Prince Planet

Open letter to Windrush:- Windrush 14 / Nacra 430 / Weta Comparo....

57 posts in this topic

OK guys 'n' gals, I know I'll make no friends by postng this - and lose any friends I might have had - but just had to get this off my chest...
These observations after sailing at - and talking to - the Weta guy after the Australia Day Regatta at Kurnell Catamaran Club...

This email was sent to Brett at Windrush for comment...

 

Windrush 14 / Weta / Nacra 430
I was sailing at Kurnell Cat Club - doing their Australia Day Regatta on Monday - the only Windrush 14 there - a Nacra 430 and a Weta trimaran also attended.
At one stage - was keeping pace with the Nacra 14sq's - but ultimately came in behind the Nacra, and clearly ahead of the Weta. Seems the Weta is no good in stronger / rougher conditions - too much wetted hull area - and the viscous chop in Botany Bay means it 'crashes' through violently...
Bad enough on a 14ft cat - with one hull skimming the waves - let alone 2 hulls trying to get through that steep chop...

20 + knot gusts whipping up the waves (going to windward) makes for a hard 'slog' on Botany Bay...

The Nacra 430 was using a spinnaker – I'm pretty sure – (the Weta certainly was) – and out on trapeze - so no hope to stay with him. I'm too gutless to get out on trap in stronger / rougher conditions - as I had a really bad/scary experience on the W14 when I got caught behind the boat - fell backwards on trapeze, and couldn't unhook... felt really helpless. Lots of noahs patrol there - or at least that's the feeling you get when you're in the water for more than a few minutes - apart from nearly drowning - and I was in the drink for close to 10 minutes - without assistance - trying to get back on the boat and flailing around etc...

Anyway, got talking to the Weta guy after the race. Funny how they seem to be selling boats - and that their pricing is similar, if not MORE expensive than the Windy. Nacra are obviously selling boats too - so why is it that the Windrush 14 isn't?
The Weta website is nice - it's informative - it's modern - and they have a Facebook link etc etc... likewise Nacra still see a market for 14ft cats...

Brett, a LOT has to do with NO promotion for the Windrush 14. The page on your site is sooooo out of date it isn't funny - with zero excitement factor.  Nothing about the many GREAT features of the boat either...

OK, it isn't all your fault - I realise that. When I asked the guys from Port Kembla Sailing Club to come up to 'show some Windrush strength' - they declined - or at least Tony did. He said that they'd rather sail at Illawarra Yacht Club, than race at a 'proper' Catamaran Club like Kurnell...  - and honestly, t's not really that far to travel once a year , is it?
Typical. And boy, did I get up Tony about it...

(Yes, I've travelled to PKSC for their regatta and will do so again...)
And it was the same with Warren - they'd rather not travel an hour or 2 to help kick-start the Sydney scene again... so it's all up to me. Even when Kurnell had their Junior Try Sailing Day - no help from any other Windrush sailors when I asked for some help...

 

BTW, last season I travelled to Walagoot Lake to help Tony out... so I do try to fly the flag when I can... just wish there was some reciprocation occasionally...

I guess I'm annoyed and frustrated at the lack of vision - and the lack of support from the local Windrush sailors, and the lack of promotion from your end.
Of course, I do realise that the F18 is the priority – and so it should be – but the W14 is STILL a contender - if only we could all pull together to TELL people about it...

OK Brett, could you pleeeez do me a small favour? Place a link on your Windrush 14 page to my site - at least there is a nice photo gallery there - and reasons to give the Windrush 14 serious consideration...
http://www.herohoists.com.au/windrush-catamarans.html

I'm now gonna try to get some serious shots of the W14 in action – a nicely shot video etc – and to highlight WHY a new sailor should choose the boat over things like the Weta and Nacra 430.

All I'm asking for is a little assistance now and then...
I sincerely hope you'll 'get on board' with me...

Back 2U…
:)

Thx, Rohan
Hero Hoists

 

PS
Hmmmm - I wonder just how many friends I've lost by posting this? I guess you'll all let me know...

:p

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just my tuppence.  I've noticed the Weta's, there was one at Manno this last weekend.  Similar situation but I don't think you stump up for a Weta to beat 14 foot cats (you've wasted your money if you have).  I think they must be a lot of fun on their own and good racing Weta a Weta.  Thing is you can have some fun without having to trap.  They seem quite big too, not something for racing around with our cats!

