Kato takes ‘slow wind’ race

NAWILIWILI — The spinnakers ballooned on the outbound leg Thursday during the Nawiliwili Yacht Club Gene Wells Memorial Series, Race No. 5, which was described as “seeming to take place in slow motion.”

Kato repeated by topping the nine-boat fleet that took off in very calm seas under shifting winds blowing from the west at five knots, typical Kona sailing conditions in the 3.1-mile course.

“Getting a good start was important,” said Doug Tiffany, the NYC Interim vice commodore. “Due to the wind shifts and unusual tack angles, deft spinnaker handling, minimizing tacks and constant trimming for most efficient sail trim were again the keys to winning this extremely slow-wind race.”

Coming off the clean start, Weatherly established a lead and rounded the Ninini Point buoy under better wind that increased to five to eight knots outside the breakwater. A battle for the No. 2 spot took place between Kato and OZone, both Olson 30s making the turn neck-and-neck and milking position for the best wind advantage.

“OZone and Weatherly remained locked in a battle for second, but a bad tack and a backwinded jib by Weatherly’s very shorthanded crew allowed OZone to gain second and hold it to the finish,” Tiffany said. “Weatherly held onto third to the finish.”

Kato mastered the two-leg course on a 44 minute, 43 second elapsed sail and corrected to 45:12 PHRF for the finish, more than five minutes ahead of OZone, who sounded the finish horn on a 49:04 elapsed sail and corrected to 49:22 PHRF. Weatherly followed about a minute back at 50:05 and corrected to 50:24 PHRF to fill in the leaderboard.

Fast Company challenged at a 50:46 elapsed sail and corrected to 51:05 PHRF. She also corrected to 49:42 Club for top honors in that class, followed by Speedy (50:48 Club), and Lelele (52:11 Club).

The sixth race of the NYC Gene Wells Memorial takes place Thursday when the first flags fly at 5 p.m. The NYC Race Committee invites people to join them at the Nawiliwili Harbor jetty wall area to view the competition.


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.


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