I'm reaching out to you sailors that have made this transition or know of someone who has. I could look through all the info that Weta has on line but I really want some unbiased opinions. I'm in my 70's and 150 lbs. and most of my sailing is without the weight benefit of crew. I really like sailing alone and there have been many days that I've had to pack it in early because I couldn't find anyone to go with me. In 2018 I downsized from a 5.7 to a 5.0. I love my little G-Cat but it too is getting to be a bit much. It's not trailering and stepping the mast, it's more the narrow wind range that I'm now comfortable in. When whitecaps start, I have to think about coming in. I would feel safer in the Weta because I could push it harder and if I did pitch-pole it, I could right it by myself. The other thing is that unless I'm on the wire, the G-Cat is terribly uncomfortable now and it looks like the Weta would be better because of the different sitting position. There's one other really important thing: Access to launch areas. Unless you are a member of a sailing club there's only one place in the entire City of Sarasota where you can beach launch. Because of the Weta's light weight and easy to use built in dolly more places would be available to me. So I would be trading a little performance for convenience and safety. Please share your thoughts.
I haven't sailed one, but I've raced along with some (even hit one!) at the Juana Good Time Regatta in Navarre Beach FL: http://www.juanaspagodas.com/regattanews.htm There are usually a bunch there....seems like an organized group with some dealer or club support. I actually thought they came from down your way to promote the product. Might want to check with the Weta folks.....could be worth a trip to the panhandle in September.
It also looks like there are several owners in your area.....maybe you could track 'em down and get a ride!
My answer is yes.
There are a few in my area, and when they first appeared the west coast dealer was offering demo rides on them. Fun little boat even in some windy conditions.
Keep an eye out here for used boats
New boats run about $16K to $18K depending on the dealer and options, and you still need to get a trailer if you planning to travel.
With that, a Weta is something I am considering as a next boat.
Wetas are great. I own one - split with 2 more friends - and we love it. Forgiving, yet it performs really well.
There's a good community, posting in wetaforums.com and sailing anarchy, there's a helpful guide on buying 2nd hand wetas. There's mods and upgrades for ease of rigging and of use.
And although it's a hiking boat, you don't really have to hike. With a good hand at the helm you can de-power very effectively up and downwind. My son is super light and can drive it anywhere solo even in a blow..
There's a bunch in FL (2 in Miami, one is mine...), and regattas happen in FL about once a year I think. I haven't been to any though.
Weta => no drama and was purchased for my present and future elderly sailing. No back issues managing setup and getting the mast up/down noting my seriously surgically repaired back was not your typical back surgery. It's nice not wearing a harness. Equipped my trailer with a nice winch and I think I could launch/retrieve the boat nearly anywhere with the integrated beach dolly. Seems to have nice community ala old Hobie communities albeit much much smaller community than 70s/80s Hobie communities.
No Drama Example:
Following a race several weeks ago a squall blew in with gusts 40+. Carnage in the fleet but getting Weta back to dock was manageable although there is also no concern about flipping Weta due to righting mechanism (note boat is still very new to me). My H17 would have been wrong side up which is never fun in those conditions - :)
ex-F25C x2 w/last one having F85SR floats
I just sold my Weta a few weeks ago. It was an excellent boat for winds 12+ knots, but it was hard to get moving below that due to the stiffness of the Mylar sail. You can have too much weight with two adults. It's very difficult to capsize even when the leeward ama gets submerged--just sit way back and let the main hull plane as it was designed to do. For older sailors or those with limited mobility, the Weta is one of the best multi-hulls you can buy. A self-tacking jib was just put in the newest models, and you can purchase a 6 m2 "storm sail", or a furling jib if you really want to go underpowered on a windy day. Unfortunately, the prices have increased such that you're looking at $22k with tax for a new one. Used Wetas are in high demand so expect them to hold their value. If you buy a new one, I would recommend the Trailex aluminum trailer. Other boats to consider for mobility problems are the Windrider trimaran and the Hobie Island trimaran.
The Weta is a delicate boat, however. Thin fiberglass over foam core construction means you should have beach or mud landings, rather than concrete ramps. The carbon fiber tiller extensions, lock-down rods, and spinnaker boom are easily broken if you're not careful.
High Point, NC
Exploder A15 A-Class Catamaran
Hobie FX One Catamaran
Hobie Tandem Island Trimaran
My nephew and I sailed one from Ventura to Santa Cruz island. Left in the morning and had to be towed out of the harbor though for lack of wind and steerage. When the winds were up, it was a blast. However, once in the lee of the island without sufficient wind the boat is a beast to paddle. Would have bought one if had a better alternative in low wind conditions. Wish Weta would find a way to mount a Hobie mirage drive - that would probably do the trick!
After a lifetime of sailing and racing everything from a Laser to Maxi I bought my first Wētā in 2013 because I wanted something I could sail solo (or with friends), that was easy to rig, wasn't hard work, was fun to sail and fast.
I decided on a Weta after seeing this video of 2 guys sailing a Weta up a river in Colorado for 40 miles with the kite up in 35 knots of wind!
I'm now 64 with back issues but still Weta sailing as there's not much effort involved (no hiking - you just sit on the tramp or floats) and in 2017 I was one of 50 Wetas at the World Masters Games in Auckland where we had an 85yo sailing with us as well as 3 Paralympic sailors (with no movement below the waist).
I have friends who have come to Wētā sailing from multihulls and while the Weta isn't as quick as a Hobie 16 (for example) it's more forgiving and stable than most and you can take it out in strong winds and not worry about being able to right it if you capsize (I've raced in winds over 30 knots, capsized and righted it solo without assistance - see recovery video here).
Performance is closer to a skiff than a catamaran with high drag at slow speeds rather than the more linear speed curve of a cat but it starts planing at around 8-10 knots of wind and will go 10-12 knots upwind and up to 20 downwind but without being scary - although the most I've managed is 18.4 knots.
It also tacks like a skiff so you can take advantage of shifts and the recent addition of a self-tacking jib and twin tiller extensions kit allow for "hands-free" tacks and gybes so you can concentrate on crossing the boat - especially if you have mobility issues.
In light winds you can use the gennaker as a code-zero to keep moving, although you can't point very high, and I keep a telescopic paddle below deck if becalmed and find it's comfortable to paddle sitting on the edge of the tramp. But there are also electric and gas powered motors available which can be added to the boat.
Your nearest dealer for a demo sail is Richard Kiczek at Starboard Tack Sailboats in Fort Walton Beach
Ph: 850-797-7390 firstname.lastname@example.org and I notice he has a new boat listed at $17.8 K
Life's Better with a Wētā!
Edited by pewit on Sep 14, 2022 - 12:33 AM.
Wetas are great! Light air is more manageable with the newer squaretop mainsail and like everything in light air, you learn how to sail it. I have enjoyed the times I have chartered boats for regattas. Anticipate your parts needs because things come from NZL. They are fun and the people around the class are fun to be around!!
Master UniRig Sailor