On the rocking road to Boracay

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WARNING!! Contains adult and non-PC content, also sex and mild innuendo and strong language. And rum.

Boracay is a tiny Island just North of Panay in the Sibuyan Sea, in the central Philippines. It’s an Internationally famous tourist destination and for years was awarded the title of World’s Best Beach. Sugary white spotless sand and spectacular sunsets. However (I was last there ten years ago), now as a tourist destination it is pretty much past its ‘sell-by’ date. It’s overdeveloped and overcrowded, there’s a fucking Starbucks on the beach FFS, right next to a Subway. Hotels on the beach are charging Miami prices, which I suppose is fair enough as it is still a whole lot nicer than Miami.

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The sea used to be pristine (and is still gin-clear offshore) but now when you wade ashore (used to be the only way onto the Island was to get your feet wet – porters would come out to the bancas – a Filipino motorized trimaran made out of wood with bamboo outriggers – to carry your luggage ashore), you wade the last ten feet through a ring of green slimy algae. “It’s natural” the locals say. Indeed it is. It’s what naturally happens when you mix sewage with seawater and sunlight.

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Note yummy green slime. Seaweed soup anyone?

Give the Filipinos credit, they have tried to do the right thing. They recycle practically everything and the Island actually has a sewage treatment system now for the big hotels and developments. Problem is there are about 20,000 migrant workers living in slums and they aren’t connected.

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Recycling Depot Near ‘Fat Jimmy’s’ Hotel

But WTF, we weren’t there for the beach. We came for the sailing and it was fekkin’ spectacular.

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This adventure started in January I think. My old pal Simon Pickering asked if I wanted to do the Boracay Regatta. It’s a relatively new event – this was year six. It follows on from a 240 mile offshore down from Subic Bay – I did that one ten years ago on Frank Pong’s Jelik from a start in Manila Bay and after a cracking sail (we hit 29.7 knots on the run down the Sibuyan Sea in 35 knots of breeze – fastest I have ever gone on a monohull) we sat on the beautiful beach for 3 days asking each other why there weren’t any inshore races when we got there? Well, people listened and now there are.

So in January, Simon e-mailed and I immediately jumped on board. I’ve known Simon for nearly 30 years – he came to HK as a young boat- nigger (a non-PC term for a paid hand) hired from NZ by a rich lawyer friend of mine to work on his yacht ‘Switchblade’ and who, knowing  I had a big government flat, asked if I could put Simon up. Sure, why not?

He stayed about a year. In his early years here he was known as ‘Simon Thickering’ partly as a pun on his name and perhaps partly due to his apparently slow thought processes but I have known him a long time and he is not slow when it matters. He just keeps it to himself until he’s sure he’s right. And he’s got it right over the years. He’s got a beautiful and steadfast wife, a farm in the Philippines, three lovely kids, one of whom I have met and can testify from personal experience is a great lad and an excellent Yachty (see my video of the Ramrod delivery back from China last October, that’s his boy Thomas amongst the old men). Simon is the RHKYC Boatyard and Marine Operations Manager.

The Yacht I was privileged to sail on is Vineta (google it if you want to know where the name came from) and I have sailed on her on-and-off for a couple of years since I have been back in HK and Simon dragged me out of sailing retirement. She’s a Martens 49, built in NZ in 2004 and worth maybe about US$ 1.5 M or so new, I think. Lovely boat but a terrible rating (ie. handicap for any non-Yachties reading this) due to the huge amount of exotic materials used in her construction. Very powerful and fast boat. The owner, Helmuth Hennig is a Danish national but born in HK and the CEO of a big trading company. He’s a lovely guy as well as the calmest and quietest skipper I have ever sailed with and he’s a great driver (I mean helmsman).

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Vineta in Subic Bay

So on Friday February 27 I hooked up with Simon (wearing a lovely pink hat of Maureen’s which she had asked him to bring down – pink really suits him) and another lad named Patrick (he works at the Outward Bound school here in HK) and we caught a 2200 hrs flight from Chep Lap Kok to Clark in Luzon. Clark is the former US Airforce base that the Filipinos took back in the 90s, now a special economic zone. Cebu Pacific Air flies in to Clark for about $150 US one way. Simon has an entourage working on his farm near there (his wife Maureen spends most of her time managing the farm and their kids are in school in NZ) so he had his van and a driver pick us up. The three of us shot the shit in the car as we rolled down an empty toll road through the area devastated by the Pinatubo volcano in 1991 (Clark was flattened when Pinatubo blew which is one reason the Yanks upped sticks).

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KABOOM!!!