 

I've always hated traps, did my time on a Fireball during which time someone got trapped under the boat, didn't make it out.

 

The Bethwaite system seemed good and Allen are doing a similar one, little bit of controversy (http://forums.sailinganarchy.com/index.php?showtopic=162984) but I'd be much happier with one of those when trapping.

 

I imagine that Windrush get far more dime for the fancy stuff nowadays, leaving the 14's to the rest of us and both Windy and Mari are quite dated.  If you had the dime you'd probably put it into a Taipan or A rather than an exy 14.

 

Love to be wrong though and love the 14ft racing scene although it does seem to have dropped off a little over the recent years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's tough in any class to keep the interest. The Maricats get good support from the manufacture but I can assure you the used parts play a bigger part than new so how can the dealer and manufacture survive if they don't get the support. My sailing is my passion and I can only hope my grand children will take an interest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you have the money to put into an A you'd better have the money to put into a new one next year too, as this years is going to be outdated.  Was talking to some of the taipan guys at their Nats at Tanilba about someone in the A's who had spent $$$$$$ buying a new set of the latest curved center boards/foils only to have a week later the new Z shaped boards come on the market, bang goes the money you spent on the new curved boards.

At least the 14s don't have that sort of turnover of design, I feel its a good thing, may be a bad thing too.  Yet look at classes like the heron, slow, old, yet there still seems to be a fair following.  The paper tigers are also not what you'd call of the latest design but their class seems strong too.

Good to hear from you anyway Rohan.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I have the Bethwaite Trapeze system now - in combo with a Da Kine windsurfing seat harness - but haven't used it yet...
Can't seem to find a steady 15 knot wind to practice the trapping... it's always either 20 knots +, big waves and gusty, or too light for me to get out - I'm probably 105kgs fully-laden with wetsuit and all sailing gear on...  sigh... :p

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rohan

 

I think you have not lost any friends. Everyone supports people who promote the class.

 

I think the biggest problem at the moment is the age of the boat and the sailors. Basically we are all getting older and other things in life are becoming more important. Plus we have all done the regatta, State National thing.

 

I'm currently living in Shellharbour and working in Bega so when I come home on weekends I've got other things to do than race my windy, not that I don't want to but I do like to see the wife and kids, who are not kids anymore but I still like to see them and their partners all the same.

 

I try to get a run at Wollagoot especially as I'm 10 minutes away when I stay in Tathra weekends but trying to sail there and at PKSC really isn't an option if your keen on results.

 

There are heaps of windies around, most small clubs support windies and maris but all these prople like to sail at their own club once a week.

 

If you really want to get regattas going again you need to attract younger people into the class, who will get us older buggers excited again and they are attracted to the faster boats taipans, vipers etc.

 

Windies are like all older classes sabres, impulse even mirror dinghies, they survive by the people who like to sail them. sometime they will have a resurgence and other times reduce. You can put a huge promotion into the class and you will build the numbers up, but the trick is keeping them there.

 

Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Paul.

I appreciate the comments you've made - and yes, I do appreciate that family is the priority. And yes, your home club wil always take precedence. However your basic premise is that the Windrush 14 is 'old'.

I disagree. Apparently the yardstick of the 'latest' design - the Nacra 430 is the same - or no better. The Windrush 14 can be optioned with a spinnaker.
That would make it as fast around the course - with a good sailor onboard (not me...) - as the Nacra 430?
Anyone pleez correct me if I'm way off the mark? If Warren or Michael Pfeiffer were there last Monday - sailing Super Sloop – I doubt the Nacra 430 would have finished ahead of them - and the Nacra 14sq's would've taken notice too. At one stage I was level-pegging with them - until I screwed up one windward leg badly - soooooo slow - and all my fault... so they got away...
The Windrush 14 is still 'contemporary' in many respects - it can be cartopped - it can be sailed 1 or 2-up. Same config as the Nacra 430.
It's SIMPLE - unlike a PT - and it's easy to rig. It's now foam sandwich - and lighter (I understand) than the N430 - so easier to handle on the beach - and most importantly - to get off the trailer...
Unless something else comes along that has features and performance above and beyond the W14 - how is it not a contender?
It comes down to perception. The design was way ahead of the crowd when it appeared - and the unique features, with the upgrades - have certainly kept it at the front of the fleet, along with the Maricat...

