Philippine Hobie Challenge 2013

written on April 30, 2012, under News and Updates

Preliminary Notice of Race
The Philippine Hobie® Challenge 2013
The West Philippine Sea Challenge
23rd February to 2nd March, 2013

Dear Sailors,

This serves as the Preliminary Notice of Race for the Philippine Hobie® Challenge 2013.  Please click on the following link for the attachment - Preliminary Notice of Race

After 12 successful events starting in 1999, this Challenge will traverse the broad Western coast of Luzon, with a proposed start in San Fernando, La Union in the North, sailing south for seven days and finishing in Subic Bay — a straight line distanceof approximately 160nm.

There are some beautiful natural attractions along the route including The Hundred Islands National Park, Tambac Bay, Bolinao with its waterfallsand caves and Dasol Bay, to name just a few potential places to stopover.
Charter boats will again be availableand we welcome larger boats to join the rally fleet.

More details on the Philippine Hobie®Challenge 2013 to follow.

If you are interested or you have any questionsplease contact either;

Brent Chamberlain:
Paul Symes:        
Joanne Symes:    

Leg 5 – Pangaraycayan to El Nido

written on April 2, 2012, under News and Updates

Sponsored by Aboitiz Power

The morning began as it had all week with strong easterlies entering the bay of Darocotan on the northeast tip of Palawan.  Palawan is the long leg shaped island of the Philippines on the westernmost edge of the archipelago facing the South China Sea.  The race would take us 60 km from the eastern side of the island, up over the top and down the western side to the world famous El Nido resort.  Expectations of a mild 5th day were not met as the wind came howling into the usually protected bay.  In the pre-start, the team of Mike Ngu / Lindo Pahayahay (Philippines) capsized a few hundred meters from the shore and incurred injuries which affected their final race.

At the horn, the Hobies were screaming out of the bay leaving only the rally fleet of big Lagoon catamarans still anchored.  Sailing on a broad reach, the top teams were already trapezing as they headed for the first mark still 26 km away – a small island called Cabuli at the northern tip of Palawan.  Two groups formed with the Australian leaders sailing higher to the mark while a  small group of Filipino teams led by Eddie Legarda / Edwin Lucero sailed closer to the northern shore in the 20 knot winds. The local teams made good progress towards the leaders although there was a risk of missing the mark and having to make an extra jibe.  Suddenly the team of Jun Villanueva / Nestor Soriano who were following Legarda got struck by a gust which capsized them a few hundred meters from Cabuli.  After rounding the northern island, the race turned southward and continued in the extreme wind and wave conditions with more capsizes including some of the Australian and international teams.  Many sailors completely abandoned the jibsheets and sometimes the mainsheets because of the overpowering 25 knot gusts in a mad downwind dash to El Nido.  It was sheer helming ability through the peaks and troughs of the 6 foot waves which prevented boats from pitching forward and capsizing.

1st  Bruce Tardrew / Sarah Turnbull    (2:26:50)
2nd  Mick Butler / Bradley Wilson     (2:27:10)
3rd  Andrew Locke / Ramon Dala     (2:31:20)
3rd  Natalie Hill / Jasmine Hill / Barnaby Houk  (2:31:20)

Leg 4 – Manligad to Panaraycayan

written on April 2, 2012, under News and Updates

Sponsored by Otterbox

The camping at Manligad Island was hosted by the luxe Ariara Resort complete with a full 5-log bonfire, guitar ballads, and of course, lots of beer and rum cokes. Thus the following morning, in spite of a slightly low tide the race was delayed to a quarter past 9:00am.  Due to anchoring difficulties the start line was set between the supply/support ship M/Y Novena and the keel boat Free Wheeler.  The race began on a fast and furious reaching start with some boats immediately pitchpoling as soon as they passed the lee of Manligad Island, with one boat catching the shadow of Novena and T-boning the anchor line.  The sea conditions intensified as the Hobies moved east rounding Linapacan Island surfing 2-3m waves from their beam as they passed Sidsid Pt. at the southern tail of the infamous Linapacan straight.  After rounding Bagambangan Is. to starboard the fleet experienced flat seas with gusty winds for the remaining tight reach toward the finish off Dorocotan Pt. in northeast Palawan.  Boats that stayed closer to the shore were gifted with more consistent wind while those who chose to gybe north lost ground.  The finish at Panaraycayan was an unexpectedly cool coconut grove, where the sailors were treated to fresh buko or coconut juice by their hosts, Tao Expeditions.

