Another crazy day at Kanaha for the final Maui Race Series event, which is the “Hawaii State Championship”, with winds gusting up to the usual 25 knots and this time a wind swept north swell rolling through the course. The proceedings got under way without delay with the age group races being held in the morning and the ability groups including the prestigious Pro (Open) division being held in the afternoon.
Mike Yasik sporting his Carbon Art boards once again dominated his 50 age group winning all four heats by a comfortable margin, taking his fifth win of the season and securing the county championship as well as the becoming State Champion. Congrats to Mike a fine season of racing and looking like he’s back at his best after breaking a leg last year.
Fresh off his crazy European Ultra adventures in Ironman Germany and the Alps trail race, Phil McGain put in a serious week of training and tuning to get himself ready for the Hawaii State Championships this past weekend, however it didn’t go as planned during the morning heats as he finished second to Kevin Ozee in the Mens 40 division. Phil riding the Carbon Art 58, got off to a good start winning the first heat, then placed third in the next heat, but while leading the third heat he fell at mark number 3 and allowed Kevin Ozee and Alex Aguera to pass, which gave Kevin the win, leaving Phil in second and Alex in third overall.
With a short lunch break the sailors were once again called for duty to tackle the howling trade winds and short chop of Kanaha. The stacked Pro division got underway with all the heavy hitters leading into the first buoy at full speed, but it was Pieter Bijl leading after the jibe from Phil McGain and Dan Ellis close on both their tails. Peiter would hold on to win this heat from McGain and Ellis.
Heat two was underway once again Peiter Bijl showing he mean’t business today, took the lead again at the first bouy but it was the Kiwi Peter John charging into second, Dan Ellis in third and McGain holding onto fourth. That was the way they finished heat two….. Peiter Bijl was in control.
Heat three was to become the ace card for McGain now switching down to his favorite Carbon Art 55, controlled himself at the start, getting away clean once again, but only managing to be in second at the first buoy behind Peter Slate, Alex Aguera was pushing now in third place…. fourth out of the mark was Peiter Bijl. Slate crossed the line in first, McGain second (the ace card), Aguera third and Bijl fourth. However, it’s not over so stay tuned.
Heat four started in a gusting 25 knots and McGain flew across the line hoping to win at least one heat of the day. At the first bouy McGain inside edged his nose ahead of Peiter Bijl and rounded in first, with Peter Slate rounding out the top three. By bouy two McGain found the right wave to pull off a clean jibe,Bijl close in second and Slate holding onto third, looking for a chance to pass. McGain held on to win heat four, with Bijl and Slate back in second and third place.
As it’s said so many times, “it’s not over til the fat lady sings”, well this sure was going to be the case today. Peiter Bijl as well as Phil McGain thought the results we secure with Bijl winning the Pro division, however while at the prize giving, McGain was informed he was to be crowned State Champion. Apparently the batteries went dead on the radio’s and the boat ran out of gas in the late afternoon, so it was only 5.30pm when the results were final calculated taking into consideration that Peiter Bijl and Peter Slate had a premature start in heat 3 in the Pro division, this moved McGain up to first place in that heat and with a tie breaker McGain would win the Pro division, Bijl second and Alex Aguera third.
McGain had this to say at the Paia Inn before the prizing giving- “ I’m very happy to hear the news tonight, my goal is to be consistent with my race strategy and work to maintain good starts, obviously it paid off. The Boards have felt incredible this season and once again Maui has delivered some of the best slalom sailing in the World”.