The winners are Hi FI, Frantic and Selma
14 April 2012: The departure of two US Naval ships delayed the start of racing until they cleared the port. After three days of fluctuating Easterly breeze in the morning, the emphasis was to get the first race run quickly while continually monitoring any signs of the seabreeze arriving. As the land breeze continued into the afternoon the second and final race flowed straight on which surprisingly stayed true for the entire race and produced fair results. Despite all this there was no shortage of determination amongst the troops right up to the last race when Hi Fi, Mandrake and Freefire were recalled for being over the start line as the horn sounded.
Neil Pryde had the pedal to the metal on Hi Fi in the first race and went on to claim the daily double. Second place for Simon Powell"s A40 Sell Side Dream provided a bit of breathing space for Hi Fi over their closest rival Fred Kinmonth / Nick Burns Mills 40 EFG Bank Mandrake in the overall stakes. The start of the last race was like a winner take all event as they charged into the start line with no escape route. Inevitably all three top contenders Hi Fi, Mandrake and Freefire were immediately recalled and a mad scramble to get back took place. The two dueling leaders seemed to take a tack into oblivion on the second time round and left the door open for EFG Bank Mandrake and Sell Side Dream to capitalize and make up ground. Posting a second win in the series EFG Bank Mandrake closed to within one point of Hi Fi but Neil Pryde had done enough in the earlier races that he could afford to drop the fifth place and still sail away with the title. Simon Powell must be happy with Sell Side Dream's third place overall in the mixed company of racing class boats.
In the IRC Cruiser Class, Ridgely Balladares Farr Platu 25 Frantic has virtually been untouchable since the beginning. Posting 4 wins and a second place they did not have to contest the final race to win the title. Two solid second places for Jun Avecilla's Beneteau First 36.7 Selma Star C! Calibre ROX lifts them back up the points table into second overall. The less experienced Emerson Villena's Farr Platu 25 Body Shot bounced around in second and third places but managed to score first place in the absence of Balladares Frantic in the last race to claim third overall and go away brimming with confidence for future events.
The PY Cruising Class saw Viggo Ligon's Beneteau First 31.7 Selma win all four races and clinch the title. All the huff and puff on David McKenna's Jeanneau 42 Rapparee XXX but they could not convert line honours into handicap wins and have to settle on second overall.
Further promotion especially in Hong Kong will hopefully entice the sailors to stay on after the China Sea Race and enjoy some good ole Philippine hospitality with tropical yacht racing thrown in. Bringing an end to the long standing rift between members of the Manila Yacht Club could also help improve on the number of competitors that has seen a decline over past years. Improving relationships with the media and fully utilizing their own websites with results, photos and video will go a long way to promoting the event and give competitors confidence the event is on. A lot of these suggestions are growing pains for the organisers and I'm sure over time these will be overcome and in future the regatta will go from strength to strength.
This 2012 Commodore's Cup - Race Reports are kindly bought to you by the following supporters