NAWILIWILI — Kato overcame the six-boat fleet — four Olson 30s, an Express 27, and a Sydney 36 — to take the first race of the Nawiliwili Yacht Club Gene Wells Memorial Series Thursday under 10-to-15-knot easterly winds.
Kato, one of the four Olson 30s, dropped a few spots when coming in from one of the three legs in the 5.8-mile course, but regained second place on the final outbound legs to the Ninini Point Lighthouse buoy, sounding the finish horn on an elapsed sail of 1 hour, 14 minutes, and 25 seconds. She corrected to 1:14:32 PHRF for top honors in the multi-race series that kicked off Thursday following the club’s offshore series over the Labor Day weekend.
Bonjolea II, the Sydney 36, was in her element in the easterlies and copped first-to-finish honors on a 1:12:15 elapsed sail. After correction, Bonjolea II finished fourth of six boats at 1:16:59 PHRF. She also corrected to 1:14:04 Club for top honors in that class.
Fast Company, another of the Olson 30s, tacked early off the start after being forced to circle back on the verge of crossing early. She and Bonjolea II tacked to clear wind, but had to tack several times in the face of the easterlies to the Ninini Point turnaround, eventually crossing on a 1:15:18 elapsed sail and correcting to 1:15:25 PHRF for second place.
She was followed by OZone, crossing at 1:16:03 elapsed and correcting to 1:16:10 PHRF for third place. Papa a‘u (1:20:45 elapsed, 1:17:18 PHRF), an Express 27, and Speedy (1:24:48 elapsed, 1:24:58 PHRF) rounded out the fleet showing.
The second race of the Gene Wells Memorial Series takes place Thursday when the first flags fly at 5 p.m. from the Nawiliwili Harbor mole area (jetty wall).