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Chris Jordan | Published on 9/4/2023
This series is named after longtime NYC member Gene Wells who was a master boat builder. These were all wooden sloops and he built them in his garage in Anahola. Although none of these boats were in this race they are fondly remembered. Jim Saylor, the recently retired jeweler, still has the 25 foot “Whitecap”. I always coveted the 26 foot “Rebel” which I thought had beautiful lines. Ozone crew woman Sj Lehoven owned the 35.5 foot cutter rig sloop “Mapuana” for many years. Other boats included the 39 foot “Sarina”, the 40 foot “Fidelia”, the 40 foot “Reina Moana”, and a 24 footer renamed “Tiare”. The very experienced offshore sailor Mel Wills owned the 31 foot yawl “Malia” and he always seemed to be winning the races in his day.

This race had course A-H-E over a distance of 4.26 miles and the wind was out of the Northeast at 14 knots. Bonjolea II and Ozone started on starboard tack close to the pin end but Ozone was too early and went head to wind to kill time. Then they had to fall off down the starting line until the gun went off and Bonjolea II had a better start nearer to the pin. Double Espresso started on port tack closer to the race committee and they were just a little behind the starboard tackers and had to duck them (so I am thinking that the starting line was fairly well positioned). Dick Olsen was not sailing on Speedy as he just returned from a long trip to the East Coast and beyond. But whoever took his position on the helm was doing a very good job.

Bonjolea II was going fast as Ozone tacked behind them towards the breakwater. When Bonjolea II started to get headed in towards Kalapaki Bay, they tacked out of the harbor closer to the end of the breakwater. Ozone and Double Espresso kept going in further and when they tacked out of the harbor Ozone was a bit to weather of Double Espresso. And both of those boats seemed to be pointing higher than Bonjolea II who had Speedy on their same line but further back. Double Espresso was doing a very good job pointing and they got upwind to the same line as Ozone but still a little behind. At the Ninini Lighthouse Buoy it was Bonjolea II in the lead followed by Ozone, Double Espresso and Speedy. Downwind surfing the waves is usually a lot of fun, but Ozone was missing 3 of their crew who could do foredeck work and so they didn’t fly their spinnaker so they were not as fast and they couldn’t gain any on Bonjolea II. Meanwhile Speedy was gaining on Double Espresso.

At the second rounding of the Kalapaki Buoy Bonjolea II was way in the lead, followed by Ozone. But Speedy was now gaining even more on Double Espresso and a real battle was taking place. And when those two boats rounded the G-9 buoy to head back upwind, Speedy had a better rounding and they were outpointing Double Espresso. So when the two boats next crossed paths, Speedy was very close to Double Espresso’s stern.

The 4 boats rounded the Kalapaki Buoy for the 3rd and final time and they were still in essentially the same positions. And as Ozone rounded the G-11 buoy by the Coast Guard Station, Bonjolea II was just crossing the finish line and taking the horn for line honors and first place. Ozone was in second place 27 seconds behind on handicap time. Double Espresso took third place in a very close finish only 10 seconds ahead of Speedy.

The second race of the seven Gene Wells Memorial Series will take place on Thursday September 7th with a 5 pm start. The public is invited to watch the races from the Nawiliwili mole parking area where they can socialize with the race committee and see the boats up close.


Click for complete results and the RaceQs replay on the Club Racing page