Friday, March 27, 2015

Extreme Hobie Regatta Brings International Sailors to the Philippines

By Arabelle Jimenez

Hobie racers shores up after Leg 2 at the Port of the Galleons, Puerto Galera, Philippines.

The 15th AboitizPower Philippine Hobie Challenge once again highlighted the country as one of the premiere sailing destinations in the world through its week-long regatta held last March 14 to 22, 2015. Thirteen entries from different parts of the globe showcased their expertise as the race allowed them to sail in two challenging sea passages—the Verde Island Pass and the Calavite Pass.

Perfect weather for sailing in the Philippines.

Among the adventurers who took this challenge were seasoned sailors from Australia, the Netherlands, Canada, Taiwan, Zimbabwe, Great Britain, Poland. Two local teams represented the Philippines.
The race and its route are not for the faint of heart. It consists of seven days of sailing broken into five offshore inter-island legs and two days of inshore races. The fleet stops at night in beaches and islands with varied accommodations ranging from rustic rooms, to tents under the stars, to modern hotels. Through that one-of-a-kind format, the participants get to experience grueling races, deserted beaches, and the best of Filipino hospitality, all combined into an event they will never forget.

Tent city on Verde Island.

Jerry Rollin prepares the starting line for the sailors.

ISAF and Principal Race Officer Jerry Rollin said, “The over-all winner is determined by the best time accumulated in all of the 5 Legs.  Each Leg entails sailing for an average of five hours a day, depending on the winds.” With first place finishes in legs 1, 2, 4, and 5, Australians Geoff Rowdon and his crew, Rosie Phelan fit the bill as Rollin described, and emerged as champions of the 15th AboitizPower Philippine Hobie Challenge.

PHC 15 Champions, Geoff Rowdon and Rosie Phelan (Australia).

Being the sailors to reckon with from the start, Geoff and Rosie overcame hostilities and made the right strategies to sail away ahead of the fleet.  Asked what made them win, Geoff emphatically said, “The fear of losing.” Sarah adds, “Geoff is relentless.  He was determined and focused.”

2nd Place, Andrew Boyd and Tony Boyd (Australia).

3rd Place, Andrew Locke and Rob Watson (Australia).

In second place were fellow Australians Andrew and Tony Boyd, who took the singular honor of breaking the first place streak of Geoff and Rosie on the third leg. In third place was yet another Australian team with Andrew Locke at the helm, and Rob Watson as crew. They also won the Inshore Series.

The Filpino team, composed of Eric Tomacruz and Andy Aguila, came in 4th over-all.

More than just a racing water sport, the event is also an opportunity to help children of the islands. Outreach programs were organized by the Philippine Inter-Island Sailing Foundation (PHINSAF), the long-standing authority behind the PHC, in three major islands visited-- Verde Island, Oriental Mindoro and Ambil Island. These children are the ones “left behind” so to speak, as they live in such remote islands with no electricity.

Donated to the children of remote islands include school supplies, medicines/medical kits, and solar powered lamps.

Children taking a closer look of the sails, for the first time in their young lives.

Through the Outreach program spearheaded by Rosalita Legarda of PHINSAF, the participants, sponsors, and donors of the 15th Philippine Hobie Challenge donated school supplies, medical kits, and solar-powered lamps.  It was one of the highlights of the event.

A deserted beach on Ambil Island.  The remote campsite for Leg 3.

The AboitizPower 15th Philippine Hobie Challenge also paved way in the discovery of travel destinations for sailing enthusiasts.  The event co-chairs, Monchu Garcia and Eddie Legarda, explained that PHINSAF and the PHC are centered on the promotion of the sport of sailing, and on putting the Philippines in the sailing world map.

Co-chair, Monchu Garcia, enthusiastic on the great start of Leg 1.

Co-chair, Eddie Legarda is also one of the participants in the race.

Garcia and Legarda are tireless and steadfast in working towards their goal of opening more doors to international and local sailors to be involved in events such as the PHC, and appreciate the beauty of the Philippine archipelago.

The AboitizPower 15th Philippine Hobie Challenge was sponsored by La Luz Beach Resort, Rayomarine, Potato Corner, GoPro, Canyon de Boracay Premiere, Standard Insurance, Landco, and Blood Red Clothing. Emergency Medical Support was provided by Lifeline Rescue, while GPS Tracking was provided by WRU.PH. It was also supported by the Department of Tourism- Region IV-A, the Provincial Government of Oriental Mindoro, Taal Lake Yacht Club, Novellino Wines, Seahorse Marine, and R.O.X. For the full results, visit