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AY Race Report 4 & Summary

2015/16 AY Grand Prix Event

Victory for EFG Mandrake and Selma Star
By AY MultiMedia
1st April 2016, Subic Bay, Philippines:
It might be April Fools day, but on Subic Bay the serious business of wrapping up the Commodore's Cup was on everyone's mind. The starts were fiercely contested, as the final race results, would determine the overall winner. The early start, to stay in the NE'ly trade wind, worked well and although the wind strength hovered around 8 to 10 knots, two windward/leeward races were completed for the Racing Class and one short Point to Point race for the Cruising Class. By 1300, everyone was back onshore and packing up the boat. Not only has it been an up and down week wind wise, but close racing, a contentious protest call, getting caught in the wind shadow of bigger boats, only seconds separating the finishers and lady luck has juggled the placing's, to rely on these final races to crown the overall winner.

After being disqualified in Race 2 and a couple of mid fleet finishes, Anthony Root and his fully wound up crew, on the Ker 42 Black Baza, were determined to shake off the gremlins and clamber back on top of the leader board. A clear start and tack away to the right hand side, paid dividends by posting first place on the first race. Despite starting at the back of the fleet and trailing around the course, Nick Burns Sydney GTS 43 EFG Mandrake corrected out in second place and consolidate their overall lead. Taking advantage of the lighter breeze, Martin Tanco's symmetric spinnaker carrying Sydney 46 Centennial II, sailed down the middle of the course to claim third place. Fourth and fifth places for Ernesto Echauz's TP 52 Standard Insurance Centennial III and Geoff Hill's Smith 72 Custom Antipodes, ruled them out of the winners circle.

Getting sandwiched between Centennial II to leeward and Antipodes big wind shadow to windward at the start line, hampered Black Baza's progress up the beat and some unfavourable wind shifts, saw them round the top mark in last place. As the 'Drop Race' came into play, they knew to win the title on their first attempt, they would have to win this race. Accelerating on the downwind gusts, Black Baza made their way through the mid fleet, but couldn't make back the time lost at the start.

As Nick Burns EFG Mandrake crossed the finish line, the crew were high fiveing and shaking hands, so the onlookers knew they had won the Racing Class title. Only 11 seconds behind on corrected time, Ernesto Echauz's Standard Insurance Centennial III slotted into second place and Martin Tanco's Centennial II one minute adrift in third again. Relegating Black Baza to fourth place and having to settle on second overall.

Echauz's Standard Insurance Centennial III won the line honours battle with Hill's Antipodes and finishing most races on the podium, has earned them third overall. Talk about swings and slippery slides on the result sheets, at the end of each day has kept the regatta alive and the media thoroughly entertained.

No change in the Cruising Class, as Jun Avecilla's Beneteau First 36.7 Selma Star won every race and Viggo Lisson's Beneteau First 31.7 Selma followed suite with second places. Garry Kingshott's Fusion 40 catamaran Kerida, was completely outclassed by the monohulls, to consistently score third places and end up respectively in the overall stakes.

In the Streaker dinghy class, Roel Batlagan came from behind to score seven wins out of twelve races, to proudly take home the trophy. Early leader, Boyet Magsanay mostly finished on the podium but had to concede the lead to Batlagan by five points, for second overall. After a close battle, Janno Dalanon did the best of the rest for third place.

Eleven Optimists went head to head and enjoyed the outing. John Pert Laud out sailed them all and posted 10 wins in a row before taking the foot of the accelerator. Stringing together mostly second and third places, Dazer Balangue claims second place in front of his older brother Daven Balangue in third place. Good to see a fearless and can do attitude, together with youthful sailing exuberance growing in the Philippines.

Summary
After the Rolex China Sea Race, watching a constant stream of racing yachts leave Subic Bay for their home ports, its a pity that they couldn't find the time, to join in the action and left wondering, what will it take to convince foreign boat owners, to take part on the week after Easter each year. More cooperation between the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club race team and Subic Sailing has been discussed and agreed upon.

Although there was only eight yachts competing, they are some of the top ranked teams on the Asian circuit, and judging by the twist and turns over four days of racing, does not diminish the desire to compete at the top level. Conducting their first complete big boat event, PRO Medy Fidel and her youthful Philippine Sailing race team, must be commended for successfully running the regatta and keeping on schedule.

So if your looking for some good sailing weather on flat water and some friendly Philippine hospitality thrown in, mark down the week after Easter in your diary

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