The seventh Standard Insurance Subic Bay to Boracay Race sails off Friday with all eyes on the defending champion, Centennial III of Judes Echauz, and the toughest contender, the 75-foot Jelik of Hong Kong magnate Frank Pong.
The race, which offers stiff competition, will cover a total of 210 nautical miles. If the winds blow hard, then the race gets faster, and the action tougher as the field passes through the dreaded Verde Passage en route to the island paradise of Boracay.
Echauz, president of the Philippine Sailing Association, will spearhead a 15-man crew on board Centennial III. He ruled the 2015 Subic to Boracay Race and the Boracay Regatta Cup in Malay, Aklan.
For his feat, Echauz received a citation during the Philippine Sportswriters Association awards night last Feb. 13 at One Esplanade.
Subic Bay will host two races from the Asian Yachting Grand Prix, to be followed closely by the Boracay Cup Regatta from March 1 to 4.
The event is fully backed by the Subic Racing Club, Cebu Pacific Airlines, PLDT Alpha, Resorts World Hotel, Lighthouse Hotel, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Sailing Association, Municipality of Malay and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).
From Hong Kong, the Warlick-designed Shahtoosh of Peter Cremers, Antipodes of Geoff Hill, Black Baza of Steve Manning and Freefire of Sam Chan and Russ Parker are entered in Racing Class 1.
Giving them a run for their money are Ragamuffin 90 of Australia-based Syd Fisher, owner of the fastest time.
In Division Class 2, Germany’s Emocean, skippered by Michael Raueber, and Singapore’s Zanzibar, led by Jonathan Mahony, will face the challenge from five other sailors from Hong Kong and the Philippines.
Mermaid, an Oceanis 45 and owned by Hong Kong’s Xiong Ting, leads the entries in the Cruising Class division, along with Bella Uno of Michiel Brinkers and Philippines NG3 of Elmer Gualberto.
More than the bragging rights, at stake are precious points for the prestigious Asian Yachting Skipper and Yacht of the Year awards. Captain Marty Rijkuris of the Asian Yachting Grand Prix is main judge. (Abac Cordero, The Philippine Star)
JUDES Echauz steered Centennial III across the finish for a win, edging defending champion Hong Kong’s Reichel/Pug 76 Jelik in the sixth Standard Insurance Subic-to-Boracay Race in 2015.