day in paradise...
24:02:2011 After yesterdays howling gale that reached the top of the boats wind range, the crews have regrouped and sorted out the damaged gear. The conditions have moderated a little, down to 15-18 knots and PRO Jerry Rollin chose Course 4 for the Racing Class and Course 8 for the IRC 1 Class for the long passage race. This would take the yachts across the front of the famous Boracay beach and between Carabao and Boracay Islands, up to Tablas Island and back. After the hard slog upwind between the islands the crews would be rewarded with a long slide downwind and fast reach across the bay to the finish. Most boats were out early for sail selection and fine tuning. Unfortunately Ray Ordoveza's Excel 53 Karakoa hit the reef and suffered some keel damage and Jelik V skippered by Tiffany Koo found further mainsail batten problems during the pre-start which forced them to retire from today's race.
This left the three main combatants in the racing class to fight it out. Frank Pong's 75ft Reichel/Pugh Jelik II once again powered around the course to secure line honours. Sam Chan's TP 52 Ffreefire has mounted an impressive challenge throughout the regatta and claimed their fourth win in a row to put themselves in an unbeatable position in the overall standings. The two yachts have locked horns in high-speed action all week and have fought it out to the finish in every race. Sailing master on Ffreefire Russ Parker commented "That they are getting better with every race by learning to fully power up the boat and go for it. They also have the measure of the competition and are sending out a warning to Neil Pryde and Ray Roberts when they come together again". Ernesto Echauz's Sydney 46 Centennial battled on but had to settle on third place which ties them for second place overall with Jelik and they will have to go like a bat out of hell in the remaining races to hold position.
Only meters separate the remaining two yachts in the IRC 1 Class. The Carabao mark drifted a little off station which caused some concern to the navigator on Jesus Avecilla Beneteau First 36.7 Selma Star. In the confusion Claudio Altura's J35 Vivaldi took over the lead and despite a late charge by Selma Star on the home straight, Vivaldi held onto the lead to score the daily double. This makes it four wins in a row and Altura's Vivaldi secures the inaugural title with two races to go.
After some long negotiations with the Boracay Coastguard and Parau Association, an impromptu race for the local bamboo outriggers (Parau) took place this afternoon. Fifteen teams from the competing yachts with the local drivers set off from a beach start and reached up and down the length of the beach in grand style. There were no rules other than the course and flagging off from the start boat. One boat is even named Alinghi, such is the reach of the America's Cup. Perhaps Ernesto could pick up a few tips. Follow the speedboat with the pink flag with the chief of the Coastguard onboard that carries the biggest hand gun. No arguments there even if you start a little early.
The Philippine team from the regatta startboat on Sea Lavender have seen how important it is to get a good start plus clean air and Capt Arlan Sullano responded by taking the lead in the early stages and went on to win the inaugural Boracay Cup Parau Race in fine style. Some local ring ins on Aima 2 led by Capt Victor Maglaog jumped the gun but were quickly overhauled and ended up in second place. The Karakoa Team on Crepes skippered by Francis Casidsid picked up a favourable gust just after the start and stormed into contention but eventually had to settle on third place. All in good fun and expected to be bigger and better next year.
Tomorrow is the final day of racing with two more windward leeward races scheduled. Although the rate of attrition has been very high the remaining competitors will all be out on the water as the podium places have to be settled.
More details on the Subic Sailing Website http://www.subicsailing.com/index.html
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