Sun shines for late-day yacht racers

NAWILIWILI — The sun came out and the people came to play Thursday at Nawiliwili Yacht Club.

Sharon Gibson, scorekeeper for the Nawiliwili Yacht Club, had just returned from a three-week hiatus on the mainland, and was one of the first to note the special rigging that was set up to start the races as well as announce the course.

NYC volunteers who worked to piece together the starting rig noted that they got the idea from O’ahu where the yacht club there uses a similar rig mounted onto one of the boats to start races.

Kaua’i’s version attaches to one of the poles in the seawall area, and following the successful start, disassembles for storage until the next race.

Prevailing Kona winds gave spectators an unexpected treat as the crew aboard “O Zone” whipped out their spinnaker for the start of the race that featured yachts racing on calm brown waters in the shadow of the cruise ship anchored for its overnight stay.

“A spinnaker start,” shouted Gibson, thrilled to be able to see the spinnaker being put into action so close to the seawall vantage point.

That added piece of wind-catching sail helped “O Zone” catapault into the lead over “Malihini,” a catamaran.

However, the far seawall buffered the Kona winds and the spin-naker was pulled down giving “Malihini” the lead on the return from the Ninini Point turnaround.

Differing tacking courses saw yachts spread out in the harbor with “O Zone” again taking the lead for the final leg.

“Mapuana,” who stalked the pack throughout the race, finished first in the PHRF Class on a corrected time of 1 hour, 4 minutes, 21 seconds followed closely by “O Zone” who crossed the finish flag at an hour, 4 minutes, and 45 seconds.

“Malihini” filled in the third slot at an hour, 8 minutes, and 10 seconds.

“Coyote” topped the Club Class on a corrected time of an hour, 6 minutes, and 37 seconds followed by “Papa’au” at an hour 14 minutes, 53 seconds.

“Everyone sure enjoyed getting out and playing in the sunshine,” Gibson said following the action.

The second of nine races in the Saturday Offshore Series takes place today with a skippers’ meeting at 9 a.m. to select the race course. The first flag goes up at 10 a.m. with spectators welcomed to watch the action from the Nawiliwili Harbor jetty seawall.

NYC members will also be hosting a clubhouse cleanup today with free “Yacht Dawg” lunches for those who come to help.

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