NAWILIWILI — OZone owner Chris Jordan said, “No one likes to see boats get hurt” during the heavy variable Kona winds that blanketed the Nawiliwili Yacht Club Gene Wells Memorial Series, Race No. 6.
The weather conditions that included the threat of rain in winds blowing out of the southwest at 8 to 12 knots wrecked havoc on the six-boat fleet before the first flags sprouted.
“Virtually, all of the racing sailboats have upwind slips for our usual trade winds out of the east,” Jordan said. “But with the opposite Kona winds, it was hard to get out of these slips for the five racing sailboats that did not use an engine. Papa A‘u got out of their slip early and put up a jib, and with some maneuvering they were able to get things under control. Kato, on the other hand, ended up having to be pushed off other boats closer in on the dock by fellow sailors. Eventually, they got out intact.
“OZone saw all this and had two crew members paddle the boat out before they put up their main and got away easily.
“Fast Company, as last one out, was not so fortunate. Having some difficulty in the flukey Kona winds and with their jib up, they crashed into a concrete piling at the end of their dock, causing significant damage, and breaking their spinnaker pole into pieces — no one likes to see boats hurt.”
The damage did not keep Fast Company out of the sixth race of the series, but took its toll without the use of its spinnaker.
Kato shot from the middle of the pack in the start to take the lead followed by Fast Company and OZone close behind.
“OZone was quite surprised when Fast Company did not put up its spinnaker heading out towards the Ninini Point Lighthouse buoy, unaware of Fast Company’s broken spinnaker pole at this point,” Jordan said. “Not having its spinnaker did not hurt Fast Company who not only kept up with OZone, but gained on them with just the jib. OZone took down their spinnaker and put their jib back up halfway out to the lighthouse which allowed Fast Company to gain even more.”
Following the second lap to the Ninini Point Lighthouse, the fleet headed into an upwind run in the Kona winds, rather than the traditional downwind spinnaker run.
“Bonjolea II was doing remarkably well in the lighter air, eventually taking the lead,” Jordan said. “OZone realized that they would never catch Kato or Fast Company by following them, and looked around for more wind that appeared to be off to the left towards the mountain.
“OZone tacked, and on the next header, they tacked back getting a very nice lift. Being on the inside of this lift, OZone was gaining substantially on Kato and Fast Company. The finish line was truly a photo finish as the three Olson 30 craft finished within six seconds of one another, and following the PHRF handicaps, OZone (elapsed sail 1 hour, 20 seconds; 1:00:42 PHRF) was in first place by four seconds over Fast Company (1:00:24 elapsed, 1:00:48 PHRF), and Kato (1:00:18 elapsed; 1:0057 PHRF).”
Bonjolea II, taking line honors by breaking the hour mark on a 58:06 elapsed sail, corrected to 57:17 Club for top honors in that class followed by Papa A‘u (1:06:10 elapsed; 59:05 Club) and Weatherly (1:08:58 elapsed; 1:02:58 Club).
“The NYC Gene Wells Series has seven races with one throwout,” Jordan said. “Fast Company has three first finishes and three second finishes (following Race No. 6), and are unbeatable, and they don’t even need to race the final race. However, we all expect the very competitive skipper Jim Saylor on Fast Company to be out there.”
The final race of the Gene Wells Memorial Series takes place Thursday when the first flags fly at 5 p.m. This race also marks the end of the NYC sailing calendar as the winter weather comes in. The calendar takes a break until at least February, 2021.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.