9th Philippine Hobie Challenge to finish in Siargao
by Fryan E. Abkilan
Surigao del Norte (February 5) -- Gov. Robert Ace S. Barbers unveiled the activity that will showcase the beauty of the province, "The 9th Philippine Hobie Challenge - Luzviminda Challenge" on February 16 to 23.
Gov. Barbers said the event is expected to draw international interest and exposure which will surpass previous competitions.
The challenge, according to the Philippine Hobie Challenge Foundation (PHCF) - the organizer of the activity, is the country's premier extreme sailing event, and each year a different route is chosen to challenge competitors and show them the numerous beautiful islands found in the Philippines.
This year the competition will start in Gubat Bay, Sorsogon in Luzon passing thorugh the islands of Visayas and will finish in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte in Mindanao.
The organizers revealed that this year competitors will sail over 258 nautical miles, 488 kilometres, in a 5 daily passage race along a route selected by the organizers several months ago. The course runs through pristine blue and coral fringed seas taking them from island to island for overnight camping.
With this features, this year's challenge is considered the longest since the competition started in 1999.
According to PHCF Chairman Mark Andrew Haswell, the activity will be limited to a maximum of 20 teams. The reason for this is that the event will be truly an extreme sailing event with sailors having to contend with strong currents and tides ocean swells and strong winds. The Race Management and Safety Team will have to keep track of all competitors in these conditions which will probably involve sailing at night.
Gov. Barbers on his part, assured the participants that the provincial government of Surigao del Norte and the Municipality of Gen. Luna are now in their final preparations for the big event.
The organizing committee which is the Philippine Hobie Challenge Foundation is working with the Department of Tourism in promoting the Philippines as a safe and interesting destination for tourists. (PIA-Surigao del Norte/with Evelyn Conson, PPDO) [top]