OZone wins amidst still air and gnats

NAWILIWILI — OZone traveled 2.4 miles in nearly an hour Thursday at the Nawiliwili Yacht Club Gene Wells Memorial Series.

“Boat speeds dropped into the ‘barely perceptible’ range as the fleet very slowly made its way out of the harbor and towards the Ninini Point buoy,” said Nawiliwili Yacht Club Rear Commodore Doug Tiffany. “Winds dropped to almost zero when the starting horn went off and it took nearly 45 minutes for the first boat, OZone, to make the buoy.”

OZone finished ahead of the stagnant cluster of boats first, crossing the finish line of the 2.4-mile race in 57 minutes, 55 seconds and corrected to 58:00 PHRF for top honors.

“We thought we could do it,” said Sharon Gibson, of the NYC Race Committee. “We had some wind leading up to the start and we thought the front runners could build on that. But the winds died.”

In the heavy, still air, the boats floated (one spectator correcting the term to “bobbing”) on the water, and another element brought excitement — gnats — which descended on the jetty wall area, bringing up conversations of “kelp flies” and “brine flies” while some spectators took to their gnat-speckled vehicles to escape the horde.

Fast Company, who had one of the lead spots at the start, finished back of OZone, crossing on a 59:31 elapsed sail and correcting to 59:37 PHRF for second place.

Weatherly followed on a 1:00:10 elapsed sail and corrected to 56:16 PHRF with Speedy (1:01:03 elapsed, 55:11 PHRF), Papaau (1:04:10 elapsed, 1:01:26 PHRF), Bonjolea II (1:01:53 elapsed, 1:05:56 PHRF) and Trinity (59:55 elapsed, 1:08:12 PHRF) filling in the spots.

“To put this race in perspective, the fastest boat, OZone, went 2.65 nautical miles per hour, and the slowest boat, Papaau went 2.25 nautical miles per hour,” Tiffany said. “The average person can walk faster than that.”

The public is invited to view the NYC Gene Wells Memorial Series Thursday as the series continues with the first flags flying at 5 p.m.

Visit www.nawiliwiliyachtclub.org for more information.

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