When it comes to sailing, we are always chasing the wind. At times, the wind ceases to exist or may be insurmountable. 2015 Zhik Weta Nationals became the latter. Cue the insanity! Due to conditions, the majority of this friendly fleet partnered together and sailed two up. Only a select few sailors decided to brave the intensity and go at it on their own.
Wednesday, after a two hour postponement, races were abandoned for the day. On Thursday, boats headed out on Currituck Sound where the craziness began with multiple capsizes (some well before the start), a pitchpole, dismast, broken centerboard and the list goes on. Hardy Peters from Nor’Banks working the safety boat got his workout for the day after being in the water five times to assist sailors. This contest turned into “survival of the fittest” not only for the sailors but for their boats as well.
When Friday arrived, it provided some incredible sailing since there was less disparity between the sustained wind and gusts in the 20’s as light rain fell in the area. The fleet had some incredible starts off the line as ama hiking was seen everywhere throughout the course. One Weta sailor said, “Bring it on!”
As the newly formed team of Bruce Fleming and Stephanie hit their stride, it became a show of “Keeping Up With Krantz”. An entanglement near the weather mark in race three provided some front row entertainment for onlookers in the mark boat and those nearby sailors. Fleming and Stephanie were on the layline for the weather mark flying on a starboard tack as half the fleet was approaching on a port tack. Stephanie called out to Fleming that the first two boats were within range. Mike Krantz in boat number one tacked ten boat lengths in front and was having some trouble. A near capsize as his boat went vertical, hit the bottom and Krantz climbed up the tramp and was off sailing again. As this was happening, Richard Stephens and Linda Wright were boat number two approaching as “starboard” was shouted out by Stephanie as a warning. Oh no! It looked like a t-bone was imminent! At the last second, major disaster averted as Stephens and Wright hit Fleming and Stephanie’s port aka and their bowsprit busted at a 90 degree angle. Just as the team of Stephens/Wright thought they were safe, their main almost got entangled with Krantz’ boat. Some quick maneuvering by Krantz near the mark avoided another disaster. Even with all of this, many of the sailors had it dialed in and were ready for more racing!
Saturday, which was supposed to be the final day and included a distance race, brought a deluge of rain. In addition, conditions worsened with sustained winds in the 30’s and gusts in the 40’s. The regatta was called that morning and Krantz, one of the few single handers was crowned the National Champion.
Nationals brought in sailors as far as the West Coast, Midwest, New York and Florida to this coastal destination of Duck in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. First timers were shocked at all the housing and development which provided a great vacation destination for sailors and non-sailors alike. Some of the highlights included the Wright Brothers Museum in Kitty Hawk, along with North Carolina lighthouses and the infamous Duck Donuts. During sailing down time, the opportunity for socialization was immense. Three group dinners were held at various locations which provided the perfect setting to mingle and get to know Weta sailors from other parts of the country. This class is made up of a great group of people. “We’re all characters in our own special way which makes it fun to be together!”
One Weta sailor had a regatta cancelled at home since Windfinder said zero. After heading out to the coast of North Carolina for Nationals 36 hours later, it was blowing like mad. It only takes a front to move through for conditions to change quickly. Although the fleet didn’t get in four days of racing, Friday was the highlight. Wish there was more of that!