Independence Day Regatta

June 12-14, 2014: In the Philippines, Independence Day is celebrated on June 12th. Holidays are good excuses for regattas on Subic Bay, and this year’s Independence Day Regatta, hosted by SAGS Subic Sailing, landed on June 13th and 14th.

Three multihulls, eight or so monohulls and a handful of small Flying 15s entered. All but one yacht finished the two races. Here’s what happened to us…

I crewed on Windjammer, a trimaran skippered by Dirk. With winds gusting up to 20 knots, it was a fast race, despite a close brush with another yacht at the starting line. Wet too! The coolest I have ever been in the Philippines. We ended up in second place in the multihull category at the end of day one.

Day two started out strong. Not quite as windy as the previous day but still fresh. We were making great time on the first leg. Then just as we were about to tack towards the first mark…NO STEERING! Dirk tried jibing instead. Still no response. The only option left was heading for the sandy shore directly ahead of us. Under full sails no less. At least we missed the rocky shores on either side of us.

After we quickly dropped the sails and the boys had tied a chain from the bow around a palm tree, we set about rigging an anchor and getting the local villagers (who had appeared out of thin air to watch the commotion) to push us off the beach. Then a small fishing banca towed us out to deeper water where we finally dropped the anchor.

Then we sat and waited for the Philippines Coast Guard. A dark nasty cloud appeared to the south and west of us. As the squall approached, the winds really picked up, the swells increased and then the rains appeared. We were soaked in seconds and nervously hoping the anchor would hold.

A couple of hours later, three coast guard members appeared in a small aluminum boat. We’re not quite sure what they could have done to help us but they did take some pictures. By this time, we had long given up on them and called another boat for a tow. It was a huge relief to arrive back at the dock after the slow tow. Most of the racing yachts were already done, but we managed to beat a couple of them back.

The awards ceremony was held that evening in the centre of Harbor Point shopping mall. An unusual venue for sure with people watching from the railings above. It felt like being inside a fish bowl.

In the end, we captured third place overall. (It helps when there are only three boats in your class.) But I’m guessing we had a more exciting race than any of the other crews.

Windjammer crew: Dirk (skipper), Gabriel, Carvin, Phil, Wilma, Iko and Sandra.

Photos by SAGS and Iko. Sorry no photos of the actual racing and beaching. Too much going on. And too wet.

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