After four rounds of the Juneau Cup Challenge yacht race series, Haiku has emerged as one of the top boats to beat.
Haiku, manned by skipper Brian Lieb, captured the first leg of the July 23 race from Auke Bay to Funter Bay. Haiku upended rivals Toison Dor and Loaa Nalu, who finished in second and third place respectively.
"In fact he's got five firsts right now so that's hard to beat," said Juneau Challenge Cup director Jim Mahan. "Haiku and Brian Lieb are pretty hard to beat."
On the return trip on July 24, heavy cruiser Loaa Nalu captured first place in the second leg of the race. Loaa Nalu topped second-place Toison Dor, piloted by skipper Dave Dierdorff, and third-place Haiku to win the race.
The yachts started in Funter Bay and raced down to Pt. Retreat.
Loaa Nalu finished the course in just under three hours to win by nearly 30 minutes in the 20 nautical mile race.
In the third race, the ship Amber took first place in the first leg on July 9 with Haiku edging Seven on the return trip on July 10.
"Amber is in there and he's been a surprise," Mahan said. "(Skipper) Rick Turner is sailing solo and he's doing really well."
On June 18, Loaa Nalu won the second race of the Juneau Cup Challenge by defeating second-place Amber and third-place Seven.
To start the season on Memorial Day weekend, Haiku captured two of the three legs in the opening race of the Juneau Cup Challenge.
Haiku won the second and third legs and finished second to Seven in the first leg.
The Juneau Cup Challenge is a unique yacht race that seeks experience sailors and brand-new rookies to the sport.
The Cup also gives every boat a shot at winning by using a scoring system that's generous to the larger, cruising vessels.
The next race takes place Aug. 6-7.
A boat needs to compete in at least five legs to be eligible for the Juneau Cup, which is awarded following the last race on Labor Day weekend.
Anyone interested in participating in this event can contact Mahan at 780-4565. Previous yachting experience is not necessary.
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org