Celebrating PH Maritime Heritage and Breeding Tomorrow’s Sailors Today
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT— The Subic Sailing Club (SSC) celebrated another successful sailing season in a grand event organized by both Chairman of SSC, Mr. Jun Avecilla and Congressman Ricky Sandoval which was held at The Lighthouse Marina Resort, Subic Bay Freeport Zone on April 30, 2019.
The inaugural Chairman’s Cup Regatta (CCR) provides a platform that enhances the standards of regattas to foster camaraderie among sailors and showcase the natural prowess of Filipinos as sailors and seafarers.
The event commends the leadership of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) who have been playing an important role in helping transform Subic Bay as one of the premier yachting destinations and become a global sports tourism playground for Grand Prix keelboats in Asia, with Atty. Wilma Eisma currently holding the position of Chairperson and Administrator of SBMA.
The event aims to popularize sailing by infusing fun and more mainstream activities and lure people to witness the amazing skills of our Filipino sailors. Besides the more serious yacht racing, the week-long event also includes free sailing lessons, free windsurfing lessons, a stand-up paddleboard fun race, flyboarding exhibition, lifeguard saving demo, beach volleyball, and car displays.
The SSC believes that Filipinos are mariners in nature, that we are an archipelago, a maritime nation. The SSC wishes to inspire our coastal community to connect with our maritime roots and appreciate our waters as a channel of transport and for sailing as its mode. Its thrust is continue breeding the next generation of Filipino sailors that will carry on our legacy as a maritime nation.
Chairman’s Cup Regatta
The Chairman’s Cup Regatta was composed of eight classes. There are three classes on the keelboat division: IRC, Cruising and the FarEast 28R Classes. The FE28 had a total of seven boats composed of 6 crew or less per boat with a maximum weight limit of 425kgs. This is the most competitive class in this division. The Philippine Sailing Association team composed of our SEA Games athletes has two teams headed by Asia’s match racing champion Ridgely Balladares and Asian Sailing Federation Keel Boat Cup champion Emerson Villena. Another team representing the Philippines is from Subic Sailing with Olympian sailor Maria Vidoeira. There were also international teams participating from Hong Kong (Alain Choi), Japan (Yukie Ikawa), China (Ren Feli) and Taipei (Richard Lin).
For the Dinghy division, there are three classes: Optimist, Streaker and Oz Goose. The Oz Goose is the largest fleet in the Dinghy Class with a total of 8 boats. This boat is also the latest addition to the Dinghy Class through the support of the Philippine Gaming Corporation, Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Home Boatbuilders Yacht Club headed by Roy Espiritu together with the Oz Goose designer, Michael Storer who also participated in the race.
For this year and for the first time, SSC has included windsurfing in the regatta with two classes: RS: X and RS: One. The athletes participating in this regatta are mostly athletes representing the Philippine team for the upcoming SEA Games. These athletes will continue to train in Subic Bay throughout the year. “We look forward to working with the Philippine Windsurfing Association in bringing more interest in the sport in Subic Bay,” said Mr. Zed Avecilla, Executive Director of Subic Sailing Club
There are a total of 30 boats and 12 windsurfers competing in the regatta from April 25-30. “We hope to increase the number of boats joining this regatta by getting more international participants. This year we had a participant from the inaugural Hong Kong to Puerto Galera Race which was Rampage II. We hope to get more foreign participants next year especially those joining the famous Rolex China Sea Race that will finish at Subic Bay on Easter, a week before the 2nd Chairman’s Cup Regatta,” Zed Avecilla added.
Moulding Young Sailors
The Subic Sailing Club (SSC) has partnered with the Philippine Sailing Association (PSA) and the International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians (IYFR) to form a school that will teach people how to sail in Subic Bay either as a sport, hobby, or means of livelihood.
“The Philippines has retained its reputation of producing strong seafarers around the globe, with numbers almost amounting to a fifth of the world’s maritime workers,” says Jun Avecilla. “Sailing enhances creativity, independence, communication, and teamwork, among other skills, to brace them for the challenges of life. What better way to mould the potential of the next generation than to instill these characteristics with proper coaching and guidance.”
The sport of sailing is growing exponentially. In the past several months, private companies, organizations, government agencies, and even individuals have come together to support one of the biggest campaigns in the sport of sailing in the Philippines. We have companies and individuals who have shared their expertise and services in helping the club fulfill its goal to promote the sport particularly here in Subic Bay.
