NAWILIWILI — Spinnaker problems aboard Fast Company pushed the winner’s cup to OZone when the Nawiliwili Yacht Club Gene Wells Memorial Series hosted its fifth race of the seven-race series in light air at Nawiliwili Harbor Thursday.
The light air that occasionally tipped the flags at eight knots shortened the course to two laps for a total distance of 3.51 miles.
“The sun goes down just after 6 p.m.,” said Rhan Honjiyo of the NYC Race Committee. “Last week, it was getting pretty dark by the time the last boat finished.”
Fast Company, with Jim Saylor at the helm, eked out a lead at the start, where Papa A‘u, with the probable advice of its foredeck “Big Ray,” made the bold move of being the only boat to start on port tack and having its skipper Andy Evans capitalizing with a great start that had everyone else shaking their heads, said Chris Jordan, skippering OZone.
“Kato, on starboard, led the other five Olson 30 boats,” Jordan said. “But this was done right in front of Fast Company, who had rights on starboard. Protest! Kato did its two penalty turns that set them back.”
Fast Company built its lead until the second lap, a short inside course around the Kalapaki buoy.
“Fast Company tacked early, while OZone took it all the way to the breakwater before tacking,” Jordan said. “Fast Company had to tack twice to make it around the buoy, which slowed them down while OZone was coming on fast and closing the gap on the lead.”
Saylor’s crew managed to stave off the OZone challenge.
“Fast Company was able to stay a little bit ahead on the spinnaker run to the G-7 buoy and got an inside position for the mark rounding,” Jordan said. “Heading to the G-11 buoy near the Coast Guard station, both boats gybed their spinnakers. Fast Company had a mishap on the gybe and a chorus of loud words could be heard from the skipper trying to fix the spinnaker problem.”
OZone took the lead, but Fast Company answered by sailing above OZone, taking their air and getting an inside overlap rounding the mark.
“Trailing, OZone was able to get a little to weather of Fast Company on the upwind leg to the finish line so that Fast Company did not have room to tack,” Jordan said. “OZone took Fast Company above the layline before tacking towards the finish so Fast Company would have to come back down and sail a further distance.”
OZone sounded the finish horn on an elapsed sail of 48 minutes, 38 seconds, just seven ticks ahead of Fast Company, which settled for a 48:45 elapsed sail. OZone corrected to 46:56 PHRF followed by Fast Company correcting to 49:03 PHRF for the runner up spot in Race No. 5.
Papa Au followed in third on a 52:11 elapsed sail and correcting to 50:11 PHRF.
Weatherly, who waged an upwind battle with OZone on the first leg, topped the Club class on a 52:29 elapsed sail and correcting to 47:55 Club, followed by Bonjolea II (49:39 elapsed) at 48:58 Club. Kato finished third on a 51:37 elapsed sail and correcting to 51:04 Club.
Despite the close race, Fast Company still holds a good lead heading into the NYC Gene Wells Memorial Series Race No. 6 that will take place Thursday when the first flags fly at 5 p.m. from the Nawiliwili Harbor mole parking area.
Source: The Garden Island