NAWILIWILI — Alison Fornari, piloting OZone, squeaked to the winner’s circle by just 19 seconds during the opening race of the Nawiliwili Yacht Club Wahine Series at the Nawiliwili Harbor.
Racing over a distance of 5.92 miles in three legs, the race unfolded with Jakki Nelson taking Fast Company over the start line, first in winds of at least 13 knots and higher gusts blowing out of the Northeast.
The pack formed with all three front-runners — OZone, Weatherly, and Fast Company — being Olson 30s and only the successful solution of each craft’s problems determined the final placement.
“Weatherly, with Astrid Andersson on the helm, gave OZone fits throughout the race,” said Chris Jordan, crewing aboard OZone. “Heading to the G-11 buoy in the first leg, Fast Company was under jib alone as they had no foredeck to run its spinnaker.”
“When OZone gybed their spinnaker, they had to let Fast Company and Weatherly round ahead as they were in the 3-boat length circle, first,” Jordan said. “Papa A‘u with Victoria Aiu steering was right on OZone’s stern as they rounded.”
Weatherly took the lead coming downwind from the Ninini Point buoy after passing above Fast Company under spinnaker.
The final downwind leg from the Ninini Lighthouse buoy posed another problem when the large propane tanker departed with accompanying tugboats and the pilot boat.
“In order to try and catch Weatherly, OZone had to switch to its larger spinnaker,” Jordan said. “This appeared to help some as OZone crept up on Weatherly. Fast Company somehow still managed to stay in the mix of things in third place with just their jib and no spinnaker.”
At the final rounding of the G-11 buoy, OZone was still behind Weatherly.
“But they made a tighter rounding so that they were upwind enough that Weatherly couldn’t take back onto port tack until they reached the cruise ship obstruction zone,” said Jordan, with NYC Race Committee helper and spectator Lois Andersson witnessing the maneuvering.
“Did you see that?” Lois said. “Alison tacked and forced Weatherly so far up near the cruise ship. Go, Alison!”
The maneuvering worked and OZone sounded the finish horn on a 1 hour, 11 minutes, 10 seconds elapsed time, and corrected to 1:11:17 PHRF for first place honors just 19 ticks ahead of Weatherly who crossed on a 1:11:29 elapsed time and corrected to 1:11:36 PHRF.
Nelson pushed Fast Company across the line on a 1:13:26 elapsed time and corrected to 1:13:33 PHRF for third place.
Double Espresso crossed on a 1:14:31 elapsed time and corrected to 1:07:45 Club for top honors in the division followed by Speedy (1:16:30 elapsed) correcting to 1:07:56 Club, just 11 ticks back of Double Espresso for second place honors.
The NYC Wahine Series, Race No. 2 takes place, Thursday when the first flags fly at 5 p.m.
Source: The Garden Island