No, I dont have shares in Windrush - I simply see the boat for what it is - while others may see it as 'old'... which is a pity.
Hold on - the Paper Tiger is older - yet they still have good numbers and seem to somehow flourish? Funny that... And should I mention the Laser? That's an old 'plastic' boat too...
Methinks that it's a lack of vision - more than anything - and a defeatist attitude - and everyone more interested in doing their own thing than occasionally REALLY pulling together to show strength at 'key' events...
My boat looks 'f'n' fantastic - I get comments all the time... even the Nacra 14sq guys have passed comments - 'pretty boat'... :)
I was sailing off Clontarf a few weekends ago - with the guy who sold me my Elgrande - he was sailing my 'classic' boat - the one from 1982 - and having the 'best time' in his own words... the comments on the beach and on the water were more than 'nice' - there was a fleet of skiffs sailing past - I think they may have been 470's or something similar - the skipper on one shouts at Phil - "What catamaran is that?

He shouts back - "It's a Windrush" They shout back - "Nice boat!!!"
Now you tell me - isn't that telling?
Presentation is EVERYTHING... so is attitude.
I'm just sayin'... everything has to be 'sold' and presented properly -  even Coca Cola and Pepsi still advertise - how 'classic' are they?
:p

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My Foamy with new sails and kite kit looks like a million bucks, i reckon every windy sailor should make the move. Downwind is more exciting than up wind now. Doing the Wild thing all the way to the botton mark is awsome. Flying past the start/Finish boat on one hull is a stylish way to finish a race if you ask me.
 
Just my two cents worth.
 
The best advertising in my book is showing up with a swish Boat.
 
PS - those Wetas are fast in the right hands.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you find the kite lifts the bows, or is it even more prone to pitchpole in stronger breezes? Just curious...
PP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nup it lifts the nose right up out of the water. If you don't sit a bit forward she looks like a plane taking off. Lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rohan,

Thanks for the bagging!

A text on the Friday before the regatta is somewhat short notice of your intention to promote the Windrush 14.  Personally I have supported our local 'Australia Day' regatta at IYC - part of the 179 year history this regatta, the longest continuously run regatta in the world - call me a patriotic fool.

For your information I sailed this regatta with two new comers to Windrush 14 sailing (Geeko & Hot Pepper).  I have taken offense to your criticism of PKSC, which along with Southern Highlands Sailing Club, is one of the few strong Windrush fleets on the Eastern Seaboard, and you last visited when?

The following lists the W14's currently sailing at PKSC, look at the age of the sailors, Old sailors generally sail well but don't travel quite so well.  Excluding our own boats, Paul and I have rebuilt 4 of these into our club.  I differ in opinion and believe the way to build a strong class begins at club level.  Just look at the Mari's at Mannering Park.

 

Boat Class Age Yabby Windrush Supersloop 70's Groove Thing Windrush Supersloop 50's Hot Pepper Windrush Supersloop 50's Gecko Windrush Supersloop 40's Jackpot Windrush Supersloop 50's Lady & the Tramp Windrush Supersloop 18 Silver Fox Windrush Supersloop 50's Dark Horse Windrush Supersloop 60's Seachange Windrush Supersloop 60's Take 2 Windrush Supersloop 50's Chesha Cat Windrush Supersloop

60's

 

Cheers

 

Tony

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rohan

 

Of course the windy is a good boat, like the PT it's still around! PTs in NSW are not that strong but are in Vic and NZ thus good numbers at their Nats and the by annual event with NZ lads. To get the class back strong we need to attack on a multiple front, attendance at regattas is one way but support of new sailors at club level is required to.

 

If you are really keen to get the class up you need to canvas all sailors in 14' cat class, develop a implementation plan, gain the support of existing sailors and the hardest part is getting everybody to participate.

 

At present Tony and Hugh are working hard at club level and getting results, our numbers are starting to grow with people who look to be in the class for a while which great for the class but better for PKSC. 

 

If each club could grow their 14 numbers then regattas and states would naturally follow.

