NAWILIWILI — Bonjolea II finally got the wind it needed to capture her first win, Thursday afternoon, in the fifth of the seven-race Nawiliwili Yacht Club Gene Wells Memorial Series at the Nawiliwili Harbor.
Racing in a six-boat fleet under brisk 22- to 28-knot trade winds, Bonjolea II, a Sydney 36, grabbed the lead off the start and held off any challenges, including that of Kato, the winner of three previous races in the series.
“The winds were strong enough that a full half of the boats reefed, or shortened their mainsail,” said William Georgi, the NYC Rear Commodore. “This proved to be a good tactic since the shortened sail made the boat heel less and somewhat easier to control getting them more overall speed. The gusty winds made for some exciting moments as boat after boat had substantial challenges controlling their spinnakers, especially when turning downwind from port to starboard tack for the final half of the downwind leg of the course. No crew were injured, and no boats damaged during these unplanned moments.”
The navigational buoy is still missing leading the Race Committee to lay out the dual A course 4.8-mile course which Bonjolea II sliced through on an elapsed sail of 47 minutes, 53 seconds, nearly five minutes ahead of Kato (51:26 elapsed sail).
Following the PHRF correction, Bonjolea II claimed the race crown on 51:01 PHRF, holding off the challenge by Kato who corrected to 51:31 PHRF, nearly 30 seconds back.
Another close race between Fast Company (54:25 elapsed, 54:30 PHRF) and OZone (54:49 elapsed, 54:54 PHRF) developed for third place with 24 ticks separating the pair of Olson 30s.
“While OZone was faster in PHRF, in the club category, she finished second to Speedy (56:18 elapsed, 56:23PHRF, 49:35 Club) due to a high Club handicap,” Georgi said. “Papa a‘u (1:00:53 elapsed, 58:17 PHRF, 56:27 Club) finished in third.”
Race No. 6 of the Gene Wells Memorial Series gets underway, Thursday when the first flags fly at 5 p.m. at the Nawiliwili Harbor jetty parking area.
“Kato has three first finishes and two seconds in the overall series,” Georgi said. “They currently lead the series, but they have been beaten. With two more races over the next two weeks, another boat could conceivably win the overall Gene Wells title.”