OZone squeaks by Wells Series

NAWILIWILI — Nine seconds was the difference between first and second place Thursday at the final race of the Nawiliwili Yacht Club Gene Wells Memorial Series.

OZone held a two-point lead in the standings over Fast Company heading into the final race. Fast Company also was just two points ahead of Papaau in the No. 2 spot.

Coming off the clean start, Bonjolea II, skippered by Bonnie Tiffany, established the pace of the one-hour race covering 4.80 miles under a blanket of wind in the 8 to 12-knot range out of the Northeast.

“The weather called for no wind,” said NYC Rear Commodore Ken Martinez. “I’m glad the wind picked up. We have a race.”

Bonjolea II stayed ahead of the six-boat fleet throughout, gradually building its lead over the two legs.

“This is the final race of the year, so we just let them run,” Martinez said.

Bonjolea II stayed well ahead of the pack, triggering the finish horn at 56 minutes, one second for top honors in the overall finish judging.

“Because of her size, she needs at least four minutes lead to win,” said Sharon Gibson of the NYC Race Committee.

The margin never materialized as OZone, dogged closely by Fast Company, crossed the line on a 58:58 elapsed sail, just nine seconds ahead of Fast Company (59:07).

With both boats being Olson 30, the PHRF correction applied equally, OZone correcting to 59:03 PHRF for the win with Fast Company settling nine seconds back at 59:12 PHRF — a nine-second difference.

Bonjolea II corrected to 59:41 PHRF for third place.

Following Bonjolea II’s strong start and run in the wind, the race for second was tight between OZone and Fast Company.

Fast Company held the No. 2 spot for the entire first leg, OZone breathing down her neck throughout the up-leg of the second run to the Ninini Point turnaround.

Heading inland, OZone executed one of several tack strategies which eventually earned her the win.

Cutting inland mid-channel, Fast Company relied on its spinnaker to wrestle the No. 2 spot back from OZone.

Coming off the far green can, OZone departed from its first leg strategy and went opposite Fast Company, both boats meeting at the finish line with OZone tripping the horn ahead of Fast Company.

Following the lead trio, Papaau, one of the lead contenders, crossed on a 1:03:25 elapsed sail and corrected to 1:00:42 PHRF. She also corrected to 57:37 Club for top honors in that class followed by Weatherly (1:05:31 elapsed, 1:05:37 PHRF, 1:00:24 Club), and Speedy (1:18:58 elapsed, 1:19:05 PHRF, 1:10:35 Club).

OZone’s win clinches the series title for the Olson 30 with Fast Company securing the No. 2 spot.

The NYC calendar for 2014 comes to a close with the sounding of the finish horn as the sun dips below the mountains earlier and earlier with the arrival of the winter months.

Martinez said the public is invited to view the Halloween antics of the yacht people Friday when it hosts a fun race with the crew (and boats) dressed for the season.

Race time is 5 p.m.

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