Papa‘au squeezes out tight Rum Series win

NAWILIWILI — All the elements for a good race were in place, and the skippers aboard the six yachts did not disappoint as Papa‘au pulled out a 6-second margin to take the Rum Series, Race No. 5 Thursday.

A big crowd, brisk 10-15 knot winds out of the northeast, and despite a short disruption caused by a departing barge, the race began in crowded conditions.

Bonjolea, an X-342, nosed into the lead only to have to return to the buoy after jumping out without the can to her portside.

With the three Olson 30 crafts engaged in a head-to-head battle for positioning, Lelele, a Wells 30 with Grant Wells at the wheel, took advantage of the grappling and eked out a lead coming in from the Ninini Lighthouse leg.

Hot on her tail, OZone, one of the Olson 30s, chipped away at the new boat’s lead. But Lelele was able to maintain the lead position throughout the in-harbor leg.

Misfortune struck the new boat on the outward portion of the second leg as Lelele, attempting a tack line that gained her the first-leg lead, hit dead air close to the cliffs.

That was all OZone needed as she was well in the lead on the final leg return from the lighthouse.

Less than two minutes separated the pack at the finish line, but with the PHRF corrections, Papa‘au, an Express 27, was awarded top finish at 53:31 (55:54 elapsed).

She was closely followed by OZone at 53:37 PHRF (53:17 elapsed).

Lelele, the newcomer, finished third at 55:07 PHRF (55:17 elapsed).

Fast Company, another of the Olson 30s, (55:17 PHRF), Speedy, the last of the Olson 30s, (55:21 PHRF) and Bonjolea (55:53 PHRF) rounded out the field.

There is one more race in the Rum Series. That race takes place Thursday with the first flag flying at 5 p.m.

The public is invited to view the competition which has proven to be stiff each week from the jetty wall.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@kauaipubco.com.

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