The boat was at Subic Bay, another former US base, in the Subic Bay Yacht Club, a vast marina built about 20 years ago or so, centered around what was once a sparkling palatial clubhouse but which has suffered somewhat from the Filipino attitude towards maintenance. It has been often said that the word ‘maņana’ conveys a sense of urgency not usually found in the country.  Understandable I suppose when you live in such a beautiful and easy going place. Whatever,  Subic is still a great place, it’s an excellent harbour and marina and a superb sailing base and the people are great and I love it. Patrick and I and Simon sat up on deck until about 0300 bullshitting about sailing, guns, UFOs, politics, spiritualism, conspiracies and all sorts of other good stuff, fueled by the litre of duty free vodka I’d brought. Good guy stuff.

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Subic Bay Yacht Club

Far too little sleep before the rest of the crew started rousing below and turning up from hotels in the morning. I think we wound up with about 13 or 14 on board for the race, which started out in Subic Bay about noon. Helmuth, the skipper, Simon, crew boss and driver, TC, a black Kiwi born in HK (I think), a cool guy with a cockney accent as navigator and driver and who is the adopted son of a bloke I worked with in Government, Gavin a Kiwi pro sail trimmer and driver, his girlfriend who joined us later in Boracay and a brace of young guys, Patrick on the mast, Paolo, a Filipino IT specialist who decided last year some time that he wanted a career change  and waltzed up to Simon and said ‘teach me how to be a professional sailor’ (first lesson, learn not to get seasick) and Sean, the son of a girl I know (and lusted after years ago – unsuccessfully, I regret to add) who grew up in the Philippines. I also know his granddad and two of his uncles, one of whom is named after the infamous Chas from Tas. All great sailors. There were also four pro Filipino ‘boat boys’ or paid hands, Loi on the bow, Raymond, Ramil, and Joseph doing mast, mid-bow and sewer, plus (some names have been redacted to protect the guilty) J*****, a Kiwi boat builder, really nice guy, reportedly really good yacht builder and a bit of a slob (sat on the rail with his butt crack hanging out – charming) and finally R*****, an ex-Brit military, school dropout, former boat-nigger and Guards Regiment officer (“I didn’t need to finish school to get a commission because my family has been in the Regiment for 300 years”) who also joined in Boracay as a trimmer. He described how he got started in the fish business in Vladivostok after mustering out: “I went there with a briefcase full of money and a Kalashnikov”.

I was in my favorite spot on a boat – the ‘pit’ – running the halyard clutches (the ‘piano’) and halyard winches in the middle of the boat. I may be old but I am still quick and I don’t make many mistakes and I like to fool myself that I am still one of the best piano men in Asia.

Don’t know if R***** was bullshitting or not about the briefcase and the AK (I don’t think so, which is why I redacted him) but we had some great yarns over the week and a lot of interests in common (ie guns). A typical motley crew. We mostly got acquainted over breakfast at the SBYC and coffees from the 7-11 across the street.

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The race started at noon with about 15 boats and the photo above was taken at the start – the high, rugged volcanic mountains in the background are in Subic. Lots of wind (about 22 – 25 k from NE to ENE)  and a spinnaker start, out past Grande Island at the mouth of Subic Bay, we turned left (gybed) and ran down the coast of Luzon to the Verde Island Passage. A nice fast passage with the coast off to the left and lots of traffic to dodge – fishing boats, bancas, barges, small freighters. Flying fish leaping out of the water spooked by the boat. When it got dark it became quite interesting because we’d be hooning along at 12 knots and suddenly up front one of the many unidentified lights would start flashing at us. Fishermen with nets out, but where exactly are the nets? The boat’s at one end of the net, but which one? Is the net to the left or the right? So you head straight at him and try to make the right decision at the last minute. Sometimes there’s two boats, one at either end and that should make it easier but not always. Cause usually the second boat doesn’t start flashing his lights at you until you are just about into the net.

Simon got pissed at one particularly tricky one and jumped up to the rail, “You think you own the fucking ocean?” he bellowed as we swept past, thankfully clear of the net. I would have perhaps been a touch more cautious (they are only trying to make a living after all and see comments below about Filipino gun culture). On the other hand, Simon’s sailed those waters a helluva lot more than me and he knows what he’s doing.

The lights of the towns on shore show up even from a long way out. You see harbours and roads and neon signs and car headlights and antenna tower lights, sometimes navigational lights but in the Pines quite often these are not working. Maņana.

We hardened up and went ‘on the wind’ through the Verde Island Passage but we laid course and made it straight through in one tack, in good breeze, threading through a couple of pretty dicey passages, watching the big freighters out in the middle of the Passage, dodging islands, working hard at the sails in the very gusty breezes. We had a competitor in sight in front. A Filipino boat named Krakatoa with one of Sean’s Uncles and an old friend of mine on board and we were chasing them hard.

