NAWILIWILI — “Yay, we’re racing.”
Jim Saylor, skippering Fast Company, gave that ecstatic outburst while piloting the Olson 30 past the Nawiliwili Yacht Club Race Committee Thursday afternoon at the jetty wall parking area that overflowed with cars from people celebrating the opening of the park following a long closure due to the COVID-19 shutdown.
“Following three months of no racing, everyone felt good to get back on the water,” said Chris Jordan, skipper aboard OZone. “It has been way too long.”
The excitement of returning to the Thursday-afternoon activity was enhanced by gusty trade winds blowing out of the northeast, and Fast Company took advantage of the conditions to push the Olson 30 to a strong, clean start off the field of eight boats in the first race of the NYC Rum Shoreline Series.
Bonjolea II, with Bonnie Tiffany at the wheel, took a quick tack to the breakwater following the start, but appeared to become a victim of bad air from the other boats. The correction to this saw the Sydney 36 being joined by Kato, another Olson 30, tacking early to the Ninini Point turnaround. Fast Company continued to the Kukui Lighthouse before tacking, the maneuver reaping an extended lead.
But Bonjolea II relished the gusty winds in open air, and at the downwind leg of the long course overtook Fast Company.
“OZone did not fly a spinnaker on the downwind leg because two foredeck crew were absent,” Jordan said. “This allowed Kato and Weatherly to gain considerably, and at the green-11 mark, Weatherly got an inside overlap on OZone and rounded the mark ahead.”
Jordan said the second spinnaker run had a lot of excitement inside the harbor (to the delight of spectators).
“Only Bonjolea II, Kato and OZone used RaceQ’s, which was disappointing,” Jordan said. “First was Weatherly to round up, or release the main, and the sheet and guy way out. Papa ‘Au followed with an amazing spinnaker dance of their own and, finally, while rounding the leeward G-11 mark, Double Espresso developed an impressive wrap of their spinnaker around the forestay that had them heading off towards the Coast Guard station. Fortunately, everyone recovered with no apparent harm done except to their egos.”
Bonjolea II held on to its lead, taking line honors on an elapsed sail of 1 hour, 3 minutes, and 31 seconds, chased by Fast Company, slipping across at 1:05:12.
The first finish was not enough to overcome the PHRF handicap for the Sydney 36, which settled for second place after Fast Company corrected to 1:05:36 PHRF for top honors, followed by Bonjolea II at 1:08:01 PHRF. Kato (1:07:40 elapsed) followed in third, 23 ticks behind (1:08:24 PHRF).
Papa ‘Au (1:11:33 elapsed) took top honors in the Club class with a 1:03:53 Club, followed by Weatherly (1:11:00 elapsed, 1:04:49 Club), and Iwa (1:24:39 elapsed, 1:05:49 Club).
The second race of the NYC Rum Shoreline Series takes place Thursday when the first flags fly at 5 p.m. from the NYC Race Committee station at the jetty wall parking area.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.