Subic Boracay Race 2012: Pre-Regatta Report
24 February, 2012
Story and photos by AsianYachting MultiMedia
Top line-up ready to take up the challenge…
Anxious skippers and crew have descended on Subic Bay in the Philippines and ready to embark on the second running of the 200nm Subic to Boracay Race (Feb 24-26) and 4-day Boracay Cup (Feb 28 – March 3rd). In the IRC Racing Class a strong contingent from Hong Kong includes defending champion Sam Chan’s TP52 Freefire, Frank Pong’s Reichel/Pugh 76 Jelik II and Neil Pryde’s Welbourn 52 Hi Fi. Up from Singapore Jonathan Mahony’s Humphrey 42 Zanzibar thrives in strong conditions and are up for the challenge. However they won’t have it all their own way as Philippine sailors have upgraded with Ernesto Echauz fielding a crew on Frank Pong’s TP52 Jelik V and Ray Ordoveza’s faithful Excel 53 Karakoa enjoys heavy going and is always in with a chance for handicap honours. Unfortunately the strong head wind and huge waves in the South China Sea over the past week has taken its toll on yachts coming from Hong Kong that have either withdrawn or suffered irreparable damage on the way.
When the starting signal sounds tomorrow off the Lighthouse Marina Resort, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Zambales, 18 local and International yachts, in three classes will set off on the 200 mile Subic to Boracay offshore race. Depending on the yachts size and speed, they are expected to take between 20 and 48 hours to reach Boracay. The course presents an interesting tactical challenge to navigators, as they can choose to pass either side of Mindoro Island. The Eastern route up the Verde Island passage, is renown for its wind against tide conditions and the often windless area around Dumali Point. The Western option will avoid these but Mindoro Island has a 2,500m high mountain range and this could provide a large wind shadow behind the island and windward conditions on the last stretch to Boracay. Last year all yachts took the Eastern route and it will take some extreme sailing conditions for an assault on the Western passage.
National communications provider PLDT are supplying tracking units for each yacht, allowing arm chair sailors to follow the fleet during the race on the PLDT Race Tracker Five boats in the IRC Cruiser/Racer Class are closely matched in size and speed. Being a little bit bigger than the rest, Martin Tanco’s X452 Challenge may have an advantage in the Line Honours stakes but has his work cut out to clinch the Handicap Honours. Jesus Avecilla’s Beneteau First 36.7 Selma Star C! Calibre ROX, Alan Burrell’s Farr 1104 Rags, Bobby Benares X119 Lethal Weapon and Klaas Huisjes chartered Sydney 36 Sandoway are regulars on the Philippine racing scene and relish the chance of racing each other, as anything can happen and usually does in the tricky Philippine waters.
Six completely different yacht designs make up the PY Cruising Class. Having won many regattas in the past, David Mc Kenna’s Sun Odyssey 42 Raparee XXX must start out as odds on favourite. Micheal Reauber’s Celestial 49 China Rose has also been on the top step of the podium and looking to repeat the performance.
David Craft’s Adams 54 Southernly Change, Elmer Gualberto’s Banner 41 NG III are making their debut on long distance racing. On a smaller scale, Goran Rudelius’ Contessa 35 Slalom Blade and David Wheeler’s Cape Carib 31 Freewheeler should not deter them from taking a pot shot at the bigger counterparts.
The second Subic Bay-to-Boracay race is the successor to the discontinued Manila-Boracay Race and with its inaugural success together with the holding of the 2011 Boracay Cup Regatta, has earned its place in the 2011-12 AsianYachting Grand Prix Championship.
The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority headed by Chairman Roberto V. Garcia and the provincial government of Aklan headed by Gov. Carlito Marquez and Vice-Gov. Gabrielle Quimpo, have sponsored the specially designed trophies for the Subic Bay to Boracay Race and the perpetual Boracay Cup Regatta. Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority chairman Roberto Garcia said “With this new development, we add more muscle to our bid for Subic Bay Freeport to be a major player in the maritime industry, as well as a world-class tourism destination. It will be a sure-fire boost to our efforts to attract more visitors to Subic and the communities nearby”.
The races are organized by the Saturday Afternoon Gentleman’s Sailing (SAGS) club of Subic Bay, under the auspices of the Philippine Sailing Association in coordination with the Subic Bay Yacht Club, Watercraft Ventures, Inc., the Lighthouse Marina Resort, the provincial government of Aklan, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), Philippine Coast Guard and the Subic Freeport Chamber of Commerce (SBFCC).
The official sponsors of the races are: Cebu Pacific Air, San Miguel Corporation, Petron, Resorts World, PLDT, The Manila Bulletin, Business World, Tanduay Rum, TIEZA, Nigi Nigi Nu Noos Resort, and Crafts of Boracay. Spectators are expected to line the Boardwalk beach in Subic Bay to watch the spectacle of the start of the race, and again will watch the finish from the beach in Boracay.
More details on the Subic Sailing website, www.subicsailing.com/index.html.