 

Good on you for starting this thread. It would be good to get ideas from other 14 sailors with similar time in the sport and new sailors to tell us what they like to see in the class.

 

Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Hi ,

          for my part I have been posting a few action videos on Youtube of sailing on the Windrush 14 , one for enjoyment but two to help promote the class and the places we sail .  I post most of my clips onto the Denmark Yacht Club facebook page , again in the hope it may help attract more members .

  We can but try .

  here are the links to all my youtube clips featuring the WW14 , feel free to pass them around  if it helps promote the class.

 Rgds   . 

 

 http://youtu.be/m4e_5tlUZNQ

http://youtu.be/7gzOauXIk_E

 http://youtu.be/1Ug2gRJG6sc

http://youtu.be/7fB9iOM0hZ0

 http://youtu.be/wT1uN3-AZ3A

http://youtu.be/DOzaUeeNXZ4

http://youtu.be/8vvCTEsXFmE

http://youtu.be/Ya44ZDw-gkg

http://youtu.be/onR9P_WvOtM

http://youtu.be/fzsNagvxZEc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Plenty of great footage there George II, thanks for sharing.  Good to see the pin heads are still performing well against the square top in WA.

Tony

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rohan,

Thanks for the bagging!

A text on the Friday before the regatta is somewhat short notice of your intention to promote the Windrush 14.  Personally I have supported our local 'Australia Day' regatta at IYC - part of the 179 year history this regatta, the longest continuously run regatta in the world - call me a patriotic fool.

For your information I sailed this regatta with two new comers to Windrush 14 sailing (Geeko & Hot Pepper).  I have taken offense to your criticism of PKSC, which along with Southern Highlands Sailing Club, is one of the few strong Windrush fleets on the Eastern Seaboard, and you last visited when?

The following lists the W14's currently sailing at PKSC, look at the age of the sailors, Old sailors generally sail well but don't travel quite so well.  Excluding our own boats, Paul and I have rebuilt 4 of these into our club.  I differ in opinion and believe the way to build a strong class begins at club level.  Just look at the Mari's at Mannering Park.

 

Boat Class Age Yabby Windrush Supersloop 70's Groove Thing Windrush Supersloop 50's Hot Pepper Windrush Supersloop 50's Gecko Windrush Supersloop 40's Jackpot Windrush Supersloop 50's Lady & the Tramp Windrush Supersloop 18 Silver Fox Windrush Supersloop 50's Dark Horse Windrush Supersloop 60's Seachange Windrush Supersloop 60's Take 2 Windrush Supersloop 50's Chesha Cat Windrush Supersloop

60's

 

Cheers

 

Tony

Hey Tony, on the few occasions I've asked, it's always been a 'no'... we have other plans. From both North and South of Sydney. That's happened at least 3 times - and probably more...

According to Google it's about 1hr 9 mins to Kurnelll from Port Kembla - let's call it 1.5hrs to be fair.

Last time you invited me to sail at the Kembla Classic, I was there...

The Illawarra Yacht Club is just that - a yacht club. KCC is a Catamaran Club - they have juniors - but unless we show some strength there occasionally, they will all go to Nacra 430's – or they'll be crew on their father's larger boat... or even a Weta.

BTW, there were kids there asking me questions about my boat - but at only 1 Windrush 14 'flying the flag' - it's not gonna 'tip' them over into badgering their dads for one... and I was thinking to myself - another lost opportunity... :(

Honestly, I do appreciate the efforts at club level - I really do - but just occasionally we ALL have to come together to promote the CLASS...

The Windrush 14 'group' might be surprised at the effectiveness of doing something different - stepping outside their local club scene - to help promote the boat to a different audience - that's all I'm requesting - it's not out of self-interest at all - I simply want the boat to be seen in good numbers at certain key events here on the East Coast - but we all gotta get together to make it happen...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rohan

 

Of course the windy is a good boat, like the PT it's still around! PTs in NSW are not that strong but are in Vic and NZ thus good numbers at their Nats and the by annual event with NZ lads. To get the class back strong we need to attack on a multiple front, attendance at regattas is one way but support of new sailors at club level is required to.

 

If you are really keen to get the class up you need to canvas all sailors in 14' cat class, develop a implementation plan, gain the support of existing sailors and the hardest part is getting everybody to participate.

