Philippine Flying Fifteens Match Racing In Subic Bay
Image courtesy Martyn Willes
Subic Bay, 12th April 2012 – The first two of five Flying Fifteen class sailing yachts were launched at Watercraft Venture today for exhibition match racing event between international sailing champions Sam Chan and Neil Pride. The Flying Fifteens were donated to SAGS (Saturday Afternoon Gentlemen Sailors) by the Hong Kong Flying Fifteens Association in order to encourage young sailors from around the country to embrace the spirit of yachting and, in particular, to prepare them for competition in the Flying Fifteen Worlds, to be held in Hong Kong, 24th October to 7th November, 2013.
According to Ricky Sandoval of Watercraft Venture, these donated boats will provide the foundation for a reinvigorated Philippine Flying Fifteen Association fleet, with more boats to be added as soon as sponsorship from government and industry can be secured.
The exhibition match racing was umpired by an international jury and it was the jury’s decision that Sam Chan (with crew, Ryan Binidel) were the winners (see photograph) of the best-of-three race series. Despite Neil Pride’s post-race protestations, the jury remained firm that Neil Pride was deemed to have broken the Racing Rules of Sailing by “pumping sails”, which gave his boat an unfair advantage. After stepping ashore however, both Sam Chan and Neil Pride were seen to congratulate each other for only just remembering how to sail a Flying fifteen in the first place – both are more frequently seen sailing their much larger and faster TP52 class yachts in international regattas around Asia.
Flying Fifteens have been around for a long time as a one-design class boat, for match racing and fleet racing. Since 1979, when the first Flying Fifteen World Championship was held in Perth, Australia, a biennial regatta has been organized somewhere around the World, its location alternating between the northern and southern hemispheres. Hong Kong has hosted two previous Flying Fifteen World Championships and it is hoped that one year soon, Subic Bay may be in a position to host such a prestigious event.
There are thirteen National Flying Fifteens associations around the globe plus an uncounted number of individual sailing club fleets. With almost 4000 boats officially built and sailed since the design was first finalized in 1947, the 20–foot (15–foot at the waterline) Flying Fifteen has become one of the most popular keelboat racing classes in sailing clubs around the World. Designed to be raced by two sailors (male and/or female) of 15–75 years of age and above, the Flying Fifteen is one of the first choices for keelboat racing because it is safe, fast and relatively inexpensive boat to buy and maintain.
This Flying Fifteen exhibition match race was a side-event during the 2012 Commodore’s Cup Regatta competition, held every year sometime just after Easter. Participants from around Asia come to Subic Bay to compete in the annual Commodore’s Cup. Along with the Boracay Race & Boracay Cup Regatta the Commodore’s Cup is a qualifying events in the Asian Yachting Grand Prix series.
For more information about upcoming Flying Fifteens events in Subic Bay you should visit Subic Sailing