HENDERSON — The Weta sailboat fleet debuted in the N.C. Governor’s Cup Regatta at Kerr Lake three years ago.

On Sunday, a Weta sailor was crowned Governor’s Cup champion for the first time in the 65th edition of the Carolina Sailing Club’s most prestigious event.

The big winner was 58-year-old John Harrop, representing the San Diego Yacht Club by way of his new home base of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

When regatta co-chair Alan Backus told The Dispatch last week the Governor’s Cup had gone regional and national in the last decade, he wasn’t making it up.

Gone are the days when a Carolina Sailing Club member, often based in the Triangle area, is assured of taking the club’s biggest prize of the year.

“What we think is more prestigious is that people from outside the club are winning it,” Backus said. “It brings the Governor’s Cup out across the region.”

Harrop won the Cup by virtue of being the sailor that beat out the most boats, and the Weta crowd boasted the biggest contingent with 14 vessels. In the process, the San Diego native also claimed the East Coast Championships for the fleet, which were held concurrently with the Governor’s Cup.

The second-place Weta finisher was Alan Taylor of the Carolina Sailing Club, but the next two, Keith Rice and Richard Stephens, traveled from Upstate New York. And James Serpa, Richard Kiczek and Lisa Struck represented the Fort Walton Yacht Club of Florida.

“It seems like the [Weta] boats travel really easily,” Harrop said. “They pack up — they’re kind of a big boat when you’re sailing, they’re 13 feet wide when you’re sailing, but it packs up into a pretty small package, so it’s easy to trailer, easy to take with you, easy to just throw in your garage when you get home.”

Harrop bought his Weta only a year ago, having spent years sailing much larger boats in the saltwater of Southern California.

A Weta trimaran is a multihull boat that has a main hull and two smaller outrigger hulls attached to the main hull with lateral beams.

Harrop has been traveling regularly to monthly Weta outings at Kerr Lake in the last year, lodging in town at Hampton Inn and eating meals at George’s.

“It’s just such a beautiful venue,” Harrop said late Sunday afternoon, looking out toward Kerr Dam at Henderson Point. “I mean it’s gorgeous here.”

With temperatures in the low 80s, Sunday was close to perfect as far as providing comfort for the sailors after a windy start to competition on Saturday that was downgraded to “tricky” conditions on Sunday, according to Harrop.

“I have to give the wind gods and Mother Nature the biggest high fives because weather makes everything for us work best,” Backus said. “In sailing, the weather is everything. We depend on the weather in moving the boats in racing. So it was ideal.”

Backus credited the weather, and Harrop made sure to credit the Carolina Sailing Club volunteers in his initial victory speech for putting on an event that went off without a visible hitch.

“It takes a lot of volunteers to put something like this on,” Harrop said, “and club members do that.”

Governor’s Cup Regatta ResultsWinner: John Harrop, Weta, San Diego Yacht Club

Top female skipper: Annmarie Covington, Wayfarer, Lake Townsend Yacht Club and Carolina Sailing Club

Top junior skipper: Caz Doyle, 420, RTP High School

Fleet winners420

Winner: Caz Doyle (skipper), Oliver Doyle (crew), RTP High School

Buccaneer

Winner: Jeff Neurauter (skipper), Heather Howard (crew), Sailing Club of Washington

Flying Scot

Winner: Dave Rink (skipper), Joel Blade (crew), Lake Norman Yacht Club

Isotope

Winner: Eric Rasmussen, Carolina Sailing Club

Jet 14

Winner: Chris Hennon (skipper), Olivia Hennon (crew), Asheville Sailing Club

Laser

Winner: Alasdair McGregor, Carolina Sailing Club

Melges 15

Winner: Cole Handly, East Coast Sailboats

Sunfish

Winner: Alex Dean, Harkers Island Sailing Club

Thistle

Winner: Mark Gise (skipper), Howard Mendlovitz, Sara Paisner (Lake Norman Yacht Club)

Wayfarer

Winner: Annmarie Covington (skipper), Gareth Ferguson (crew), Lake Townsend Yacht Club and Carolina Sailing Club

Weta

Winner: John Harrop, San Diego Yacht Club

Open multihullWinner: Michael Van Hoy (skipper), Tim Dry (crew), Carolina Sailing Club

Open monohullWinner: Don Munn (skipper), Christel Monmoine (crew), Oriental Dinghy Club and Carolina Sailing Club

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