Bockius earns pair of titles at Carbon Art Challenge

Tamara Bockius sailed through challenging conditions to win two divisions at the Carbon Art Challenge on Saturday at Kanaha Beach Park in Kahului.

Bockius, a 47-year-old Haiku yoga teacher, won the expert division in the morning racing, edging Deniz Bicakci, a 17-year-old senior-to-be at Kihei Charter School, in a tiebreaker. Each had won two races. Bicakci defeated Bockius’ daughter, Sailor, in the junior division.

Bockius won three of four heats in the afternoon to claim the women’s crown. Fujiko Onishi of Japan won one heat and was second twice to finish behind Bockius.

“I’m finally a double division winner,” Bockius said. “It was fun racing with the Japanese sailors.”

Gusty breezes ranged from 25 to 35 mph with bumpy northeast wind chop and waves from an east swell in the second event of the 29th annual Maui Race Series.

“You were dropping in at the start (line) because of the surf,” said Bockius, who calls Kanaha her home turf. “And it was so choppy, I even caught monster air going to the last outside mark. It was not flat water today, but I’m used to it, I train in that all the time.”

Onishi was part of a seven-member racing contingent from Japan. Akihiko Yamada, the nation’s second-ranked professional racer, was the top male, finishing fourth in the pro division.

“I come to Maui to practice slalom racing every year for four weeks,” said Yamada, in his 15th year of competing in the MRS. “Everyone is so fast, it’s enjoyable to race with speedy guys.”

Shinya Kunieda, Japan’s No. 4-ranked sailor, placed fifth in the pro division.

“It’s a good time to come to Maui. It’s the rainy season in Japan now, no wind,” Kunieda said.

Peter Slate, a Kula realtor, won the pro division, edging Dan Ellis. Each won two races, but Slate had a third-place finish, while Ellis’ next-best placing was fourth. Phil McGain was the runner-up in three heats, and finished third in the division.

“I had two good starts and won the first two races,” Slate said. “I was sitting good and I was thinking, ‘It’s yours, don’t let it go.’ I knew they had to come for me.

“It was neat racing. It was great to have the Japanese racers, it makes the start that much more competitive.”

McGain rebounded in the afternoon to win three of four races in the 40-49 age group, defeating Slate.

“I tuned my gear a little differently in the afternoon,” McGain said. “I tuned my sail and got a little more speed out of it. I was happy to come back and redeem myself.”

Ellis finished first in all four races in the 19-39 division. The other winners were Matt Daniells (50-59), Ted Hunter (60 and over), and Jordan Reid (semipro).

The next MRS race is the Meanline Fins Slalom on June 29.