Belatrix wins IRC class at first Corregidor Cup
Belatrix, Wild Honey and TuTu Tango were among winners as the newly formed Ocean Racing Club of the Philippines successfully organised the first edition of the Corregidor Cup in Manila Bay.
An initiative of Albert Altura, the first Corregidor Cup was organised by the newly formed Ocean Racing Club of the Philippines in collaboration with the Corregidor Foundation and the Caylabne Bay Resort and Marina, where the three-day event was based.
The resort is situated at the southwest corner of Manila Bay, south of Corregidor Island. The regatta concept was to race around Corregidor and its associated islands, which formed part of the ‘Fortress Corregidor’ that was established in the late 19th century and early 20th century to protect Manila from seaborne attack and where two important battles took place during the Second World War.
The original classes were IRC Racing, CHS Cruising, Classic and Ocean Multihull. Unfortunately, two of the expected Classic Class boats were unable to make it, so David Wheeler’s Freewheeler – a Cape Carib 33 launched in 1977 – joined the Cruising Class. All races started at Caylabne Bay Resort and Marina, with the third race finishing at Corregidor.
The start of racing was delayed for just over an hour waiting for the Philippine Coast Guard’s approval for the regatta to take place. After a lot of phone calls and visits to the local Coast Guard office, approval was finally received, and racing went ahead.
One short race and one long race were held on the Friday. With a steady 12-15 northeast wind blowing, all classes rounded Fort Drum (El Fraile Island).
First off was the IRC Racing fleet with Belatrix, Jun Villanueva’s Ice 52, leading the way. Albert Altura’s Beneteau First 40 CR, Hurricane Hunter, got off to a bad start and had to retire from the first race due to a jammed halyard, which was fixed in time for the day’s second race.
The longer second race sent the IRC fleet around Corregidor Island and Monja Island, the westernmost island of the Corregidor Group. The wind increased to 16-18 knots, with a large squall hitting the whole fleet in the middle of the afternoon which tested the crews and equipment, but no damage was sustained.
In the evening, crews enjoyed a reggae party that had to be moved from the beach to El Patio Restaurant at the last minute due to the rain. The Caylabne did a great job in establishing a venue for the official welcome and prize ceremony. Every day a bottle of Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum, accompanying ginger beer and a cocktail shaker was awarded to each Class winner, all presented by our own ‘Sailor Jerry’ Rollin, President of the Ocean Racing Club of the Philippines.
The race on Saturday started at Caylabne Bay and finished off at Corregidor South Beach. Again with a multitude of different mark roundings, the fleet was again challenged with another squall, which this time accounted for some minor breakages.
The Ocean Multihull fleet were approaching the finish and not laying the mark when the squall hit and the big boats were lifted up to the finish led by Roman Azanza’s TuTu Tango.
Corregidor Foundation had prepared a sumptuous lunch for the crews on South Beach followed by guided tours in ‘Tranvia’ buses around the preserved memorial island with poignant remembrances of the battles fought there during World War Two.
The Rock Band, K O Jones, was ready, the stage was set and the dinner prepared, but again the weather did not play ball. The rock concert and dinner were cancelled to allow boats to return to the safety of Caylabne Bay Marina. A great disappointment made up, somewhat, by a great day of sailing.
Day three started with 12-15 knots as the classes set off around the islands. Following a last-minute request from the Cruising Class, the course was changed to go around Corregidor Island with a downwind run of six miles.
Wild Honey, James Villareal’s Beneteau Oceanis 41, led the fleet around the 23-mile course, beating Rene Ticson’s Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 42 by a mere 18 seconds on corrected time to seal the class win from the ex-Doni Altura J35 Vivaldi, with Alen Yotoko sailing her for the first time in 10 years.
On the way down the back of Corregidor Island, the Cruising fleet met the IRC fleet that was rounding the island the other way. It was a moment commented on and enjoyed by many in the Cruising fleet who rarely see the IRC boats after the start.
In the end, the IRC Racing Class featured a mixture of race winners, with Jun Villanueva’s Ice 52 Belatrix winning the class on countback after having equal points with Jun Avecilla’s Beneteau First 36.7 Selma Star.
The awards lunch was held on the lawn in front of Kites and Sails, named after the kites that nest around the resort and the sails of the boats that moor there. The event sponsors were thanked and their representatives presented the trophies. More Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum went down very well with the sailors.
Katherine ‘Trin’ Custodio, Executive Director of World Wildlife Fund for Nature Philippines, presented prizes and was assured of the sailing community’s support for the WWF ideals.
Albert Altura, the event’s initiator, thanked Cathy Tolentino of Caylabne Bay Resort and Marina for hosting the event, Cynthia Carrion of Corregidor Foundation for hosting the fleet on the island and Jerry Rollin for pulling the whole thing together.
Jerry Rollin thanked Pen Avilla and Rye Lee Cassi and the race management team for their work and announced that the next Corregidor Cup would take place from November 16-19, 2023.