OZone win forces playoff for Wells Series

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    OZone comes up on the port tack at the start of the NYC Gene Wells Series, Race No. 6 at Nawiliwili Harbor.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    A six-man canoe makes a break across the Nawiliwili Harbor as the race leaders, Weatherly, Fast Company, Speedy, and OZone come off the first of two long legs during the NYC Gene Wells Series, Race No. 6 at the Nawiliwili Harbor.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Close race for the lead as OZone leads Fast Company and Weatherly coming in on the second leg of the NYC Gene Wells Series, Race No. 6 at the Nawiliwili Harbor.

NAWILIWILI — Thursday is a very important race for Papa A‘u, OZone, and Fast Company as the Nawiliwili Yacht Club closes the Gene Wells Memorial Series with Race No. 7.

“This is a very close race for the series winner with Papa A‘u and Fast Company tied for first with nine points apiece,” said Chris Jordan, the skipper aboard OZone who took the Race No. 6 victory by a mere 17 seconds. “OZone follows with 10 points, including the one throwout of their worst race. So, it looks like whoever wins the last race, Thursday, will win the series.”

Racing in winds ranging from 10- to 14-knots out of the northeast, the fleet of six boats saw OZone try a port tack at the start of the race covering 6.03 miles.

“The wind appeared stronger than the 10 to 14 knots noted by the NYC Race Committee, and a reef was seen in the main of Double Espresso and OZone had its reef line in place and ready.”

The port tack would’ve worked, but Speedy had a good start and OZone had to tack below Speedy when they met in the channel near the breakwater.

Jockeying for rights, Weatherly took the lead coming off the Kalapaki buoy, and OZone was not able to capitalize on its new No. 3 jib.

Weatherly rounded the Ninini Point buoy first followed by OZone and Fast Company.

“OZone gained,” Jordan said. “Weatherly had spinnaker issues and OZone gained. OZone had its small ounce-and-a-half ‘chicken chute’ up which made it easier to control, but lacked some horsepower. Weatherly gybed their spinnaker on to port, but OZone stayed on starboard with rights and came up to mess with them.”

“Heading back upwind to the Kalapaki buoy for the final lap, both OZone and Fast Company tacked too early as they got headed, and had to do two more tacks to make it around the buoy,” Jordan said. “But Weatherly who tacked at about the same place on the layline got a nice lift and made it around the buoy without the additional two tacks.”

That did not affect the race outcome as OZone took line honors on an elapsed sail of 1 hour, 7 minutes, and 21 seconds, and corrected to 1:07:46 PHRF for the win that came just 17 seconds ahead of Fast Company that crossed on a 1:07:38 elapsed sail and corrected to 1:08:03 PHRF. Weatherly topped the Top Three on a 1:09:37 elapsed sail and corrected to 1:10:03 PHRF.

Speedy corrected to 1:06:18 Club for top honors in that division followed by Papa Au correcting to 1:06:34 Club for second place by 16 seconds. Double Espresso finished with a 1:12:40 Club correction for third place.

The seventh, and final race of the NYC Gene Wells Memorial Series takes off, Thursday when the first flags fly at 5 p.m. from the Nawiliwili Harbor jetty parking area.

“There is no race scheduled on Oct. 21,” Jordan said. “The final race of the season is the Halloween Race on Oct. 28.”

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

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