Two retired boats and an exciting start has the final race of the Nawiliwili Yacht Club’s Gene Wells Memorial Series knotted up.
“It was just breathless,” said Sharon Gibson, the NYC scorekeeper, as she and the NYC Race Committee and a host of spectators watched the congestion at the start of the Race No. 5, Thursday.
Boats were everywhere, maneuvering for best tack lines as well as trying to avoid contact with other boats in the 10-boat field.
“Fast Company,” an Olson 30, slipped through the pack just as she did last week and took the lead in 7-12 knot winds on relatively flat seas.
Out to the Ninini Point Lighthouse, the pack changed as “OZone’s” yellow-and-white spinnaker marked her lead coming into the inland portion of the first leg.
That was challenged by “Fast Company’s” red spinnaker and “Lelele,” who picked up the first two wins in the six-race series, strong in the three-craft leader field.
But out from behind the seawall, “Malihini,” a 35-foot catamaran piloted by Doug Gibson,” slipped into the fray and wrestled the third place berth from “Lelele.”
That created the scenario for the final inland leg of the race where “OZone” continued to hold on to the lead for a final 39:52 elapsed sail (39:56 PHRF corrected).
“Fast Company,” realizing a navigational error on the course, lazed through the field, taking a Retired After Finish for the error.
Similarly, “Lelele,” wrestling with spinnaker issues in lazy winds, re-corrected for a navigational error, but an uncorrected earlier error forced a second RAF in the race.
That give second place to “Malihini” on an elapsed 43:33 sail (44:39 PHRF) followed by “Speedy” (47:46 elapsed, 47:50 PHRF), “Rebel,” a Wells boat new to the race series, (59:02 elapsed, 48:34 PHRF), “Bonjolea” (51:47 elapsed, 49:48 PHRF), “Coyote” (53:51 elapsed, 50:26 PHRF), “Papa‘au” (54:09 elapsed, 51:50 PHRF) and “Tiare” (1:05:37 elapsed, 53:59 PHRF).
“Marta,” a two-man dinghy, did a suberb job is staying out of the mainstream traffic and navigating its way to a 35:28 sail in its own race.
With the results of Thursday’s race, “OZone” and “Lelele” are now tied for first place with just one more race to go.
That makes this Thursday’s race critical as the winner of that race will tell the tale of the series.
First flag for the final race of the series flies at 4:45 p.m.
The Gene Wells Memorial Series marks the final race series for the NYC calendar, although there are two other special sails planned: a Halloween sail where ships’ crew members are dressed in costume, and a lighted Christmas boat parade for later in December.
For more information, visit the NYC Web site at www.nawiliwiliyachtclub.org