Ready for the Philippine Blue water classic...
By AsianYachting MultiMedia
17:02:2017 Subic Bay, Philippines: It's that time of the year again, when the top racing teams in Asia, come together for the 220nm Philippine blue water classic, Subic Bay to Boracay Race. When the high noon starting signal sounds on Saturday 18th in Subic Bay, a great lineup of maxi yachts, Frank Pong's Custom Dibley 75 Jelik is back to defend the title and Geoff Hill's Smith 72 Custom Antipodes, will be taking on Seng Huang Lee’s massive 100ft Scallywag, having rushed back, after contesting the Sydney Hobart Race in December. They are aiming to break the race record and add it to the Hainan Race record they smashed last year.

In 2015 Syd Fischer's Ragamuffin 90 skippered by David Witt, took only 16hrs 23mins 17secs, to cross the finish line at 04:23:17, early Sunday morning and shaved a whopping 4hrs 29mins 15secs from the previous record set by Frank Pong's Custom Dibley 75 Jelik back in 2013. It seems only fitting, that David Witt returns as skipper of Scallywag (Syd Fischer's ex Ragamuffin 100) and this time is the mastermind behind Seng Huang Lee’s increasingly busy Asian racing campaign and back in the driving seat.

In all, 14 grand prix yachts, divided into 3 classes are ready for a challenging and tactical race. The top racing yachts in Asia, enjoy putting their crew skills to the test, in pursuit of an elusive victory and improving their AYGP Rankings, as the 2016-17 Season comes to an end.

The tropical destination of Boracay has always been a lure for visiting sailors, where action on and off the water is guaranteed. Taking advantage of the active night life, with high speed racing action during the day, keeps the adrenalin flowing and International crew consider it on par with regattas in the Caribbean.

This race is not all about the big yachts battling over line honours, glory comes with victory in the Overall IRC handicap stakes. Ernesto Echauz's all Philippine crew on TP 52 Standard Insurance Centennial III won the title two years ago, have been honing their racing skills at regional events and always ready to make an impression. Arch rival Ray Ordoveza's Excel 53 Karakoa have won this race twice before, and are a team that thrives when the going gets tough and will be gunning for another victory.

Fred Kinmonth / Nick Burns Sydney GTS 43 EFG Mandrake, claimed the IRC 2 Class handicap honours last year and aim to go one better this year, with overall victory. Presently leading the AYGP Rankings, Steve Manning and Anthony Root's Ker 42 Black Baza enjoy high speed sleigh rides with overall IRC victory on the Hainan, Vietnam and China Sea Race last year and are looking forward to extracting the same performance on the long downwind leg to Boracay.

First up, is getting out of Subic Bay in clear air, avoiding the wind shadows down the coast and through the strong tidal Verde Island Passage, then round the often becalmed and tricky Dumali Point, before embarking on a downwind sleigh ride all the way to Boracay.

Philippine Sailing Association President, Jude Echauz takes an owners prospective, saying the regatta is a must-do-event for the continent’s top sailors since “It passes through clear-blue waters and along the most scenic coastlines in the Philippines, before ending up at the world-famous resort island of Boracay.”

The Racing Class 2, have two bites at the cheery with a chance at overall IRC victory, as well as their own class title. The usual Philippine suspects are fronting up again and full of enthusiasm. Martin Tanco's Sydney 46 Centennial II and Jun Avecilla's Beneteau First 36.7 Selma Star have tasted victory before. Leading the expat charge, is Bobby Benares Beneteau 44.7 Sabad and one to watch out for, is crafty Aussie sailing legend, Peter Sorensen's newly purchased Farr 40 Ramrod, making their debut with a high performance racing machine.

Despite the newly formed Philippine Grand Prix Circuit, efforts to encourage more participation by Cruiser/Racers in the region, the race reputation for strong wind and the possibility of boat breaking conditions, has reduced the Cruising fleet to Xiong Ting Oceanis 45 Mermaid and Michiel Brinkers Andrews 70 Bella Uno, returning for another crack at the elusive title. Late entry by Ronny Johansson's Swan 371 Sea Song brings some pedigree and makes it a three boat class.

The fun continues after the race and into next week for the Boracay Cup. The scores are combined and becomes the 8th Five Star Ranking event on the annual AsianYachting Grand Prix (AYGP). All participating skippers and yachts on 12 selected Asian events are awarded points, based on their overall placing's at the end of the regatta. The score goes towards being crowned the AYGP Skipper & Yacht of the Year. Check out the 2016-17 AYGP Rankings, by clicking on Skipper - Yacht - Regatta and Scoring System.

The Regatta Organising Authority is Subic Sailing, under the auspices of the Philippine Sailing Association and in conjunction with Watercraft Ventures, Inc., the Lighthouse Marina Resort, the provincial government of Aklan, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), Philippine Coast Guard and the Municipal Government of Malay.

Spectators are expected to line the Boardwalk beach in Subic Bay to watch the starting spectacle, and the finish from the main beach in Boracay.

Results will be posted at
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