Wednesday, March 7, 2012

12th Philippine Blackberry Hobie Challenge

I’ve seen this type of boats in sporting events on TV many times but it was just recently I discovered the name for it, a Hobie Cat.

A Hobie Cat is a catamaran boat made out of fiber-glass, a mast and a sail. The experience is a combination of the intricacy of sailing and the adrenalin rush of surfing. When I say rush, it means it can glide on the surface of the open sea at 20 nautical miles per hour. At this speed, a 16-footer hobie can certainly bring a sailor a heart pumping ocean adventure.

Hobie sea race are quite common in other rich countries where many people can afford to buy and maintain such types of boat. Hobies are much better done in archipelago types of places where islands are much nearer to each other and the Philippines is one ideal country having 7,100 islands to do hobie sailing hopping one island to another.

Last 1999, a small group of international sailors started to set an extreme sailing event that will take them to visit the Philippines best islands, cruising the open seas and traversing the rugged ocean docking one island after another. With just five teams, the first Philippine Hobie Challenge began its course to sail a 190 nautical mile, starting form Lucena Quezon to Boracay Island in six days. 

Now on its 12th year, the Philippine Hobie Challenge have grown its popularity among international sailors and now being participated by Filipinos as well. In a recent event, the 12th Philippine Blackberry Hobie Challenge held its media launch and was graced by partners in the traditional media and online media where we were treated to a cocktails and a presentation of people behind this elite type open water sport. 

This year, a new course is set for the competitive sailors where they get to traverse Manilgad, Malcapuyo, Pangaraycayan , a not so well known islands but equally beautiful found in Palawan. Along with other 800 small island, these places are quite remote and un passable by other means of transportation other than small vessels like the hobie cat. Since most of these islands are detached from the main island of Palawan, so does its development. Many parts of these islands don’t even have electricity yet and the local residents find it difficult to do their daily living most especially children studying their lessons at night. 

For this reason, the Philippine Inter-island sailing Foundation (PHINSAF) has made its mission to promote the sport of sailing and tourism and extend help to the poor people of these islands where the locals have displayed warm hospitality by helping out in camp logistics to transient sailors and guarding camp sites. In the past regatta, the PHINSAF began to do out-reach program by distributing school supplies to that benefits 2000 school children. This year, the challenge brought their CSR to another level by partnering with STIFTUNG SOLARENERGIE FOUNDATION. The CSR of PHINSAF tagged as Sail for Light is a campaign to distribute 250 solar powered lanterns to the inhabitants of the small islands.

This March 10, 2012, is the start of the 12th regatta that will be participated by 19 teams coming from our local sailors and international world champions that will sail the open sea at 20 nautical miles per hour circumnavigating the islands of Coron and other five islands that will cover eight days of Adventure Island hopping.
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