The course was A-D-E with an outside lap to the Ninini Lighthouse Buoy followed by 2 inside laps to the Kalapaki Buoy over a distance of 4.51 miles. The wind was light at 7 knots out of the East. Fast Company had Jim Saylor back from the mainland (and I confess that some of us missed him). He was short of crew and he wasn’t sure about using his spinnaker. But he did set the starting pin for the seven boat fleet.
Just before the start Fast Company and Ozone had to head up and flog their sails as they were both a little early for the start at the pin end. Fast Company had the best start with Ozone a little behind and to weather. Speedy, Double Espresso, Bonjolea II, Papa Au and Speedy followed. Bonjolea II tacked away early towards the breakwater followed by Double Espresso and later Speedy, Weatherly and Ozone. Fast Company went further and appeared to be going into a header but when they tacked back towards the breakwater they had a good lead. And on the tack out of the harbor it was Fast Company leading and Bonjolea II and Ozone were side by side with Bonjolea II to weather. Double Espresso was next. Weatherly had ducked Speedy and went a little beyond Double Espresso’s line before tacking out of the harbor. Bonjolea II fell into Ozone’s bad air and dropped back a little. Speedy tacked back towards the Hokuala Beach and in the process had to duck Weatherly. Fast Company rounded the Ninini Lighthouse Buoy first followed by Ozone and Bonjolea II. Double Espresso with Kai and Maile sharing the helm had remarkably caught up at the lighthouse buoy. But it appeared to me that they should have ducked Bonjolea II near the lighthouse buoy as by doing 3 more tacks it cost them some time. Weatherly, Speedy and Papa Au followed.
On the downwind leg Fast Company did not put up their spinnaker at first probably as they were short of crew. But with Ozone and Bonjolea II gaining on them, they eventually got their chute up. (At one point in the race Jim Saylor could be seen on the bow with Jeff Dorn steering!) It was still Fast Company in the lead as they rounded the G-11 buoy by the Coast Guard Station to head upwind. Ozone and Bonjolea II were not far behind. As the boats headed towards the cruise ship on the upwind leg on each lap, a loud whistle could be heard coming from a cruise ship crew member when they thought the sailboats were getting too close to the 100 yard obstruction zone.
Fast Company tacked back towards the breakwater about halfway up towards the mole while Bonjolea II tacked shortly after rounding the G-11 buoy. Ozone continued on and tacked later which made it so that they could clear the G-5 buoy by the breakwater to stay inside the start-finish line as required after each lap. Fast Company had to tack to stay inside the G-5 buoy but they still maintained their lead as they rounded the Kalapaki Buoy with Ozone and Bonjolea II close on their heels. Fast Company did not have a spinnaker up on this downwind leg to the gybe mark at G-7. Ozone under spinnaker knew that if they tried to pass Fast Company upwind that Fast Company would take them way up under their jib and cause Ozone’s spinnaker to collapse. So Ozone tried to pass Fast Company to leeward but Fast Company drove down to prevent that. And when Ozone went back up Fast Company drove up to protect their lead. Meanwhile, Bonjolea II was coming downwind like a rocket ship threatening to pass both boats. But when Fast Company went low to slow down Bonjolea II, Ozone went high under spinnaker and they were able to take the lead. And Bonjolea II was also able to pass Fast Company.
At the G-7 gybe mark Ozone was the inside boat at the 3 boat length circle. This did not leave much room for Bonjolea II as the catamaran Meshach is anchored fairly close to the buoy. So Bonjolea II went around outside the catamaran but this didn’t really seem to cost them much time. At the G-11 buoy by the Coast Guard Station it was Ozone rounding to head upwind in first, Bonjolea II was next and Fast Company was a little behind them. Both Bonjolea II and Fast Company tacked back towards the breakwater before Ozone who kept going and they got a nice lift and gained some.
Meanwhile, back at the Kalapaki buoy rounding it was Weatherly, Double Espresso, Speedy and Papa Au. Weatherly and Double Espresso were having a nice battle. But on the upwind leg from the G-11 buoy Double Espresso took their boat in closer to the cruise ship and when they next crossed tacks with Weatherly they were ahead.
At the next Kalapaki rounding the wind was very light and flukey. Ozone rounded first but to get any wind they looked like they were headed out to the lighthouse instead of to the G-11 buoy. Bonjolea II also reached up Fast and Ozone ended up ducking them. And Fast Company had caught up. Bonjolea II continued to reach paralleling the breakwater. Fast Company and Ozone were very close to the red R-6 buoy by the mole which is considered an obstruction (and if you hit it your boat has to do a 360 degree penalty turn). And although it looked like Fast Company wanted to go between Ozone and the R-6 buoy they ended up ducking
Ozone who gained a little. Bonjolea II had now gybed away from the breakwater and they were approaching the G-11 buoy fast on starboard tack. Ozone rounded the buoy first and headed upwind towards the finish line. Fast Company was next and tacked away early towards the breakwater. Ozone and Bonjolea II kept going and got lifted. When Fast Company tacked back towards the cruise ship they now had to duck Bonjolea II. But when Bonjolea II tacked back onto starboard Fast Company on port tacked on top of them. Bonjolea II tacked back towards the breakwater and when they tacked back onto starboard heading to the finish line some yelling could be heard from them as Fast Company tacked back onto starboard just in front of them. And at the finish line Fast Company was 5 seconds ahead while cries of “protest” came from Bonjolea II and a red protest flag was seen. Bonjolea II claims that that they were on starboard tack and that they yelled “starboard” several times and that Fast Company ignored their hails and that Bonjolea II had to alter course. There should be several witnesses on the mole who could give testimony at the protest meeting. But Ozone had taken line honors and first place in the PHRF Class. Pending the protest it is Fast Company in second place and Bonjolea II in third.
In the Club Class it was the youngest Kauai Sailing Association kids on Double Espresso in first place with Kai and Maile who shared the steering. And although Papa Au with Bill Petersen steering finished 10 seconds ahead of Speedy on handicap Speedy took second place and Papa Au third.
The fourth race in the Gene Wells Memorial Series will take place on 9/22/22 with a 5pm start. The public is invited to watch the races from the Nawiliwili mole parking area.
Click for complete results and the RaceQs replay on the Club Racing