With Central Visayas, Philippines as the backdrop, sailors from all across the globe joined forces to make February 20 to February 27, 2016, a truly memorable date in the sailing calendar. Starting off in Mactan, Cebu, 17 teams sailed and braved the southern waters of the Philippines heading down to Cabilao Island, Bohol for the GoPro Leg 1 race of the challenge on February 22, 2016. Leading the pack was Team Fiji Samaki with Grahame Southwick and Aussie Sharon Rayner as its members followed by challenge virgins Team Not Dead Yet comprised of Kerli and Ali Corlett. Rounding the top three are Tanzanian-native Andrew Boyd and Kim Troll of Team Bung Beatles.
Leg 2 of the race from Cabilao Island, Bohol back to Cebu via Sumilon Island on February 23, 2016 saw no change in the top three standing as Team Fiji Samaki, Team Not Dead Yet and Team Bung Beatles came in 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively once again.
The Rayomarine Leg 3 from Sumilon Island, Cebu to Balicasag Island, Bohol on February 24, 2016 is where it all got spicy as Team Not Dead Yet with Kerli and Ali Corlett bested all the teams in true champion fashion finishing the race in just a little over three hours followed by two other Aussie teams; Team Ancient Mariners led by challenge veteran Bruce Tardrew and Sarah Turnbull and Team Thunder From Downunder with Geoff Rowdon and Rosie Phelan.
Results shifted back to the same as the previous legs as the Potato Corner Leg 4 race from Balicasag Island, Bohol to San Juan, Siquijor on February 26, 2016 brought back Team Fiji Samaki and Team Bung Beatles in the top three standing in 2nd and 3rd respectively under Team Not Dead Yet who seemed to have enjoyed their place at the top.
The final leg of the challenge around the Province of Siquijor on February 27, 2016 ended with Team Ancient Mariners outracing Team Not Dead Yet to claim the 1st spot during that race. Completing the top three is Team Thunder From Downunder. It wasn’t enough though for Bruce Tardrew and Sarah Turnbull as Kerli and Ali Corlett with their consistency and skill won the entire challenge by at least 10 minutes against their closest competitor.
Winners for the In-shore races were Team Thunder From Downunder in 1st, Team Fiji Samaki in 2nd and Team Ancient Mariners in 3rd.
The challenge also had its annual Hobie Fossil Cup sponsored by Australian sailing vet Andrew “Fossil” Thompson recognizing the most improved sailors during the week-long regatta. This year’s recipients were two local teams – Team Rayomarine with Diego and Monchu Garcia in 1st place and Team What’s Up Doc comprised of Dennis Cruz and Arnel Ornales in 3rd. Coming at 2nd place is Aussie Team Optimum Height with members Will King and Jen O’Boyle.
It was a truly spectacular event and one for the books indeed! Everyone was happy to see that the rock stars of Australian sailing obliterated their competition forcing the local teams to sail at their level. It was a race and a master class in sailing all in all! All the winners, nay all the sailors are rock stars in their own right!