Fast Company at top of the seven-race Gene Wells Memorial series

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Fast Company and Weatherly share the same tack heading for the final leg of the Nawiliwili Yacht Club Gene Wells Memorial Series, Race No. 7 at Nawiliwili Harbor on Oct. 14.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Fast Company and Weatherly grapple with the “flukey” winds as well as the lead, avoiding the one-man craft heading to the G-11 buoy during the Nawiliwili Yacht Club Gene Wells Memorial Series, Race No. 7 at Nawiliwili Harbor on Oct. 14.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Papa A‘u, coming off a port tack at the start, and Speedy, shooting the starboard tack at the line, touch to generate a red protest flag aboard Speedy during the Nawiliwili Yacht Club Gene Wells Memorial Series, Race No. 7 at Nawiliwili Harbor on Oct. 14.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Flukey winds create a traffic jam between Fast Company, OZone, Double Espresso and Weatherly at the Kalapaki buoy coming off the start of the Nawiliwili Yacht Club Gene Wells Memorial Series, Race No. 7 at Nawiliwili Harbor on Oct. 14.

NAWILIWILI — Fast Company, piloted by Jim Saylor, survived the “fluky” winds to win the Nawiliwili Yacht Club Gene Wells Memorial Series Race No. 7 that unfolded over a 6.03-mile course in winds of 10 to 14 knots blowing out of the northeast on Oct. 14.

The victory for Saylor and company pushed Fast Company to the top of the seven-race series (with one throwout race) with 10 points, three points better than the tie for second place between Papa A‘u and OZone, which both ended with 13 points overall in the series. Chris Jordan, the skipper aboard OZone, said the tiebreaker for the runner-up position was Papa A‘u having more first-place finishes in the series.

Excitement spiced the spectator experience from the starting horn in the winds that attracted a score of kite surfers who adjourned their experience to allow the yachts to proceed unhampered by obstacles.

“In fact, the wind was so far north that all the boats except Speedy started on port tack,” Jordan said. “Fast Company had the best start at the Race Committee end of the line with Double Espresso close beside them. OZone was too early and ended up starting halfway down the line, and Weatherly was looking good and reached the breakwater where they tacked onto starboard, causing OZone to tack just below them.”

Behind the leaders, Papa A‘u started on port tack, but Speedy, coming from starboard touched the Express 27, causing a red protest flag to blossom on Speedy midway to the Kalapaki buoy.

“It was Double Espresso with the 11-to-17-year-old Kaua‘i Sailing Association kids who had tacked on a lower layline reaching the 3-boat length circle first on the inside,” Jordan said. “Fast Company had to give them room and had to go wider than they wanted to around the buoy. The kids were leading the race at this point.”

“After rounding the Ninini Lighthouse buoy with their spinnakers up, it was Fast Company which was able to get an inside overlap on Weatherly inside the harbor,” the OZone skipper said. “Fast Company took the lead rounding the G-07 buoy.”

Fast Company continued to lead until the finish horn sounded on the Olson 30’s elapsed sail of 1 hour, 7 minutes, 15 seconds for line honors. The 1:07:40 PHRF correction gave them the race.

Weatherly sounded the horn in second place on a 1:08:18 elapsed sail and correcting to 1:08:43 PHRF, just five seconds ahead of OZone, which clocked a 1:08:23 elapsed sail and correcting to 1:08:48 PHRF.

Speedy recovered from its early-race touch to cross on a 1:14:58 elapsed sail, and corrected to 1:05:40 Club for top honors in that class. Papa A‘u crossed on a 1:14:29 elapsed sail and corrected to 1:07:03 Club, followed by Double Espresso crossing on a 1:13:40 elapsed sail and correcting to 1:09:36 Club.

The final race for the Nawiliwili Yacht Club takes place Oct. 28 with the Halloween race when boat crews are encouraged to dress for the occasion. First flags fly at 5 p.m., and spectators, also encouraged to dress up, can join the NYC Race Committee at the mole parking lot area.

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

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