as they close in on the finals...
29 April 2011: It was a warm and windy day out on Subic Bay. There was respite from the sun as the scattered clouds gave the sailors a break. Wind out of the east made a change and the constant 30° shifts made it difficult for Race Officer Jerry Rollin to set the windward mark without sending the fleet into a parked LNG tanker.
By popular request the race start had been pushed back to 1125, so the wind was already set in and the IRC Racing class got off only 5 minutes late - the result of a last minute windward mark adjustment.
Ffreefire was first across the line followed by Frank Pong in his 'other' boat, Boracay, and Judes Echauz' Subic Centennial seconds after. Subic Centennial was going like a train and half way up the beat was on port and level with Boracay on starboard. Centennial prepared for a big duck but Frank tacked away leaving the two boats neck and neck and arriving at the windward mark almost together. Boracay soon got into gear and powered away, passing Ffreefire before the next mark at "Barretto". The order didn't change to the finish line - 28 miles later, but the results on handicap inverted the order. Boracay's Line Honours gave her third, Ffreefire stayed in second place and Subic Centennial 25 minutes behind took first place by four and a half minutes on corrected time.
Austen Chamberlain's Irving 37, Sorcerer, joined the fleet making it six boats in the IRC1 class. Challenge and Selma Star made it off the line first with Sorcerer and Rags bringing up the rear. Challenge kept the lead for the race to take first place on handicap as well. Vivaldi, finishing fourth took second place, and Sorcerer, finishing 17 minutes behind stole third place from Jun Avecilla's First 37.7 Selma Star by only 8 seconds. Rags retired.
PY Cruising class had a race that saw the boats scattered around the Bay but all finishing within a few minutes of each other. Jeremy Simpson's Warwick 42, Shibumi was first to start by a second or two from Rapparee XXX and Serenity, only to be closely nailed down by David McKenna stopping him from tacking away. When Shibumi tacked to cross in front of Serenity the starboard sheet blew off and she tacked back behind Rapparee who then lead the class to the mark at Barretto. Shibumi and the Platu, Luzviminda, followed the other two boats down to Barretto until the Platu got bored and left Shibumi floating in the fickle breezes of Kalaklan point.
Rapparee went very high on the run to #12 buoy and died sailing DDW to the mark. Shibumi, with a full crew at last blew past Serenity halfway down the leg and rounded only a minute behind Rapparee and Luzviminda. The wind held with 12 to 20 knots in the gusts and with 30° shifts. Luzviminda got to #9 buoy first and casually sailed inside it, to the rest of the fleets delight, only to recognize their mistake a minute later, do a u-turn and round it correctly, putting them back behind Rapparee who had gone right, towards the airport. Serenity went far left to the Lighthouse Marina Resort and the waterfront beach, and Shibumi went down the middle confidently tacking on all the wind shifts, only to watch all the boats converge ahead of them on the turning mark at "Marina". Their hopes for getting ahead again on the next kite run, were dashed when they saw that the course was shortened at "Marina" and it was all over. Rapparee took line honours followed by Luzviminda, Serenity and Shibumi. Corrected times gave Serenity their third consecutive win, Luzviminda second and Shibumi third.
Tomorrow is the last day and the forecast is anybody's guess. At this time of year, with the South West monsoon trying to push up and the dying Amihan trying to push down from the North east, anything can happen.
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