NAWILIWILI — Papa A‘u cut close for the second straight week to claim its third victory during the Nawiliwili Yacht Club Gene Wells Memorial Series, Race No. 4 at the Nawiliwili Harbor.
“Jeff Olson, the skipper aboard Papa A‘u is sailing aggressively,” said Sharon Gibson of the NYC Race Committee. “And look at OZone! It’s been a while since she’s had the lead!”
Sailing under wind blowing 12- to 17-knots out of the east, Fast Company was the sole boat on a port tack at the clean start of the 6-mile race course.
“Indeed, they had the best start,” said Chris Jordan, skippering OZone. “At the pin end of the line, OZone on starboard tack was next. When the two boats met, it was Fast Company able to clear OZone and stay in the lead. OZone later tacked onto the starboard lay line to the Kalapaki buoy, but Fast Company tacked right in front of OZone. OZone had to avoid hitting Fast Company’s stern by falling off below them.”
“A chorus of at least six OZone crew members could be heard yelling ‘Protest!’ to which Fast Company skiller Jim Saylor responded that he could hear them all okay,” Jordan said. “Fast Company did their two penalty turns that set them back after they had the lead.”
“Meanwhile, Papa A‘u came into the three-boat length circle zone at the Kalapaki buoy on starboard tack,” the OZone skipper said. “But to make it around the buoy, they had to tack onto port first before heading back on starboard. Weatherly was coming down fast on starboard tack, able to fetch the mark so they had rights. But Weatherly, with Nate steering, was afraid they were going to hit Papa A‘u so dramatically altered course to go below Papa A‘u. The kids on Weatherly did not put up their protest flag, and Papa A‘u sailed on.”
A squall hit the fleet before the race ended and mixed things up.
“Double Espresso, switching drivers between Yeva and Olivia, had Olivia on the stick and had the honor taking the knockdown — not their first, but probably their biggest,” Jordan said. “As the halyard came down a little quickly, the spinnaker blew way out over the side.”
OZone stayed out of the fray and despite Fast Company being good in heavy air, OZone sounded the finish horn with line honors on and elapsed sail of 1 hour, 9 minutes, 40 seconds, followed by Fast Company crossing on an elapsed sail of 1:10:21.
“Papa A‘u, coming upwind with Weatherly side by side towards the finish line on starboard tacks, Papa A‘au was a little bit to leeward,” Jordan said. “Papa A‘u took it far in to the mole and some say they passed into the obstruction zone. But again, no protest was heard from Weatherly. Papa A‘u did a sharp tack and duck of Weatherly, falling behind by 11 seconds as they crossed the finish line, Weatherly marking a 1:11:55 elapsed sail, and Papa A‘u marking a 1:12:06 elapsed sail.”
With the handicaps applied, Papa A‘u finished first at 1:09:20 PHRF, followed by OZone at 1:10:06 PHRF, 41 seconds ahead of Fast Company who marked 1:10:47 PHRF.
“OZone took second place, and they were wishing that Weatherly had protested Papa A‘u as that may have slowed them down enough that OZone might have first,” Jordan said. “Darn. And, Fast Company was probably wishing they hadn’t tacked so close to OZone because without having to do their two penalty turns, I suspect that Fast Cmpany would have been first overall instead of taking third place.”
In the Club class, Speedy (1:13:40 elapsed, 1:04:32 Club) took first followed by Weatherly (1:11:55 elapsed, 1:06:58 Club), and Double Espresso (1:16:36 elapsed, 1:12:22 Club).
“With one throwout in the series, Papa A‘u is clearly in the lead to take it all,” Jordan said. “The fifth race of the Gene Wells Memorial Series is set to start, Thursday with a 5 p.m. start.”
Source: The Garden Island