 

At present Tony and Hugh are working hard at club level and getting results, our numbers are starting to grow with people who look to be in the class for a while which great for the class but better for PKSC. 

 

If each club could grow their 14 numbers then regattas and states would naturally follow.

 

Good on you for starting this thread. It would be good to get ideas from other 14 sailors with similar time in the sport and new sailors to tell us what they like to see in the class.

 

Paul

Hey Paul,

I knew I'd put a few noses out of joint by being so upfront - but I'm equally frustrated by Windrush - I mean can't they see the sales of Weta and Nacra 430? Surely it's not too much of a stretch to update the Windrush 14 page...? I'm sure it hasn't been touched in over - what - 10 years?

Isn't it time to call it a Windrush 430? Surely that could've happened with the intro of the square top? I mean this is 2015 - not 1975...

:p

And, Isn't it about time they developed an easier / foolproof / safer way to raise the mast single-handed? Something that even a female or teenager of average strength could do? What about a lighter top section - (they used to offer a 2-piece mast) - to reduce the overall weight of the mast - so you didn't have to struggle to raise it in any kind of wind? A way to tension the luff of the jib - without having to be Hercules, or know knots? Small but very important things...

It's attention to detail - and it's how I run my business..

I'm gonna keep hassling Brett about all this - even tho' I'll end up pissing him off too...

:(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good discussion.....

Maricat are in a similar situation. Maricats are currently the dominate class in 14 ft cat racing, .... but almost no visible support from the manufacturer. There does not even appear to be a mention of Maricat on the Brisbane Cat Centre website.

The promotion has been largely driven by Mick and Darcy and the Mannering Park Sailing Club......and the Maricat Assoc and this cat sailor forum.

The 40 year old designs of Maricat, Windrush, PT and Arrow are still faster on the water than the newer (heavy) designs. Obviously there is considerable debate about man or boat. All classes are heavily dominated by 50+ year old skippers, but Ethan on his Windy and Lachlan Cook (on anything) are up at the front of the fleets.

Windies have going square top and kite, Arrows have square tops. Rohan has played with a square top and kite on his Mari.

If you like building and playing get a PT or Arrow, if you prefer Supersloop get a Windy, of you like to sail SS and cat rigged then Mari is probably best.......as for a Nacra 430 or Weta....well !!!!!!!!

In a couple of weeks the Maricats are heading to Oberon in the central west for a regatta. Hopefully this regatta will attract some of the Maricats that we know reside in the west of the state.

I almost never sail at my nearest club mainly due to lack of water and wind.........so the only chance I get to sail is to travel to regattas......but if I had a prestine bit of water at my backdoor I would struggle for motivation to travel 5 or 6 hours for a sail.....

But the Maricat Assoc has held events at clubs where we know there are 9 or 10 local Maris but then only 2 of the locals sailed in the events...........but then last year we held an event at Queens Lake and 28 boats came, some travelling for 10 hours........so who knows.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good discussion.....

Maricat are in a similar situation. Maricats are currently the dominate class in 14 ft cat racing, .... but almost no visible support from the manufacturer. There does not even appear to be a mention of Maricat on the Brisbane Cat Centre website.

The promotion has been largely driven by Mick and Darcy and the Mannering Park Sailing Club......and the Maricat Assoc and this cat sailor forum.

The 40 year old designs of Maricat, Windrush, PT and Arrow are still faster on the water than the newer (heavy) designs. Obviously there is considerable debate about man or boat. All classes are heavily dominated by 50+ year old skippers, but Ethan on his Windy and Lachlan Cook (on anything) are up at the front of the fleets.

Windies have going square top and kite, Arrows have square tops. Rohan has played with a square top and kite on his Mari.

If you like building and playing get a PT or Arrow, if you prefer Supersloop get a Windy, of you like to sail SS and cat rigged then Mari is probably best.......as for a Nacra 430 or Weta....well !!!!!!!!

In a couple of weeks the Maricats are heading to Oberon in the central west for a regatta. Hopefully this regatta will attract some of the Maricats that we know reside in the west of the state.

I almost never sail at my nearest club mainly due to lack of water and wind.........so the only chance I get to sail is to travel to regattas......but if I had a prestine bit of water at my backdoor I would struggle for motivation to travel 5 or 6 hours for a sail.....

