For the fifth time in the fifteen-year history of the Philippines’ premier extreme sailing race, three all-Australian teams garnered the top honors in the 250-nautical-mile AboitizPower 15th Philippine Hobie Challenge. The recently concluded race sailed from Laiya to Nasugbu, Batangas, via Verde Island, Puerto Galera, Ambil Island, and Corregidor.
Challenge virgins Geoff Rowdon and Rosie Phelan finished first in four out of five offshore legs to secure their Championship. It would have been a clean sweep if fellow Australians and first-time Challenge participants Andrew and Tony Boyd had not won the third leg from Puerto Galera to Ambil Island. The Boyds finished second over-all.
Andrew Locke, who has joined the Challenge for nine years, won third place over-all with Rob Watson, who has in turn joined for three years. The duo also won the Inshore series championship.
The AboitizPower 15th Philippine Hobie Challenge has been held annually since 2000, and aims to put the country prominently in the international sailing calendar. From a casual bet, it has grown into a much-awaited and unique event attracting world champions and hard-core sailors. It is known for offering an entirely different race route every year, what with the Philippines’ 7,107 islands to choose from. It mixes popular tourist destinations with well-kept local secrets, and has a strong socio-civic component through its Outreach Program.
The Challenge has enjoyed strong patronage from top Australian sailors, most of who return year after year. The past Challenges wherein the top three over-all winners were Australians were in 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012. Among its champions from down under are Bruce Tardrew, Sarah Turnbull, Bob Engwirda, Brad Wilson, Mick Butler, and Aaron Worall.
The AboitizPower 15th Philippine Hobie Challenge was sponsored by La Luz Beach Resort, Rayomarine, Potato Corner, GoPro, Canyon de Boracay Premiere, Standard Insurance, Landco, and Blood Red Clothing. Emergency Medical Support was provided by Lifeline Rescue, while GPS Tracking was provided by WRU.PH. It was also supported by the Department of Tourism- Region IV-A, the Provincial Government of Oriental Mindoro, Taal Lake Yacht Club, Novellino Wines, Seahorse Marine, and R.O.X. For the full results, visit www.hobiechallenge.ph.