Team Out of Town Blog Hub (Outoftownblog.com) – The Bank of the Philippine Islands, through its Asset Management and Trust Corp., has teamed up with the Philippine Inter-Island Sailing Foundation (Phinsaf) to present this year’s edition of the Busuanga Cup, one of the country’s top and most exciting sailing tournaments, from Feb 17-22.
Now on its 6th edition, it includes the 135-nautical mile Nasugbu coast to Busuanga race, the Doni Altura Memorial Cup in Busuanga, and the Linapacan Rally around the Calamian Island Group.
There will be four boats taking part in the annual event—the IRC Racing Class, IRC Cruising Class, Cruising Class, and accompanying powerboats.
Fierce competition can be expected with many boats returning, including the Subic-based Beneteau First 36.7, Selma Star helmed by Jun Avecilla, which won overall in 2019 and 2021. Also competing is race record holder Bellatrix, an Ice 52 captained by Jun Villanueva, which won line honors in 2020.
There are no foreign entries due to the Covid travel restrictions, but an international fleet is expected to take part in 2023.
“The Philippines is an undiscovered paradise for sailing, as it is an environment-friendly sport and is safe even during a pandemic. With thousands of beautiful islands, friendly people, moderate wind, and seas, sailing has the potential to put the archipelago on the map as the world’s best,” says Phinsaf director Monchu Garcia.
In recent years, Phinsaf has been organizing sailing tournaments in cooperation with the Department of Tourism to help promote the country as a sports tourism hub.
The event fires off from Club Punta Fuego on Feb. 17, which will take an overnight race to Black Island at northwest Busuanga. Boats will anchor at Marina Del Sol Yacht Club in Busuanga Bay, with additional races around the picturesque islands the next day.
An open-air awarding takes place at Marina del Sol Resort, where the Doni Altura Perpetual Trophy will be awarded to the overall Racing Class winner and trophies and prizes to the class winners.
Social activities will be limited, and participants are required to be fully vaccinated and to take an antigen test 24 hours before the start of the races at Club Punta Fuego. Participants staying ashore in Busuanga will be required to take a new test upon arrival, as arranged by the Busuanga municipal government, supporting the event again.
The Linapacan Rally kicks off after the races, where boats take a 3-day cruise exploring the islands of Northern Palawan. In 2021, the boats circumnavigated Culion and sailed around nearby islands.
The Rally wraps up on Feb. 22 when boats return to Busuanga Bay. As in previous races, the start and finish boat and safety communications boat will be Broadwater Marine’s Lost in Asia, skippered by owner Peter Baird, a long-time supporter of the boating industry.
Protocols of the Inter-Agency Task Force and the DOT will be enforced to ensure the safety and health of participants during the event.