Jimenez Bonilla wins women’s crown at shortened MRS event

Phil McGain won the biggest men’s division and Argentina Jimenez Bonilla claimed the women’s open crown to highlight the Meanline Fins Slalom on Saturday at Kanaha Beach Park in Kahului.

The contest was the third event on the 30th annual Maui Race Series schedule, and second to be finished.

Race organizers were able to run 24 heats with 15-18 knot winds in the morning, but lighter winds and a near-sinking of the start boat halted the afternoon ability-level racing.

Race director Rick Vetromile had already abandoned the first afternoon heat due to a light wind shift when the inflatable start boat came to shore one-third full of water. With the winds still not increasing, Vetromile then canceled the remaining 12 heats.

McGain won all four heats in the 50-59 age group.

“I had a good day, the winds were generally pretty light,” he said. “I was focused on getting around the marks. I had good starts but Mike Yasak and Geoff Pease were pushing me hard.”

Jimenez Bonilla had not claimed a women’s top prize in more than two years.

“I loved the conditions today,” she said, “and I loved the Hot Sail I used today.”

Jimenez Bonilla won the first two heats while Tamara Bockius took the third. If Bockius had claimed the fourth heat, she would have won the tiebreaker and taken the division title.

Bockius broke her mast while sailing before the start sequence in the final heat, however, and was towed back to shore by the water patrol.

“I should have replaced it before it failed, it was an old piece of equipment,” Bockius said. “It was like a shotgun exploded. It was just dumb, I know stuff breaks.”

While Bockius was returning to the beach, Annie Crombie, a six-time New Zealand national slalom champion, got off to a great start and led until Jimenez Bonilla overtook her on the last outside leg. Crombie then passed Jimenez Bonilla after rounding the final outside buoy.

“I had some kind of rubbish on my fin,” Jimenez Bonilla said of the final lead change. “It slowed me down. I was trying my best to make it to the last mark.”

The day’s other winners were Dan Ellis (19-39), Peter Slate (40-49) and Ben Massenburg (60 and over).

The next MRS event is the Quiksilver Cup, scheduled for July 19 at Kanaha.