But the Maricat Assoc has held events at clubs where we know there are 9 or 10 local Maris but then only 2 of the locals sailed in the events...........but then last year we held an event at Queens Lake and 28 boats came, some travelling for 10 hours........so who knows.

Then it's probably time the guys who want to see the classes in question survive start talking as a group - strongly - to the manufacturers...

At least Windrush has a page devoted to the W14 - albeit a pathetic attempt...

I dunno - what is the logical progression to the bigger boats - is it the home-built classes? I doubt it in this time-poor age - surely something simple and easy is the way to get more potential sailors into the cat-sailing community?

Maybe if Windrush sold more 14s - those guys would then - logically - step into a Windrush Edge?

When the AC45's were on Sydney Harbour - surely that was the time to do some promotion... as in "This is your first step into the America's Cup..."

The opportunities just aren't being seized - and that's a real shame...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a Weta owner I can comment on some of the remarks about the boat in rough conditions and, as I have a background in international marketing, the success of the Weta internationally which has allowed it to sell 1000 boats in 6 years.

 

Yes the Weta doesn't like steep choppy seas upwind (what I refer to as a the Sydney Harbour weekend "washing machine" effect from all the boat traffic)

Three hulls means waves hit you three times (and you get three times as wet) and the centre hull slams like a monohull. OTOH sitting on the floats upwind wearing the "safety" (aka hiking) harness is very comfortable especially for people with forked knees from Laser sailing.

 

That said, off the wind it's a different experience and if you get your weight to the back it's very stable and forgiving and will bounce over the waves. If you do come down over a wave and into the one in front, all that buoyancy from three hulls allows it to pop up and carry on.

 

I think the success of the Weta has been due to a number of factors:

- Design

It hits the sweet spot for a boat in that it can be used by families with kids and older sailors who want "skiff-like" performance but without hard work of traps or swimming all the time. And it's forgiving if you screw up - yes, you can capsize but only if you ignore the warning signs - and if you do go over it rights like a monohull. Also it stores in the space of a Laser which makes it easier to get into crowded boat parks. I realise that none of this is revolutionary and many cats can claim the same benefits.

- Cost

OK it's getting expensive due to the drop in the value of the Aussie dollar but you still get a lot of boat for your money and they do hold their value. Being made in China/Indonesia has allowed them to include higher spec materials (mainly carbon) than you'd have on some of the older multihull designs. But they have revised the boat over the lifetime and introduced a new model for 2015 so it continues to improve.

- Materials

It's well thought out and light so that one person can put it together in 25 mins. The mylar sails last well and the boat is fairly maintenance free. Repairs are cheap (particularly if you use surf ski repairers for the floats). Nothing particularly unique but it's a question of packaging.

- Marketing

They did get it right in some markets, especially the USA and France where they had enthusiastic distributors and owners who used YouTube to share their exploits. Timing has a lot to do with it - the GoPro arrived just at the right moment.

- Digital Media

Using the media is really important and Weta have been good at publicising their events and encouraging local reps/class associations to do the same. You'll also see banner ads for Weta on many sailing sites. You have to use all the media outlets and keep using them. A static website that can't be read on mobiles is useless. It's not rocket science (OK maybe a little) but it does require resources and regular management.

- Miranda Powie
She was marketing manager for 3 years and did an awesome job with videos, tips, updates etc. Now gone on to bigger things.

 

Australia is still catching up (we now have 10 boats in the Sydney area) and there are now four distributors across the states. There's regular racing at Pittwater with PBSC (no planes landing on your head there  - sorry KCC) as well as a calendar of other events. We also have a Website for Australia an owners Facebook Page which is automatically updated from the Calendar, Austrlaian Forums and the Weta Wiki.

 

Could a cat manufacturer achieve the same success?
You could say one already has, notably Hobie, but they seem more interested in the Kayak market - understandably as it has had much bigger growth over the past 10 years whereas sailing participation has been flat or declining. Now that cat sailing is back in the Olympics and Amercias Cup there is probably more interest in multi hulls than before. But it has to be packaged effectively, made user-friendly - and have the right marketing. A difficult combination for many small manufacturers to get right.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a Weta owner I can comment on some of the remarks about the boat in rough conditions and, as I have a background in international marketing, the success of the Weta internationally which has allowed it to sell 1000 boats in 6 years.

