even happen?

#8  Brian and Tim at the start
Jared went WAY left, leaving the whole fleet
It paid as he was first to the top mark, followed by Brian, then Tim
Order of finish:  Jared, Tim, Brian, Mitch, Bruce, D+E

#9 Race Committee announced a course change:  Double sausage
Mitch and D+E at the start
Mitch won the first two legs but didn’t know the new course!
Confusion ensues
Only Bruce, Jared, and D+E sail the whole course

After racing, we sailed back to the harbor and to de-rig at the ramp (Dave, Erica, and me) or the beach (Tim and Brian). Mitch enjoyed docking his charter going upstairs to enjoy a drink at the bar. This is a significant perk of chartering a boat over owning it!

We re-grouped after showers for a final de-brief at the bar with discussion of some of the close-calls on the race course, and some rigging tricks such as the Velcro autopilot. All agreed it was a great weekend of sailing and learning together. There was real enthusiasm for making this an annual event. Many of us are looking forward to reconnecting in just a couple weeks at the High Sierra weekend on Lake Huntington, and the race practice helped the un-initiated feel less apprehensive about joining participating in that regatta.


Many thanks to Paul Martson and Jared Brockway at PPS for spending their whole weekend in Ventura, juggling boats, keeping an eye on all of us, and putting it all together. Thanks to the good folks at PBYC for the use of their bathrooms and showers, and for letting us crash their club party, meet in their clubhouse, and join them for dinner on Saturday night. Thanks to Bob Shirley for donuts and coffee, and for sharing his local knowledge and years of Weta experience. Many thanks to photojournalism student, Mischa Lopiano, for all the great shots of us on the water. A special shout out to Raging Red Bull Ronny, the Ventura County lifeguard, who gave us a good chuckle at his expense. (Really, Ronny’s genuine concern for our welfare is no laughing matter.) And of course, many thanks to Miranda Powrie and Wetamarine for helping us defray the costs of putting on this great Weta Weekend.