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GJW Direct 2020

20th Philippine Hobie Challenge

by Philippine Star 8 Mar 2020 02:44 GMT
20th Philippine Hobie Challenge: Picturesque finish at Microtel in Boracay © PHINSAF

With an archipelago of over 7,500 charming islands and an almost infinite coastline of powdery beaches, one of the most exciting ways to explore the Philippines is by sailing. If a 50m superyacht is not to your taste (or budget) try something a little more modest. Like a Hobie 16.

The Philippine Inter-Island Sailing Federation (PHINSAF) Philippine Hobie Challenge for 20 years now. It’s a ‘raid’ event, going from one picture-perfect island to another, and taking a different route every year. This time the course started on Laiya Beach in San Juan, Batangas, ending up at Boracay Island a week later. The event is a unique way to sharpen sailing skills, create environmental awareness, promote sports tourism and support communities through outreach programs.

Supported by Seafront Residences by AboitizLand, Raymarine, GoPro, Blood Red and the Taal Lake Yacht Club, this year’s edition was a throwback to its original route when the regatta was introduced in 1999.

In a PHC first, Portuguese sailor Maria Videoira-Hagedorn emerged as the first woman skipper to rule the event. Along with compatriot Tomas Camelo, the pair edged out ten other teams from the Philippines, Australia, the United States and Hong Kong. An expat executive who hails from Lisbon, Videoira is married to Filipino sailor Joe Hagedorn and has been racing in the annual regatta for more than a decade.

The duo won both of the first two legs of the event (Laiya Beach in San Juan, Batangas, to Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro, and then on to Concepcion, Romblon) to establish a formidable lead.

Geoff Rowden and Rosie Phelan of Australia settled for a close second and topped the photo-finish Leg 3 from Concepcion to Bonbon Beach and Leg 4 which sailed to Sibuyan Island and returned to Bonbon, to narrow the lead.

Rounding up the winning circle was Australian couple Keli and Arli Corlett in third place. They have been sailing together for over 35 years and are former Hobie Grand Master World Champions.

The 20th Philippine Hobie Challenge was accompanied by a number of cruising yachts, “along for the ride.” What better way to enjoy the sea, sun, sand and camaraderie at the overnight stopovers?

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