After a long absence Jeff Olsen is back and he expertly steered Papa Au to victory in the 6 boat fleet in very light winds. In fact, with the winds so light the course had to be shortened from A-C-E to just A-E with an outside lap to the Ninini Lighthouse buoy and an inside lap around the Kalapaki Buoy. This was a wise decision on the part of the race committee. The first outside lap to the lighthouse buoy seemed to take forever with boats tacking back and forth in what usually is just a close hauled sail the entire way. The wind was more south of east than usual at maybe up to 7 knots at times.
At the start Speedy looked really good coming in close hauled to the pin to keep out the several boats that were trying to barge. This included Ozone who was early and wanted to duck, but Weatherly was just below them which prevented that. So Ozone had to circle around to restart which put them behind everyone in last place. Weatherly and Fast Company however were able to duck okay. But Speedy was called “over early” by the race committee and I am not sure that they knew that at first because it took them over a minute before they turned around and it was a painful two and a half minutes before they restarted.
Bonjolea II started about half way down the line as the most leeward boat but they were coming up fast. Because the wind was more southerly than usual all the boats could easily make it out of the harbor beyond the breakwater end. Papa Au was looking really good. Ozone was losing ground to everyone and decided to tack onto port early, away from the Hokuala Resort. Papa Au and Weatherly tacked a little bit later. Fast Company was in the lead with Bonjolea II close behind. But Fast Company gave up their lead when they over stood the Ninini Lighthouse Buoy layline and Bonjolea II was able to sneak inside and they rounded the buoy first in front of Fast Company. Papa Au rounded next followed by Ozone. Weatherly followed and then Speedy who had remarkably gained and was back in contention (after their two and a half minute restart which had put them way back). Bonjolea II and Fast Company gybed early after rounding the mark but the other boats kept going. This resulted in Bonjolea II and Fast Company having to gybe again to make it into the harbor and then gybe one more time towards the mark. All the other boats made it into the harbor without gybing again.
Papa Au is a 27 foot boat compared to the four Olson 30’s who owe Papa Au 30 seconds a mile for this 3.4 mile race. But Papa Au was sailing incredibly well and they were giving Ozone fits throughout the race. At the G-11 buoy by the Coast Guard Station Ozone was the inside boat on port tack (as the winds were so southerly boats were on port tack rather than the usual starboard). Not wanting to let Papa Au gain on them at the mark rounding, Ozone’s skipper Chris Jordan gybed the boat onto starboard tack just before the buoy. But it was too early and he yelled for someone to hold the boom out so that it wouldn’t gybe back. And Dan Judd jumped into position to hold the boom. But now there was an unexpected gybe with the boom coming over and Dan got launched, but fortunately not off the boat as he is so strong and he held on. The boom touched the buoy and Ozone had to do their penalty turn while getting Danny back on the boat safely. Meanwhile, Papa Au rounded followed by Weatherly and then Speedy who went a little wider. Ozone was now dead last. But Fast Company had spinnaker takedown issues at this mark with lines getting wrapped up in their sails causing them to sail VERY low towards the cruise ship compared to the other boats. And when they finally got things cleared up, Ozone was shocked (and elated) to see that Fast Company had to duck them.
Bonjolea II was way out in front having rounded the Kalapaki Buoy and they were now heading for the G-11 buoy after the course was shortened by the race committee. Four of the boats were on the layline for the Kalapaki Buoy as they closely passed the R-6 buoy by the race committee. But Fast Company went a lot further towards the breakwater as we normally do with our trade winds but with the wind so much more southerly they over stood and lost some time. Speedy might not have known about the shortened course as it looked like they were heading back out to the Ninini Lighthouse Buoy. But when they saw the other boats rounding the Kalapaki Buoy they came back, but this had allowed Fast Company to get ahead of them.
The wind had shifted and become stronger for the downwind run to the G-11 buoy. The wind was forward of the beam so spinnakers were not flying as they usually do on this leg. As they approached the G-11 buoy by the Coast Guard Station before heading back upwind to the finish line, Papa Au and Ozone were once again side by side. But Ozone was the inside boat and got to round first with Papa Au close behind and Papa Au was pointing better. It looked like a horse race to the finish line but Ozone was low of the R-6 buoy while Papa Au was going to easily clear it. At the last minute Ozone luffed up and barely cleared the buoy by less than a foot while the finishing horn went off. Papa Au was only 17 seconds behind. But Papa Au had an amazing race and being the smallest boat in the fleet their handicap put them first overall in the PHRF Class. Well done and congratulations! Bonjolea II took line honors and corrected to second place while Ozone took third. In the Club Class it was Speedy in first place followed by Weatherly in second and Fast Company in third.
There were not enough Kauai Sailing Association kids available to race on Double Espresso so they joined up with Weatherly so they were crowded with about 10 crew members. And on a different boat with gear in different positions things can happen (like a jib in the water, a spinnaker in the water and the main halyard released). Hopefully a good learning experience. But with Elisabeth Biuk on the helm they still finished only 43 seconds behind Ozone. After 4 of 7 races (with a throwout available) it is Ozone in the series lead with 7 points and Bonjolea II is close behind with 8 points. The other 5 boats will have a nice battle for third as they range from 19-21 points.
The 5th race in the Gene Wells Memorial Series will be held on Thursday 9/22/22 with a 5 pm 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