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Fast Company holds on

NAWILIWILI — Fast Company squeezed out a slim, 13-second win over Papa A‘u to set up an anybody-can-win showdown for the Nawiliwili Yacht Club Eric Wing Memorial Series, Race No. 7, when the first flags fly at 5 p.m. Thursday.

Racing in 6-to-9-knot winds blowing out of the east, the small fleet saw Papa A‘u and OZone set the stage for the Eric Wing, Race No. 6 over the three-leg, 6-mile course spread out across Nawiliwili Harbor.

“The Speedy crew has been using Double Espresso to race while their boat is out for repairs due to an earlier race mishap,” said Chris Jordan, skipper aboard OZone who retired from the race despite shooting off the start with Papa A‘u.

“But the Speedy crew kindly relinquished the Kaua‘i Sailing Association’s Olson 30 to a new group of young kids racing for the first time with KSA Executive Director Shale Shore on the stick and Julie Gardner taking photos of the kids having a grand time.”

The field was further shortened by Bonjolea II’s absence on the water due to a collision that blemished the series’ fifth race.

Without the challenge of the big Sydney 36, Fast Company climbed past the pack battles at the start line to control the waters heading to the first of the two outbound legs to make the first rounding, followed by Kato, Papa A‘u, Weatherly, OZone and Double Espresso.

Fast Company’s lead disappeared on the downwind leg in heavy, near-penalty traffic, when Kato squeezed out the lead at the G-11 buoy near the mouth of the Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor.

“Weatherly rounded next, followed by OZone and Papa A‘u,” Jordan said. “Weatherly had a wider rounding than OZone, and when they tacked, they had to duck OZone and fell behind. Papa A‘u on starboard met up with Weatherly on port, and a protest ensued. Weatherly did the two penalty turns that set them back.”

At the harbor mouth heading to the second Ninini Point buoy run, Kato tacked onto port to get out to the lighthouse, Jordan said.

“But Fast Company, who was on starboard, also protested when Kato didn’t duck them,” Jordan said. “Kato did two penalty turns that set them back.”

Fast Company regained the lead and extended it out of reach of the pack battles to grab line honors on an elapsed sail that stopped the clock at 1 hour, 27 minutes and 51 seconds. The Olson 30 corrected to 1:28:24 PHRF to squeeze out top honors over Papa A‘u, which finished fourth across the line (1:32:10 elapsed and corrected to 1:28:37 PHRF) — just 13 ticks difference.

Kato, sounding the finish horn second (1:29:01 elapsed, corrected to 1:29:59 PHRF) for third-place honors, followed by Weatherly (1:31:48 elapsed, 1:32:22 PHRF). OZone retired from the race for fouling Papa A‘u.

The public is invited to view the competition Thursday when the whole shot is on the line for the NYC Eric Wing Memorial Series, Race No. 7.

First flags fly at 5 p.m.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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