Jim Saylor and his crew on Fast Company were chomping at the bit to make it 5 wins in a row. But could they do it in the light and flukey Southwest winds? This Jerry McKenna Memorial Race had the unusual course U-W over 3.12 miles with shifting winds less than 10 knots and often non-existent. The first leg started towards the mountain to the G-7 buoy and then out to the Ninini lighthouse buoy and then the Kalapaki buoy. The second lap went upwind again towards the mountain to the G-9 buoy then to the Kalapaki buoy and on to the finish line.
Fast Company had the best start and took the lead. They were the first to round the G-7 buoy followed by Speedy, Ozone, and Bonjolea II. Meanwhile Weatherly was stuck an entire leg back at the starting line when the other boats had rounded. So far back...but would it last? After rounding the G-7 buoy the spinnakers came out for the downwind run. Fast Company took Bonjolea II up high towards the mole while Speedy and Ozone stayed low along the breakwater. The wind was very light and flukey and boats gybed several times trying to catch the shifting wind. Ozone gybed and ducked Fast Company’s stern in order to make it out of the harbor. Bonjolea II now passed Ozone as did Speedy as Ozone appeared to be in “Go Slow” mode. The boats approached the Ninini Lighthouse buoy as poor Weatherly was just getting out of the harbor, way back. Bonjolea II rounded first, followed by Fast Company, Speedy and Ozone. The boats maintained these positions and stayed fairly even on the way to the Kalapaki Buoy.
Bonjolea II, Fast Company and Speedy all went onto starboard tack after rounding while Ozone continued on port tack. On approaching the G-9 buoy Bonjolea II had extended their lead. And in the light flukey air Ozone briefly got ahead of Fast Company. But it was not to last. And not only did Fast Company pass Ozone but so did Speedy while Weatherly had gained remarkably. Ozone had broken their spinnaker pole and they were unable to use their spinnaker on the downwind leg to the Kalapaki buoy which cost them some time. And then on the final upwind leg to the finish line the wind gods tortured the fleet with incredibly light and shifting winds. Bonjolea II crossed the finish line for line honors while the other boats continued to struggle upwind. Speedy and Ozone tacked towards the breakwater while Weatherly saw a better wind line and stayed on the mole side of the course and they caught an amazing lift straight towards the finish line. So while Fast Company finished it was Weatherly coming in and passing Speedy and Ozone to finish ahead of them. What an incredible comeback for Weatherly!
In the PHRF Class it was Fast Company correcting to first place for 5 wins in a row. Very impressive. Bonjolea II took second place. And Weatherly who had been “tail end Charlie” by an entire leg took third place. Nice job Carl and crew. Ozone and Speedy followed with Speedy correcting to first place in the Club Class over Ozone.
The conditions were indeed challenging for this race and many were anxious for our usual trade winds to come back.
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