Mick Butler / Bradley Wilson    (3:02:06)
2nd  Bruce Tardrew / Sarah Turnbull  (3:02:52)
3rd  Andrew Locke / Ramon Dala  (3:03:11)

Leg 3 – Malcapuya to Manligad

written on March 30, 2012, under News and Updates

Sponsored by Mobile1

Crossing Linapacan Strait  

Leg 3 from Malcapuya island to the island resort of Ariara island is a 60 kilometer zigzag race down the dreaded Linapacan straight which is known for big waves as the South China Sea flows into the shallower Philippine shelf.  The wind was blowing hard through the islets and rocks dotting the straight with gusts reaching 25-30 knots .  The race began on a broad reach heading South towards the first gate on Ditaytayan island and after several miles of frenzied racing several boats capsized including Maria Vidoera / Joe Hagedorn (Portugal) and Jun Villanueva / Nestor Soriano (Philippines).   After the first gate the boats turned East on a 6.5km upwind beat through waves reaching upto 10 feet.  More capsizes ensued including Barnaby Houk / Jasmine Hill (Australia) and David Harris / Krishan George (UK).

After passing Calumbagan island the fleet headed South once more for a long downwind stretch (33km) towards the gate on Binalabag island.

The gate was between a yellow buoy and a 100 foot Limestone cliff with crashing waves.

After the gate the boats turned West towards the finish through a couple of channels between various islets. The team of Paul Symes / Carlo Lienau (New Zealand) took the rightmost approach to Manligad island while the teams of Mick Butler, Andrew Locke, Bruce Tardrew & Natalie Hill went deeper and took the left channel approaching the island. It was a punishing error for Symes as he got caught in the shadow of the island and lost 4 or 5 places to the Australians.

Mick Butler / Bradley Wilson    (2:25:03)
2nd  Andrew Locke / Ramon Dala   (2:27:25)
3rd  Bruce Tardrew / Sarah Turnbull  (2:27:33)

Leg 2 – Coron to Malcapuya

written on March 27, 2012, under News and Updates

Sponsored by Blood Red 

Starting in Balinsasayaw resort, Leg 2 is a zigzag down Coron Bay to Malcapuya Island.  The first stretch is an 18km broad reach heading SW to Chindonan Island.  After which, boats turn upwind heading SE for 30km to Guintungauan. Then finally, boats turn downwind once more heading W for 16km to Malcapuya.

At the start of the race the easterly winds filled Coron bay and the bulk of the fleet raced downwind in 14 knots of wind.  A few teams decided to sail on the opposite tack towards Coron island but quickly realized where the stronger winds were and jibed back towards the wake of the fleet.  With half of the fleet hugging the coastline of the islands to the west and the rest playing the shifts in the middle of Coron Bay, most of the teams made the westerly Chindonan mark at a good pace before hardening up and heading upwind for the easterly Guintungauan mark. By mid-morning, however, the wind picked up to 20 knots with occasional “bullets” catching sailors unaware and causing several capsizes. Moreover, long rows of black buoys demarcating pearl farms in the bay suddenly appeared forcing many teams to alter course.  The fleet split with the leaders hugging the coastline of Kalangaman island and the rest heading out towards the center of the bay. The wind was evidently waiting in the center as many at the back of the fleet picked up several places while the coast-huggers were beset by reefs closer to shore.

As the fleet converged on the red buoy on Guintungauan Island, the mild waves of Coron Bay began colliding with the building Sulu sea resulting in 6-10 foot waves coming from every direction.  The big waves forced trapezing sailors to slide back onto their trampolines and brace for a wild ride. There was carnage around the mark as aggressive teams found themselves capsized just meters from the buoy. To those who fetched the mark in one piece, the downwind leg was a wave surfer’s paradise as they found themselves atop consistent 6-8ft waves. Some teams went for speed but drove themselves off the rhumb line by almost 4kms while those who patiently held the rhumb line were able to gain places by sailing directly to Malcapuya at a constant bearing. The fleet made it to the beautiful white sand beach of Malacapuya island by 130 pm.

Mick Butler / Bradley Wilson    (3:31:18)
2nd  Barnaby Houk / Jasmine Hill   (3:35:02)
3rd  Andrew Locke / Ramon Dala   (3:35:54)

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