NAWILIWILI — “Lelele,” a Wells 30, capitalized on a fight for second to control the lead and take the first race of the Gene Wells Memorial Series, Thursday.
With Terry Wells, son of Gene Wells and the builder of “Lelele,” and Grant Wells, grandson of Gene Wells as part of the crew aboard the green-hulled vessel, the nimble craft worked through a congested start at the Nawiliwili Harbor.
By the return leg of the outbound course, “Lelele’s’ distinct spinnaker told the story as she commanded a lead over “OZone” and “Fast Company,” both Olson 30s, in the Nawiliwili Yacht Club sponsored race.
Rounding the inland marker, “Lelele” continued to nurse its lead while “OZone” and “Fast Company” exchanged leads in an aggressive battle for second place.
It was at this point in the first leg that the wind took control as “Fast Company” lost control of its spinnaker coming out of the turn, and combined with the bumpy seas, became a victim of the wind, its red spinnaker protesting loudly as the crew worked to keep her out of the drink.
Regaining control, “Fast Company” proceeded to regain its lead over “OZone” heading to the far turn in the harbor, but was challenged on the outbound leg of the race’s second lap to the Ninini Point lighthouse.
“OZone,” languishing in the dead air of the harbor, found a breeze and closed the gap, taking the lead in the fight for second.
When the final horns sounded, “Lelele” was the clear winner on a 58:41 elapsed sail (58:30 PHRF) followed almost three minutes back by “OZone” who stopped the clock at 1:01:10 (1:01:16 PHRF).
“Fast Company” filled in the No. 3 berth on a 1:02:45 (1:02:51 PHRF) sail followed by “Papa‘au,” an Express 27, at 1:08:31 (1:05:35 PHRF) and “Speedy,” another Olson 30, at 1:06:35, that elapsed sail faster than “Papa‘au,” but being relegated to the No. 5 spot after the PHRF correction which put her at 1:06:38.
“Tiare,” a Wells 22, was a true Gene Wells vessel, but bowed out of the competition after Tim Perry, her skipper, realized she had a mis-start and the race was too far in progress for a correction.
In a special race, a dingy created excitement on the water in its special race which saw a 22:31 sail for the tiny craft that appeared to be truly enjoying the 5-15 knot trades blowing over bumpy seas out of the East-Northeast.
This series is dedicated to a Kaua‘i boatmaker, Gene Wells, and is the final race series on the NYC calendar for 2008.
The public is invited to view the second race of the six-race series on Thursday from the Nawiliwili Harbor jetty wall area.
First flags fly at 4:45 p.m.
For more information, visit the NYC Web site at www.nawiliwiliyachtclub.org