Challengers Arrive, Wind Drops, Inshore Races Abandoned
Philippine Hobie Challenge 2006
San Jose, Luzon, Philippines
22 Hobie Challenge teams have now safely arrived in San Jose in the Carimoan Sur province. The teams were driven from Manila overnight in luxury coaches, taking ten hour to cross the Luzon peninsula. When the Challengers arrived they spent the day tuning and fixing their Hobies for the gruelling days ahead at the seventh Philippine Hobie Challenge.
This year the Challenge route could be considered the most difficult. For the first time ever, the route actually gets into the Pacific Ocean off the east coast of the Philippines. The distance is also much longer than previous Challenges, and the first day leg will cover 70 nautical miles - in possibly very little wind. 'Unbelievable. The wind just disappeared. Just last week it was blowing 35 knots with 15 foot waves and whitecaps. It's died down very quickly,'
weather watchers remarked. Forecasts predict that the wind may pick up again later in the week. People are still in excellent moods despite the trials ahead.
'People back home think I'm crazy - their idea of a vacation is to sit in a deck chair and get a massage. Not to sail all day and sleep on sand at night. But this is more important! ' one returning competitor remarked. Due to arduous nature of this year's Challenge there are not as many new faces as before - perhaps only ten of the 40 something number of sailors are new to the Challenge.
There was some surf crashing onto the shore at San Jose and it made getting out to the water for the first inshore race a little interesting. The Australian teams were not at all hindered having seen much worse back home but sadly one team flipped their boat in the waves, much to the amusement of the hundreds of local bystanders.
The inshore races had to be abandoned due to lack of wind. It also does not help that San Jose is in a very sheltered cove. In the distance there looks to be wind ahead, and this afternoon the wind was already starting to pick up.