 

Yes the Weta doesn't like steep choppy seas upwind (what I refer to as a the Sydney Harbour weekend "washing machine" effect from all the boat traffic)

Three hulls means waves hit you three times (and you get three times as wet) and the centre hull slams like a monohull. OTOH sitting on the floats upwind wearing the "safety" (aka hiking) harness is very comfortable especially for people with forked knees from Laser sailing.

 

That said, off the wind it's a different experience and if you get your weight to the back it's very stable and forgiving and will bounce over the waves. If you do come down over a wave and into the one in front, all that buoyancy from three hulls allows it to pop up and carry on.

 

I think the success of the Weta has been due to a number of factors:

- Design

It hits the sweet spot for a boat in that it can be used by families with kids and older sailors who want "skiff-like" performance but without hard work of traps or swimming all the time. And it's forgiving if you screw up - yes, you can capsize but only if you ignore the warning signs - and if you do go over it rights like a monohull. Also it stores in the space of a Laser which makes it easier to get into crowded boat parks. I realise that none of this is revolutionary and many cats can claim the same benefits.

- Cost

OK it's getting expensive due to the drop in the value of the Aussie dollar but you still get a lot of boat for your money and they do hold their value. Being made in China/Indonesia has allowed them to include higher spec materials (mainly carbon) than you'd have on some of the older multihull designs. But they have revised the boat over the lifetime and introduced a new model for 2015 so it continues to improve.

- Materials

It's well thought out and light so that one person can put it together in 25 mins. The mylar sails last well and the boat is fairly maintenance free. Repairs are cheap (particularly if you use surf ski repairers for the floats). Nothing particularly unique but it's a question of packaging.

- Marketing

They did get it right in some markets, especially the USA and France where they had enthusiastic distributors and owners who used YouTube to share their exploits. Timing has a lot to do with it - the GoPro arrived just at the right moment.

- Digital Media

Using the media is really important and Weta have been good at publicising their events and encouraging local reps/class associations to do the same. You'll also see banner ads for Weta on many sailing sites. You have to use all the media outlets and keep using them. A static website that can't be read on mobiles is useless. It's not rocket science (OK maybe a little) but it does require resources and regular management.

- Miranda Powie

She was marketing manager for 3 years and did an awesome job with videos, tips, updates etc. Now gone on to bigger things.

 

Australia is still catching up (we now have 10 boats in the Sydney area) and there are now four distributors across the states. There's regular racing at Pittwater with PBSC (no planes landing on your head there  - sorry KCC) as well as a calendar of other events. We also have a Website for Australia an owners Facebook Page which is automatically updated from the Calendar, Austrlaian Forums and the Weta Wiki.

 

Could a cat manufacturer achieve the same success?

You could say one already has, notably Hobie, but they seem more interested in the Kayak market - understandably as it has had much bigger growth over the past 10 years whereas sailing participation has been flat or declining. Now that cat sailing is back in the Olympics and Amercias Cup there is probably more interest in multi hulls than before. But it has to be packaged effectively, made user-friendly - and have the right marketing. A difficult combination for many small manufacturers to get right.

Hey Paul.

thanks for your observations - much appreciated... and it's also nice to see that Weta owners / enthusiasts take notice of the catamaran forums..

I especially agree with your words "But it has to be packaged effectively, made user-friendly - and have the right marketing"

That stuff isn't so hard - it's really a matter of seeing the unique features of each design - and highlighting them creatively...

I also come from a marketing & design background - so when I see potentially good designs struggling through ineffective promotion, I get frustrated...

Having said that, I'm curious - why did you choose the Weta? Is it the only real advantage (at least that I can see) of less storage space needed?

A Windrush 14 can be rigged and sailed single-handed, and when you have your stuff sorted, it can also take no more than 1/2hr to set-up... it doesn't need a trapeze to be competitive in mixed-fleet racing, and can be car-topped too - which is something most don't realise or appreciate. Now that the boat is foam sandwich, it's even easier to manipulate... and with beach wheels, can be launched and retrieved anywhere relatively easily.

