Boracay has a well-earned reputation for being a tropical holiday paradise. The white sand beaches, waving palm trees, blue skies and so on. It’s also noticeable that the tourist population of the island is a good deal younger than, say, Phuket, so we are guessing that the big package tour companies haven’t completely taken over here – yet. Direct flights from Stockholm and Moscow, no. A bit of a schlep via Manila and Kalibo (or Caticlan), yes.
Boracay Cup Regatta 2013. Low visibility start in torrential rain. IRC Racing
And the Boracay Cup is very much touted, by those in the know, as ‘possibly the best regatta in Asia.’ Blue skies and those waving palms, but also wind. Buckets of wind. Big buckets, the sort that make sailors’ hearts glad. Over the last couple of days there has been plenty of wind, but the rest was sadly missing – except the palm trees, waving wildly in the big winds and torrential downpours that accompanied the passing to the north of TD Crising. In short, it has been anything but picture postcard weather.
Yesterday the local Coastguard banned all waterborne activities, and that included big boat racing. Today it looked pretty much the same down on the beach at 0900h, but the ban had been lifted and the Boracay Cup fleet went aboard. Peter Sorensen’s chartered Sorcerer first had a couple of crew missing, and followed through with a mechanical problem which prevented them from getting to the start line – so that’s a DNS for the day. The media crew zapped across the Tabon Strait to Caticlan on a cross between a Yellow Cab and a jetski, and boarded the Coastguard vessel Nueva Vizcaya, 35m of well-meaning commercial shipping. Not necessarily the most manoeuvrable camera boat, but we were made very welcome and the Commander is a quick learner.
First start was in another tropical downpour, and the race was already under way when the Nueva Vizcaya arrived ‘on course.’ There was some conservative sailing going on, with a couple of boats reefed in the very feisty 25kts+ conditions. Jonathan Mahoney’s Zanzibar was the first retiree, with a broken boom. The Zanzi-boys have not had a good regatta – a crew injury forced retirement on day one, day two was scrapped, and now equipment damage on day three. Score no finishes in three days and it’s time to get on the plane tomorrow. (Meanwhile, when the rest of the fleet got back to the Boracay Beach Resort at the end of the afternoon, nobody was surprised to see a full Zanzibar complement in the Café del Mar. The noise level indicated that they had been there for some time.)
Out on the racecourse, and sailing in horizontal rain, Ray Ordoveza’s Karakoa took the first race in front of HiFi and Jelik, their second win from (only) two races in this regatta. But today was a day for sharing. Karakoa, HiFi and Jelik shared the podium positions for all three races, with a different winner each time. Karokoa now sits at the top of the table with 7 points having claimed the bullet on day 1, HiFi has 8 points, and 9 for Jelik. Antipodes retired hurt (mainsail damage) before the second race of the day, but will be back in action tomorrow. After yesterday’s washout, the regatta is back on schedule after some snappy race management from RO Jerry Rollin squeezed three races into the day.
IRC Cruising had only two competitors on the water today, and Martin Tanco’s Centennial II took all three of them in front of Jun Avecilla’s Selma Star, and leads the regatta with four bullets from four races.
At the end of it all the sun came out. First fitfully, and then with some confidence. It seemed awfully bright all of a sudden! Back at the beach, holiday makers were lounging and promenading along the Beach Walk, and at 1800h sharp the sun dropped into the Tablas Strait to produce a picture postcard complete with sailing paraws silhouetted against the sunset.
For the IRC Racing class there is everything to play for tomorrow. Two races are planned, a windward-leeward and a circumnavigation of Boracay itself. More sunshine, please!
1. Karakoa 1 1 3 2 (7)
2. HiFi 2 2 1 3 (8)
3. Jelik 3 3 2 1 (9)
1. Centennial II 1 1 1 1(4)
2. Selma Star 2 2 2 2 (8)
The Boracay Cup Regatta 2013 is proudly sponsored by the Philippines’ Department of Tourism (‘It’s More Fun in the Philippines!’); the Philippines Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO); the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA); I Love Wine; Ibiza; Movenpick Hotels; Fila Sportswear.