A severe tropical storm reduced this year’s Royal Cargo All Souls Regatta to one day of racing for the keelboats, but the event’s special spirit and host venue made it an enjoyable affair for all who made the journey.
Words: Martyn Willes. Photos: Terry Duckham.
The weather gods were not kind to this year’s Royal Cargo All Souls Regatta, organised by Puerto Galera Yacht Club (PGYC). Severe Tropical Storm ‘Paeng’ swept-into the Philippines with heavy rain, gale force winds and high seas, causing Gale Signal 1 to be hoisted over Batangas and Mindoro before lunch on the Friday on the eve of the three-day event.
The storm signal closed the ports and stopped ferries and water taxis from travelling, effectively stranding thousands of visitors travelling to Puerto Galera for the holiday weekend on the other side of the Verde Island Passage.
Among stranded passengers were many crews and supporters intending to participate in the Royal Cargo All Souls Regatta and the children’s SBP Optimist All Souls Regatta.
However, of the 31 yachts that had registered for the Regatta, 25 were already in or had arrived in Puerto Galera’s typhoon anchorage before the waters were closed to sailing on Friday and Saturday. That was already a success and demonstrated the strong support from the local and international yachting community that the PGYC and the All Souls Regatta have earned over the years.
Visiting yachts came from as far away as Australia and Malaysia for the event and crew members flew in from Hong Kong, Norway, Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Dubai, Japan, UK and USA to participate, while local arrivals included nine young sailors from Albay Yacht Club in Legazpi.
Despite the bad weather and impending threat of a cancellation of racing, the crews were in high spirits and made the most of catching up with old and new friends at PGYC for the welcome party and dinner on the Friday night.
Most returned to enjoy the camaraderie and F&B on a wet and windy Saturday, as all sailing was cancelled due to the weather conditions. Saturday night’s Live Auction raised significant cash for the Small Boat Program to help support the free sailing lessons and training that local Puerto Galera youth enjoy.
A highlight of the auction was a case of Colt 45 beer that went for PHP45,000 (about US$800) from a phone-in bidder from Australia, which surprised many in attendance, especially as it was immediately donated back to the club for auction at next year’s ASR event.
On Sunday, conditions had improved enough for the local Coast Guard commander to give the go-ahead for the young sailors to compete in the SBP’s Optimist Regatta within Puerto Galera’s sheltered bay.
Unfortunately, Signal 1 was still hoisted so the big keelboats could not venture out to race, yet many crews, families, friends and media, photographers and drone operators were on the water to watch the youngsters. The Halloween Party on Sunday evening was great fun for all, with many turning up in costume.
By Monday, the weather gods relented, and the optimism of the yacht crews was rewarded with the lowering of Gale Signal 1 and yachts were cleared for sailing by the Coast Guard.
It was soon all action out on the water, with the big boats racing for trophies in the Royal Cargo All Souls Regatta 2022 in three racing classes: IRC, Racer-Cruiser and Cruiser.
The Multihull class was removed because only one catamaran had been able to arrive and sail, but the owner was not going to miss out on the fun and went out to compete anyway … in the true PGYC spirit that makes regattas and yachting events so popular in Puerto Galera.
The big boat top-spot went to David Wheeler, who masterfully steered Freewheeler to a resounding victory in the cruising class, ending with such a commanding lead over his rivals that he was accorded the overall trophy for 2022, followed by IRC class winner Bellatrix in second place.
While the big keelboats were only able to manage one day of racing, it was a fast and furious one with some seriously competitive sailing.
At the same time, the youngsters were able to complete their second scheduled day of racing and demonstrated the same competitive spirit that has rewarded SBP sailors with victories in Philippine Sailing Association events and international regattas.
Much of the support for the PGYC’s Small Boat Program comes from the extended club membership and overseas friends. Many thanks are due to our sponsors, local government units (LGUs) and supporting government organisations that make the All Souls Regatta possible. See the full list below.
All regatta sponsors were accorded prime display space at the PGYC clubhouse and in the grounds, and acknowledged at every social and awards event. They were also credited in the regular Facebook and Instagram posts made by the club, reaching more than 16,000 people, and countless thousands more who saw the posters sent to all reciprocal clubs around the Philippines and abroad.
A special thank you to all who attended from overseas, other Philippine yacht clubs and especially to the nine young sailors who made such an effort to get here from Albay. It is also worth noting that the All Souls Regatta provides employment to an additional 30 local staff over the four-day event.
Despite the interference of Severe Tropical Storm ‘Paeng’, the Royal Cargo All Souls Regatta 2022 was a success for the children of Puerto Galera and the sport of sailing in the Philippines, with the club already looking ahead to the PGYC Easter Regatta from April 7-9, 2023.
SBP Optimists: 1. Raymarck D. Apit, 2. Bryant James B. Garcia, 3. Kim Ashley J. Alb
Sponsors & Supporters: Royal Cargo, Broadwater Marine, Lane Moving & Storage, Lane Archive Technologies, Tricom Projects, Philippine Retirement Authority, Tanduay, Wireless Link, Semper Green Energy, Wisdom, Asia Yachting, Nature’s Spring Magwai, Bayan Ng Puerto Galera, Philippine Department of Tourism, Philippines Sailing Association, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Maritime Police