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