Hmmm - I think I may just have to make it to PBSC to 'demonstrate' one day soon - but it means leaving the business in the hands of someone else for a day...

Of course, I don't expect to 'convert' anyone - coz while 2 hulls is twice the fun, 3 hulls is even bettah? Nevertheless, it may be enlightening, and a revelation for all those Hobie guys to see a 'new' Windrush 14 up close...

I'll see if I can swing it...

:)

Rohan

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's wrong with the weta. I've raced against them at Wollagoot and Jervis Bay. Went really well and the people who sail them are really pleasant. I wouldn't hesitate to associate with then at any event.

I race on trailable yachts, sharpies and even played off shore. All classes have their strong points and weak points nature of the beast

To increase the class start at club level, support other local clubs sailing windows who are not so experienced and you might get more at regattas etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why did I choose the Weta?

 

I live in an apartment in Potts Point overlooking Sydney harbour and have raced on other peoples' boats since moving to Sydney 5 years ago. But there are some days where you really want to go sailing and I wanted something I could take out myself (and friends too), that could be rigged quickly single handed and that would have more exciting performance than a Laser (been there - done that).

 

I also wanted something modern that used modern materials and was developed in the last 10 years - I feel that classic boats are interesting to their owners but a bugger to look after and a bugger to sail. The Finn being the prime example.

 

Originally I was looking at single-handed skiffs because I've a background in asymmetric sports-boats but thought the learning curve involved too much swimming. Then I saw the video of the Weta at the Double Dammed race in 2011 and thought that's exactly what I need - a skiff with training wheels! I come from a monohull background so having a boat that tacks immediately appeals to me too. There are many other boats that can offer the same thrills but some come at the cost of ease of use (e.g. Moth) or they remove the risk and remove the fun - e.g. the Hobie Wave.

 

So then looked at more videos and the manufacturers website, I joined the owners forum, found it was really well supported by the manufacturer, owners and distributors. Got some great feedback in what to look for in a second hand boat and then bought one in Melbourne and had it shipped up to Sydney.

 

My next problem was finding somewhere to sail and store it - I quickly discovered all the boatparks at clubs in the area are full (with many boats that never move) and my solution was to moor it on the road as I discovered there's a public boat pontoon in nearby Rushcutters Bay which is accessed by a gantry 2m wide - and the Weta is 1.98m wide on the trolley. Result!

 

Things that might put me off the Windrush

I'm a Pom who moved here in 2007 and I'd never seen or heard of a Windrush until I entered the Peter Loft Marathon around Lion Island from Bayview last year. Admittedly I'd mostly been sailing in bigger boats until then. I haven't seen one close up but here are my impressions:

Old design - it does look its age a bit.

Boom - headache

Rig - a bit complicated so 1/2 hr for the experienced might be doubled for the average user

Materials - Mylar sails are a plus but it still has aluminium mast and boom. No Dyneema, No Carbon - has it kept up with new developments?

Trapeze - I suffer from lower back problems and anything that requires continuous compression of the spine kills me for days after sailing.

Cats - Having to raft at the tacks isn't my idea of fun

Car Topping - Yea but no. I don't own a car 'cos it's a pain to own one in Potts Point. We use GoGet for short journeys and rental companies for longer ones (no tow bars). I rent a Ute to tow the boat to Pittwater and use DriveMyCarRentals for longer road trips (they have tow bar cars).

 

The clincher is the Windrush website is down (http://www.windrushyachts.com.au) it's based on Joomla, the site favicon hasn't been updated and any publicity I've found looks it was designed in the 1970s. The manufacturer also seems to be selling a load of other boats - so not much focus there. It doesn't seem to have any regional distributors and there's only a class association in WA. There's no Facebook Pages or Groups, YouTube channel, Forums or Wikipedia entry (rocket science?).

 

Hope that helps

 

Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rohan

Read Paul's post. The bottom line is I sail windies cause that's what me and my mates sail at PKSC. If I was competitive I would be on another class with with regattas states and nats. I think you missed the heyday. Basically if you want a progressive class go sail a progressive class.

As Paul says his weta suits him my windy suit me and the guys at Port.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Paul

If you get the opportunity come down to Callala Bay on Jervis Bay next October long weekend. Excellent sailing and all the local weta guys turn up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now