The Subic Sailing Club had enjoyed and shared a month-long festivity of spreading the love for sailing. SSC started the month with the summer clinic program in partnership with the Olongapo City Sports & Youth Development. “We’ve had more than 40 kids who were all eager to learn how to sail. Five years ago, when the club first introduced sailing in Olongapo, there were only four (4) students who enrolled in the sport.” said Marcus Avecilla, SSC Head of Operations. Currently SSC offers Basic Sailing Course programs to individual and private companies from dinghies to larger keelboats.
Maritime Heritage and Underwater Treasures
The move to promote Philippine maritime heritage was rooted in the government’s Maritime and Archipelagic Nation Awareness Month (Mana Mo) campaign that was launched in Malacañang in September 2017 through Presidential Proclamation 316 which Subic Sailing Club was part of the working committee behind it.
“The Maritime Forum hopes to provide a venue to discuss matters related to our oceans and maritime affairs,” said Zed Avecilla. Besides learning from the speakers, the forum also enabled exchange of ideas. “The forum was in partnership with the National Coast Watch Council Secretariat of the Office of the President.” he added.
One interesting topics discussed in the Maritime Forum was the updated National Marine Policy which will launched during the National Marine Summit to be held this September. It was presented by Jesse Pascasio, Director for Strategic Planning and Communications at the National Coast Watch Council Secretariat. “The National Marine Summit is a partnership between government and all marine stakeholders of the country, like environmentalists, scientists, academics and other members and associations of the maritime industry to promote awareness of the NMP,” says Pascasio. “The agenda also focuses on the Maritime Industry Development Plan, which tackles core issues of the maritime industry to create key solutions and effectively open new opportunities. It will not only present the updated National Marine Policy (NMP) of the Philippines but also its Coastal Development and Tourism Agenda as well. Pascasio added.
All Throughout history Subic Bay has been known to be a strategic location for the Chinese and the South Pacific Region on naval commerce and as military installations from Spain, Great Britain, Japan, and the United States.
“Subic Bay has one of the highest concentrations of historic ship, aircraft and vehicle wrecks within sports-diving range in the world” according to Andy Davis, Scuba Tech Philippines.
Bobby Orillaneda, Museum Researcher at the National Museum of the Philippines, presented images of several underwater and historical artifacts that represent the cultural heritage of the Filipino people including those found 10 nautical miles off the shores in Sta. Cruz, Zambales in March 2001. Sunken treasures such as coins, urns, cooking woks, and porcelain were dated coming from 1488 to 1505 C.E.
On tracing the migration of our ancestors, it had been found that there existed a well-developed boatbuilding industry stemming from the pre-colonial days according to Art Valdez, Founder of Kaya ng Pinoy Foundation, a very influential advocate of Maritime Culture in the Philippines through his Balangay Voyage Expedition. “The SSC aims to promote the rich maritime heritage of the Philippines through our sailing events and programs,” said Zed Avecilla.
Final Awards Ceremony
On the last day of the regatta, April 30, an awarding ceremony was held at the Lighthouse beachfront that was made into a Sailing Village for the week-long event.
The overall winner of this year’s Regatta for IRC Class is Team Misty Mountain with skipper George Hacket, for the Cruising Class is team Selma with skipper Peter Capotosto, for the FarEast28R Class is Team PSA Standard Insurance with skipper Emerson Villena.
The event was capped off by live stage performances from the M1 Freedom Party. Performers that were there included Tropical Depression, along with other local bands and DJs like Migo, Carla Espiritu, and the like.
Improving International Relations
It is through sailing that we are able to build stronger ties with our foreign neighbors long before the Spanish had come. “The Balangay, that may soon be declared as the National Boat of the Philippines, serves as a symbol of unity to the peoples of Southeast Asia.” said Mr. Valdez.
Sailing and channeling through different waters have been means to connect us to other nations in the South Pacific and the rest of the world. The China Cup International Regatta organizing Committee and the Subic Sailing Club, in its hope to strengthen international ties, continue to participate in reciprocal sailing events and activities to develop sailing between the two countries.
The event was presented by the Subic Sailing Club in partnership with the Philippine Sailing Association, Lighthouse Marina Resort and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, in cooperation with Standard Insurance, Watercraft Ventures Corporation, and Subic Bay Yacht Club.
The event is supported by the following government agencies: National Coast Watch Council Secretariat, Department of Tourism, Philippine Coast Guard, PNP Maritime Group, Department of Transportation, Philippine Retirement Authority, PAGCOR and Philippine Sports Commission.
The event is supported by the following organisations: Rotary Club of Subic Bay, International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians, Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce, Subic Bay, Hotels, Attractions, and Tourism Stakeholders Visitors Board, Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary, Philippine Inter-Island Sailing Federation, Philippine Windsurfing Association, Puerto Galera Yacht Club, Taal Lake Yacht Club, Subic Bay Yacht Club and Punta Fuego Yacht Club.