Subic Bay, Philippines: When the Subic Boracay Race was cancelled last year, the organisers kept in step with the long passage race and inshore regatta format, to come up with the Subic Bay Around Verde Island Passage Race and the Subic Bay Cup Regatta. This year rebranded under the Standard Insurance Subic Bay International Regatta, the SBVIR remains the passage race, followed by the tightly contested Subic Bay Cup back in Subic Bay. Which also includes fleet and match racing for the one design FarEast 28 class, to be used at the 30th SEA Games in late November.
Proceedings kick off with the tough 200-mile race from Subic Bay, down the coast past the entrance to Manila Bay, to the Verde Island Passage between Luzon and Mindoro, then rounding Verde Island and back to finish in Subic Bay. It's a very challenging course and has many obstacles along the way, including navigating through the wind shadows of the Bataan and Batangas Mountain Ranges plus strong tidal currents on both the outward and return legs.
Nine yachts divided into two classes will be lining up on Saturdays high noon showdown. Philippine big hitters, Ernesto Echauz's TP 52 Standard Insurance Centennial III and Ray Ordoveza's Excel 53Karakoa are taking on last years Line Honours winner, Geoff Hill's Smith 72 Antipodes, that regularly competes with distinction at Asian regattas. This race is not all about the big yachts battling over line honours, glory comes with victory in the Overall IRC handicap stakes.
The Windguru forecast for Subic Bay, this weekend is very light basically from the North East, picking up during the morning, but fading overnight and at first glance Antipodes inaugural race record of 22:54:09 looks safe. Latter in the week, the East North Easterly returns in the mid teens, and expected to produce a lively Subic Bay Cup Regatta.
Also hunting down and capable of overall IRC victory, are George Hackett's Mills 43 custom Misty Mountain, Bobby Benares Beneteau 44.7 Sabad and Jun Avecilla's Beneteau First 36.7 Selma Star. New boats for Michael Raueber's Swan 65.1 Emocean 1 and Albert Altura's Beneteau First 40 Hurricane Hunter are relatively unknown but judging by their pedigree, also have a chance in the handicap stakes. The only entry in the Cruising class, Stephen Wu Shifu's Oceanis 45 Asia Pacific Sailing returns for another bash down the coast and very character building for their Chinese students.
The fun continues for all classes after the race and into next week for the Subic Bay Cup.
Three teams from the Philippine Sailing Association (PSA) are taking on the Subic Sailing Team, in the one design FarEast 28 class and like nothing better than battling it out for the bragging rights.
This is the eighth point scoring regatta on the annual AsianYachting Grand Prix (AYGP), where all the skippers and yachts are awarded points based on their overall placing's at the end of the regatta. The score goes towards being crowned with the 2018-19 AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year title at the end of the season.
The Regatta Organising Authority is Subic Sailing, under the auspices of the Philippine Sailing Association and in conjunction with Subic Bay Yacht Club, the Lighthouse Marina Resort, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), Philippine Coast Guard and backed by Tanduay Rhum, Broadwater Marine, and NanoFixit