NAWILIWILI — Papa A‘u’s skipper Jeff Olsen was absent, and Victoria Aiu, the normal foredeck, was moved to the stick of the Express 27 during the fifth race of the six-race Nawiliwili Yacht Club Gene Wells Memorial Series.
With three consecutive victories, and the possibility of locking up the series with a win in the 12- to 19-knot winds coming out of the east-northeast, the manpower switch may have been a critical factor because the race was taken by Fast Company, breaking the three-win string of Papa A‘u wins.
Racing over the 5.8-mile, three-leg race that included two long runs to the Ninini Point buoy, the race developed into a race for the lead between dueling Fast Company and OZone, and a three-way scramble for third place between Papa A‘u, Weatherly, and Double Espresso.
“Fast Company and OZone were side-by-side with Fast Company a little ahead heading upwind for the second of three laps,” said Chris Jordan, the OZone skipper. “Both boats tacked to stay inside the G-5 buoy at the start-finish line as required in the event the race was shortened, and when OZone tacked again, the wiley Fast Company skipper Jim Saylor covered once more. But at a subsequent tack near the end of the breakwater, which is considered an obstruction, OZone was able to take over the lead.”
Following a battle for clean air and bad air to the second long leg to Ninini, the duel continued with Fast Company eking out an advantage.
“Downwind, under spinnaker, OZone had their spinnaker sheet unexpectedly come off the spinnaker so that the chute was uncontrolled,” Jordan said. “But the foredeck crew did a remarkable job getting it reattached quickly so that Fast Company didn’t gain much more.”
The dueling for the lead continued.
“The third lap went to the Kalapaki buoy, and when Fast Company and OZone tacked at the breakwater, they were both low of the mark,” Jordan said. “OZone tacked too early and this mistake cost them as Fast Company gained considerably. When the two boats got back downwind to the G-11 buoy near the Coast Guard station, OZone had closed the gaop so that Fast Company was only a little bit ahead. After rounding the buoy, OZone was behind of Fast Company. OZone tacked away again early in desperation, but perhaps should have continued on as there may not have been enough room for Fast Company to tack, OZone losing more distance to the chagrin of skipper Chris Jordan.”
Saylor piloted the Olson 30 to sound the finish horn on an elapsed sail of 1 hour, 6 minutes, and 26 seconds — just 27 ticks ahead of OZone — and corrected to 1:06:51 PHRF, capturing top-line honors and first place in the PHRF class.
OZone followed (1:06:53 elapsed) with a 1:07:18 PHRF correction followed by Weatherly staying ahead of Double Espresso and crossing on a 1:11:36 elapsed sail and correcting to 1:12:03 PHRF, just 15 seconds ahead of Double Espresso who posted a 1:15:12 elapsed sail with the youngest sailors in the fleet under the guidance of Carl Andersson.
Double Espresso corrected to 1:07:42 Club for top honors in that class followed by Papa A‘u getting second place in Club with a 1:09:38 Club correction.
The sixth and final race of the NYC Gene Wells Series takes place, Thursday when the first flags fly at 5 p.m. at the Nawiliwili Harbor jetty parking area.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.
Source: The Garden Island