on a winning streak...
27 April 2011: It was a hot and sultry night at the Welcoming Party hosted by the Lighthouse Marina resort on Wednesday night. No breeze from Mother Nature but much shooting of the breeze by the yachties gathered for the Skippers briefing and cocktails. It didn't bode well for the first race the next day. Wednesday had seen light airs all day and the forecast was not encouraging.
Before 9 am the AP flag was hanging from a pole in front of the boathouse. Race Officer Jerry Rollins held everything back until the air began to move and the AP came down at about 1015, giving the boats 45 minutes to get to the start off the Lighthouse. By the time they got there, the wind was filling in from the South West and stayed a very consistent 16 to 18 knots all day, with blazing sunshine, making the racing a blast. The IRC racing class got away at 1130 with Ffreefire leading from Mui-Mui and Subic Centennial. IRC 2 started 5 minutes later followed by the four boats in PY Cruising - all clean starts and no recalls.
Ffreefire led round the windward mark but gave up the lead to Mui-Mui before the "Marina" buoy laid off Vasco's. Mui-Mui took the class round "Kalaklan" and north to "Barretto" where Mui-Mui went left and Ffreefire went right. Ffreefire overstood the lay-line to #13 buoy by a degree or so, allowing Mui-Mui to cross in front but continued on and handed the lead back to Ffreefire who held it for the rest of the race, scorching home at 17 knots on the last reach to the finish at "Marina".
The IRC1 start, five minutes after IRC racing, saw Race co-Chairman, Jun Avecilla's Selma Star first across the line, by seconds, in front of Challenge, Vivaldi, Sandoway and Rags. Martin Tanco's Challenge, was well recovered from the loss of his rudder in January and a confrontation between his keel and a rock in Boracay. He quickly blew Selma Star into the weeds and lead round the course to the finish in just under three hours. Sandoway, again chartered from Alan Burrell by Klaas Huisjers overtook Selma Star on the shy reach to "Kalaklan" and crossed the line one minute forty behind Challenge. Veteran Doni Altura in Vivaldi pushed Selma Star back into 4th place on the beat to #4 buoy. On corrected time, Challenge held her first place, Vivaldi was second and Sandoway stole 3rd from Selma Star by just 4 seconds. Alan Burrell's Rags followed home only two minutes adrift.
PY Cruising saw twice as many boats on the water compared to last year, and this made the racing more interesting. Ray Wolfe, driving Serenity for skipper Ms. Jackie had listened to the well-meaning, but ribald advice about getting closer to the start line at the gun. He arrived at the line at full chat, but a minute early. Luckily the line was long enough to allow him to wait for the gun before arriving at the pin! All the boats started within seconds, Rapparee XXX stormed off as usual. Rapparee and the Platu Luzviminda went right and Shibumi and Serenity went left. By the windward mark, Rapparee was leading the fleet and held the lead to the finish. The Platu, always competitively sailed was next with Shibumi stealing third from Serenity at the rounding. Serenity tried to blow through below the kite-less Shibumi on the reach to "Marina" but failed and then dropped back with a bare-headed kite drop.
The order stayed much the same with Shibumi dropping back on the down-wind legs (they had two regular crew and four hard working makee-learns, so no kite) but on the upwind legs and the reaches they pulled most of it back to give them third, 11 seconds behind Luzviminda, but with Serenity, last across the line taking first place by 10 minutes on corrected time. David McKenna mumbling about his handicap got line honours but no place.
A small awarding party was held at the Lighthouse Marina resort, with Ginebra San Miguel sponsoring the prizes of a bottle of Premium Gin for each boat on the podium.
It was a great day's racing in perfect conditions and International Juror, Tom Sheppard did not have his holiday disturbed!
IRC Racing - 1ST FREEFIRE
- SAM CHAN 2ND MUI - MUI - FRANK PONG 3RD SUBIC CENTENNIAL - JUDES ECHAUZ
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