This promises to be a red hot warm up regatta even without Hong Kong's Tong Shing defending his Open title (although race organisers are putting a lot of pressure on him to move house the following weekend instead!!!). PHC4 Champion Peter Davies will however fly the HK flag in his stead together with his wife Brenda.
Also racing are Tony STEARNS and Janet McCULLOUGH from Saipan and from Alaska Mark and Paul STEARNS acclimatising to the tropics a week in advance of the Challenge. Andrew LOCKE from Papua New Guinneau is taking the opportunity to get some early practice with local crew David LEVINGE before they race the Challenge.
Including these four visiting entries, the Nationals looks like it will be having 17 or 18 entrants. National Team Sailors Ridgely BALLADARES and Rommel CHAVEZ are looking to make it their third straight Nationals victory but partnerships such as Charlie CLEMENT / Norman JARAVATA and Jun VILLANUEVA / Nestor SORIANO are all vying to knock them off the podium's summit.
Event host Ed GALLEGO will be racing with his daughter Mirella in what promises to be an exciting weekends sailing in Tambuli Beach resort. With the renowned Cebuano hospitality the very first Nationals ever outside of Luzon Island promises to be a great weekend !!!
The second container loads this Wednesday and, together with a new shipment from Challenge leg sponsors Hobie Cat Australasia, all boats should be rigged and ready to rock and roll by the time the bulk of the competitors arrive in Malapascua on Saturday 22 January. The Danish team of of Bjorn and Bo ILSOE will have been there a couple of days in advance already tuning their boat in preparation for the Challenge.)
Including one spare boat in case of breakdowns there will be 31 boats in Malapascua and all the logistics in place to cater to the requirements of an Island Hopping entourage of 130 people (and plenty of skin care products from inshore sponsors Nivea to protect them against sun). Lifeline Arrows are sending two nurses and two doctors, we have a dozen chefs, a beach party of twelve, Race management numbers 17 and we have half a dozen media reps and eight people joining as third crew members (although not all are sailing).
Three local pump boats, or Banca's, have been chartered for moving the equipment. (we need one boat alone to carry all the 5,000 Litres of Gatorade from our sponsors !!!) and a mini armada of support boats are being assembled for race management and rescue.
Having recovered from the Christmas holiday period last week was hectic but we are now very pleased to announce our continued partnership with Smart Communications, our title sponsors for the second year running, who thus ensure the continuation of the event into the future. A big thank you to Smart and everyone who has helped secure this arrangement.