‘Lelele’ cuts through weather

NAWILIWILI — “Lelele” emerged at the top of a challenging course of skippering skills and winds that, at times, did not want to cooperate.

Sailing in the final race of the Nawiliwili Yacht Club Rum Series, “Lelele,” a Wells 30, was a clear leader off the starting block, and through maneuvering through pockets of whispering winds and dead calm, held off any challenges from the field to claim the race, and the series, Thursday night.

“Since the winds were Kona and light, the NYC Race Committee sent the fleet on three short inside courses,” said Sharon Gibson, the NYC scorekeeper. “If we sent them out to the lighthouse, we could only safely give them one lap with the winds.”

But this was the last race of a hotly-contested series, with the lead being up for grabs by not more than a point.

Gibson said the three-leg course in winds of 0-12 knots from the west would be a better test of skills with the boats having to navigate more buoys.

“Lelele” jumped off the starting line and, despite the winds dying at the end of its second leg, maintained its lead until the breeze picked up again somewhere in the final leg to give the Wells 30 an elapsed sail of 1:12:22 (1:12:09 PHRF corrected).

The big race was between the two Olson 30s, “OZone” and “Fast Company,” the red-spinnakere “Fast Company” grabbing second place off the blocks, but somewhere in the dead calm of the second leg, fell to a No. 3 finish on an 1:13:53 elapsed sail, about a minute off the second finisher’s pace. But the PHRF correction came into play to drop her to No. 4 at a 1:14:00 time.

Despite the fourth place finish, Gibson said “Fast Company” finished the series in second place.

“OZone,” on the other hand, was the No. 4 boat coming off the start, and in the no-wind situation, somehow pulled into the second place, using the reborn breezes in the final lap to nail second place on a 1:12:54 sail (1:13:01 PHRF). That finish earned her a third place in the series.

Similarly, battles were being waged on the decks of “Papa‘au,” an Express 27, and “Speedy,” the third Olson 30 in the race, and when the winds picked up, “Papa‘au” was a No. 5 finisher on a 1:16:56 elapsed time, but with the PHRF correction, the Express 27 was seeded No. 3 on a 1:13:39 sail.

“Speedy” rounded out the leaders in the highly competitive race in the No. 4 position with a 1:16:03 elapsed sail, almost a minute faster than “Papa‘au,” but with the PHRF correction, was posted as the No. 5 finisher.

Coyote rounded out the field in the No. 6 berth on a 1:32:17 elapsed sail and 1:26:26 PHRF time.

With the harbor series completed, Gibson said the next race is the long distance race from Nawiliwili to Hanalei, Hanalei to Port Allen, and Port Allen to Nawiliwili which will take place during the Memorial Day Weekend.

The three-leg race starts May 24 from Nawiliwili Harbor, ending at the Hanalei Bay where the club will host a potluck party where the public is welcome to join in.

Sunday, the fleet moves to Port Allen before returning to Nawiliwili Harbor on Monday.

For more information, visit the NYC Web site at www.nawiliwiliyachtclub.org

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