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BPI Private Wealth Signature Yacht Race Series

by Guy Nowell 14 Nov 2023 15:00 UTC 16-19 November 2023
BPI Signature Yacht Race Series 2023 © BPI

Wednesday night, 08 November, Tere Marcial, President and CEO of BPI Private Wealth, formally launched the Bank of the Philippine Islands’ (BPI) Private Wealth Signature Yacht Race Series 2023. The appropriately splashy event took place at the Manila Polo Club with an audience of invited guests, BPI clients, and sailors.

The BPI Signature Series consists four events:

First in the calendar is the BPI Corregidor Cup (16-19 November), sailed out of the sparkling Caylabne Bay Resort and Marina, on the Luzon coast just south of El Fraile Island, aka Fort Drum, aka the Concrete Battleship. Fort Drum and the forts on Carabao, Corregidor, and Caballo constituted the defences of Manila Bay, and now serve as turning marks for the races of the Corregidor Cup. Distance races around the various islands take the sailing fleet in the very heart of history, passing under the guns and batteries of the fortifications. Regatta supporters will enjoy a day trip to Corregidor itself. This will be the second running of the Corregidor Cup.

Next comes the BPI Busuanga Cup (25-28 January 2024), which opens with a 145nm race from Punta Fuego (Nasugbu) to Busuanga’s Marina del Sol on Coron Island, where the fleet will regroup and then complete an inshore racing series in and around the Busuanga Islands in the northern part of Palawan Province. This includes the Doni Altura Memorial Race, followed by a post-race rally and cruise. Busuanga Bay is a scatter of tiny islands that make for the most picturesque racing and cruising imaginable.

The BPI Boracay 180 involves another overnighter, from Subic to Boracay via the often-challenging Verde Passage. It’s an offwind race for those with long legs, and winds up at one of the most iconic islands in the Philippines: Boracay, where the sugar-white beaches are practically endless, and the breeze always blows. This event has attracted plenty of overseas competitors in the past, and now that the Boracay Cup is firmly back in the calendar, let’s hope that the nomads will return. For a number of years the Boracay Regatta enjoyed an enviable reputation for wind, sunshine, and après sail festivities, and here it comes again. 22-27 February 2024.

Last but not least, the Subic Regatta (2-5 April 2024) wraps up the BPI Signature Yacht Race Series when the Rolex China Sea Race blows into Subic Bay, bringing with it many of Asia’s top racing boats. Hard fought regattas in Subic have a long an illustrious history. There was the 1993 Philippine Easter Regatta which started in Manila and went to Subic Bay via Corregidor, and that morphed into the Manila Yacht Club’s President’s Cup (2007-09) which in turn was replaced by the Subic Sailing Commodore’s Cup. The BPI Subic Regatta will consist of round-the-cans racing for grand prix boats, and anyone else who cares to join in.

If you have read this far - and have been paying attention - you will have realised that the moving parts of the BPI Signature Yacht Race Series are all established events in their own right. The smart touch is to have rolled them together into an interesting whole that has the potential to invigorate yacht racing in the Philippines, and even get the neighbours involved as well.

For a long while the Philippines has been substantially undersold as a yacht racing and cruising destination. It seems to be very appropriate that in a country of more than 7,000 islands, it should be the Bank of the Philippine Islands that is sponsoring the series, whose President and CEO is herself a sailor (and earlier this year participated in the Rolex China Sea Race).

Something to do with stars aligning, no?

Tere Marcial, President and CEO of BPI Private Wealth, says that “this Series aims to grow the sailing community, promote the finest nautical destinations in the Philippines, and support marine conservation – which is why we have partnered with WWF to ensure that we are guided on best practices in sailing for healthier oceans, even if sailors already and inherently understand the importance of preserving the ocean's delicate balance. We have also joined forces with the Ocean Racing Club of the Philippines (ORCP), the Philippine Inter-Island Sailing Federation (PHINSAF), and Subic Sailing to reach not just our clientele, but all the sailing enthusiasts in the community, and to create an environment that is open to individuals who share the same passion for sailing.”

“We need – some more than others – to change the way we treat the marine environment: - plastics in the seas, oil spills, irresponsible ships dumping waste along the Verde Island passage, and more. We are but tiny specks on the big blue marble that we call our home, but we can we take the spirit of adventure, and the lessons of responsible stewardship, into our daily lives.”

“The launch of the BPI Private Wealth Signature Yacht Race Series is important because it not only showcases the passion and spirit of sailing, but also symbolizes the unity that can be achieved when organizations and destinations come together for a common goal. I am excited to witness the realization of a vision, in which the serene waters of the Philippines serve as a canvas for an organized and exhilarating sailing experience. This series will not only test the skills of the sailors, but also strengthen the bonds that tie us all. With diverse destinations and a spirit of healthy competition, this event exemplifies the beauty of our maritime heritage and the promise of an exciting future for sailing in our nation,” said Jerry Rollin, President of the Ocean Racing Club of the Philippines (ORCP).

The inaugural BPI Private Wealth Signature Yacht Race Series is organized by the Offshore Racing Club of the Philippines (ORCP), the Philippine Inter-Island Sailing Foundation (PHINSAF), and Subic Sailing.

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