Thursday, 18 February 2010

Top ASPAC sailors test locals’ mettle in RP Hobie Race

Business Mirror

THE best Hobie cat sailors in Asia and the Pacific will test each other’s sailing prowess in the waters off Batangas, as the Philippine National Hobie Championships unfolds from February 19 to 22 at Tali Beach and Club Punta Fuego, Nasugbu.

Organized by the Philippine Hobie Challenge Foundation (PHCF), the National Championships will gather multiawarded sailors from Hong Kong, Thailand, Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Korea and the Philippines.

Participants will compete for top honors in the different categories—Open Class, Philippine National Championship, Masters (over 45), Grand Masters (over 55), Youth (under 21) and Ladies.

According to Jerry Rollin, the regatta’s race director, the Nationals will highlight the importance of the Philippines as a sailing haven in the Asia-Pacific region because of its beautiful bodies of water and ideal wind conditions.

Rollin added that the hosting of the Nationals will bring the country closer to bagging the right to stage the Hobie Worlds Championships, which will gather the world’s best sailors in 2011.

A Hobie cat is a twin-hulled, wind-powered sailboat, crewed by two persons and is capable of interisland sailing.

Teams to watch out for are the Philippine Sailing Association teams of Mark Gil Francisco with Richly Magsanay, and Joel Mejarito with Ashly Escalante, who will represent the country in the Asian Sailing Championships in Shanwe, China, in March and the Asian Games in November.

The regatta is a unique opportunity for the national players to compete against world-class sailors such as Aaron Worral of Australia, Grahame Southwick of Fiji and Tong Shing of Hong Kong.

The PHCF is the exponent of Hobie sailing in the country and organizes the annual Philippine Hobie Challenge and Travelers’ Series, which sails around different destinations across the country to promote sailing, as well as sports and adventure tourism.

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