There was very sad news for the fleet who learned that Roger Cable, the captain of Papa Au, had passed away the day before the race. There will be lots of Roger stories as he was not only a wonderful sailor but a great human being. He will be missed.
This fifth race in the Gene Wells Series had course E-A-B with one inside lap around the Kalapaki Buoy and two outside laps to the Ninini Lighthouse Buoy over a distance of 5.92 miles. The wind was out of the North Northeast at 8-10 knots so the larger #1 headsails were being used by most of the fleet (although Fast Company had a large hole in theirs and couldn’t use it, which hurt them).
The start was very interesting with Speedy, Weatherly and Bonjolea II starting on port tack near the race committee and Papa Au, Ozone and Fast Company starting on starboard tack near the pin end. But port tack appeared to be tremendously favored as the boats took off… until… Speedy, Weatherly and Bonjolea II were all called “over early” by the race committee and they had to restart which cost them a lot of time. Speedy turned back first to restart… but did they go far enough??? Bonjolea II turned back next costing them a minute and 10 seconds and Weatherly turned back last.
Meanwhile Ozone was trying to squeeze out Fast Company who was barging at the pin end, but Fast Company had enough speed to stay clear. Fast Company who was in the lead now tacked back towards the breakwater and when they reached it they tacked back onto starboard. But Ozone got a lift and was able to parallel the breakwater so they gained. But Speedy on port tack had such a lift that they passed everyone and took the lead! And on the next tack Ozone was in front of Fast Company.
Now Bonjolea II was coming up fast on port tack also (similar to Speedy) and they ducked Ozone and Fast Company. At the Kalapaki Buoy rounding it was Speedy in first followed by Ozone, Bonjolea II, and Fast Company. Weatherly and Papa Au were next to round. Downwind under port spinnaker pole Speedy and Ozone reached up towards the breakwater before heading to the G-11 buoy by the Coast Guard Station. Fast Company went lower, more middle of the road and it looked like they were gaining. Bonjolea II had continued reaching on starboard tack after the rounding in order to gybe later at hotter angles which makes them really fast. When Ozone now gybed their spinnaker back onto starboard to head to the G-11 buoy they also had a hot angle and came in a little in front of Fast Company.
Heading upwind now Fast Company tacked away early towards the breakwater and Ozone tacked to cover them. Meanwhile, Bonjolea II was coming in very fast at their hot angle and they passed Speedy at the rounding. But upwind Speedy was pointing better and getting separation from Bonjolea II. And when Bonjolea II tried to tack back towards the breakwater Speedy was in the way and Bonjolea II had to quickly tack back costing them some time. A short while later both boats tacked at the same time towards the breakwater.
After each lap boats are required to cross the finish line in case the race committee has to shorten the course. Ozone was able to stay inside the G-5 buoy as required but Fast Company had to tack to stay inside, and this cost them a little bit. Bonjolea II and Speedy got a huge lift upwind on port tack and Bonjolea II closely ducked Ozone and Fast Company. When the boats tacked onto port to get out of the harbor it was now Bonjolea II in the lead followed by Ozone. And Speedy had now caught up enough that Fast Company had to duck their stern! And when they reached the Ninini Lighthouse Buoy rounding it was Bonjolea II in the lead followed by Ozone, Speedy, Fast Company, Weatherly and Papa Au. Downwind Speedy and Fast Company were having a close battle with Fast Company finally passing with their new spinnaker (which has a very nice Jim Saylor Jewelry logo on it).
The next upwind lap had the Kalapaki Buoy rounded to starboard before heading out to the Ninini Lighthouse Buoy. The wind by the Kalapaki Buoy was very light and flukey, as is common. And Bonjolea II extended their lead here quite a bit while the other boats floundered. And the downwind leg required going around the G-7 and the G-11 buoys before heading upwind to the finish line. The fleet positions stayed the same and Bonjolea II took line honors. But Ozone, with the Olson 30 handicap of 33 seconds a mile over the Sydney 36 Bonjolea II, took first place in the PHRF Class by 32 seconds. Bonjolea II took second place. If Bonjolea II had not been called “over early” by the race committee with the restart costing them a minute and 10 seconds the results could have been very different. And Fast Company who took third place was bemoaning the fact that their large #1 sail used in light air had a big hole in it and couldn’t be used or their results could have been quite different too.
In the Club Class it was Speedy in first place followed by Weatherly in second and Papa Au in third. Kudos to Papa Au for putting a crew together and racing without their leader Roger Cable.
The 6th and next to last race in the Gene Wells Memorial Series will be held on Thursday 10/6/22 with a 5pm start. The public is invited to watch the races from the Nawiliwili Mole parking area.
Click for complete results and the the raceQs replay on the Club Racing