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The course marked in red

Lots more towns on the shore than the last time I went through, lots of lights. One town was holding an annual ‘fishing festival’ (that’s what one of the local guys, Loi or maybe Ramil said) and we could see the fireworks going off soundlessly miles away, as we sailed past.  About midnight a pod of dolphins turned up and were darting around the boat playing in the wake. You can hear them as they pop up to breathe and when they chatter to each other. Their bodies shimmered in the moonlight. Sometimes when you see them on dark nights they stir up phosphorescence in the water and they leave shining blue and green trails as they shoot past. Beautiful is not a strong enough word.

And then about 0400 as we started to bear away and popped the kite (spinnaker) for the run down the Sibuyan Sea to Boracay, the best part – the moon set and the stars came out.

And my God, what stars!!! As bright and vast a sky as the clearest, darkest winter night you ever saw in Canada and more. Heavens filled with glittering stars and planets and galaxies and the colors showing up in the tropics much more than up North. We were down at about 11 degrees latitude by then and so you see a whole different sky. The Dipper is barely above the Northern horizon, but to the South, the sky is filled with constellations Canadians never see, the most prominent and beautiful in my view being the Southern Cross.

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It was fantastic. I gazed in awe until the stars faded (as the halyard man I had nothing to do once the kite was up other than to spell J*****, valiantly grinding away on the primary winch). I finally went below and managed about 2 hours sleep around dawn and came back on deck about 0800 as we started closing on Krakatoa (usually referred to as Karaoke) in building breeze. This was J*****’s first time offshore and he was learning fast about winch grinding and turning out to be fitter than he looked – he certainly had more stamina than I have left. Mind you, I have about 40 years of excuse.

Blazing tropical sunshine and a flat sea, we gradually overhauled them as the 15 knot breeze suited us and our kite better. We passed them and they panicked, changing sails several times, trying different angles of course to gain speed.  We pulled away.

We had no food left as the only provisioning before we left Subic was a big bag of MacDonald’s crap that was supposed to last us but we ate it too soon anyway. We had a bunch of instant cup noodles on board but when Patrick went down to heat up the kettle to serve us some noodles… no kettle. Taken off in Subic to save weight. So he found a rotten old cake pan in the bilge and boiled water in it and mixed up the noodles and shoved it up on deck. That’ll do. Sailors aren’t fussy.

By two miles from the finish, islands clear in front (but which one… hmmm… TC????), doing about ten knots, Karakoa had put up their Code Zero and were staring to pull us. Where’s our Code Zero? It’s fucked. Doesn’t fit the boat. Needs to be recut. With 700 metres to go they passed us about 400 m to leeward and beat us over the line by maybe 40 seconds. A kick in the balls. But who cares? Well, we all cared. That’s Yacht Racing.

So we get the sails down and anchor the boat with the rest of the fleet about noon, off the south tip of Boracay. We’re all rooted from no sleep.  A local banca comes along and we stagger on board and drag our minimal gear ashore.  We had a ½ mile hike along the beach to where the turn-off was for the hotel, which absolutely would have suited me as I was totally knackered. Then some bright spark on the crew (TC ???) decided that instead we should all hike another two miles along the beach to hand in the race declaration form. That was hard and I barely made it, especially in bare feet (explained below).

Anyway, after that ordeal, we managed transport back to the area where Simon reckoned the Hotel was, eventually found it and got checked in. Very basic, Filipino family hotel, foam mattresses, threadbare towels and sheets but the showers more or less worked as did the aircon (although my toilet was on the fritz for the first day). No real facilities, just a half-dozen tables and chairs in the lobby, along with the ubiquitous TV set. Here’s the sort of thing you sometimes get on TV in the Pines. Loser shouts lunch.

Basic, but comfortable and clean enough, 200 m back from the beach (right next door to a recycling depot which made for a smelly and careful walk past – picture posted way above), friendly and honest people running it and perfectly adequate, considering we were only there for nightcaps and sleep after the parties.  Total bill for 7 nights in a private room that could have slept at least three… USD $300.

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Relaxing in Fat Jimmy’s Lobby

After a shower and a few hours shuteye we were off to the first party, back at race headquarters. No hike for me this time.

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Boracay is a dumbbell shaped Island maybe 6 km long, with the main beach (‘White Beach’) on the SW side. It’s got one main road and vans and bikes and pushcarts and  minibuses and tricycles chug back and forth along it 24/7. The tricycles are the standard form of taxi outside Manila – usually a 50 cc motorbike with a crude sidecar welded onto it. You can maybe get 4 or 5 gweilos into one and the going rate from one end of the Island to another (at a max of maybe 20 kph) is 60 pesos (about 43 pesos to the USD). They are starting to introduce electrically powered ones to cut down on the air pollution.

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                          IMG_0092A little off the top please

The party was at the same place we handed in our declaration form, the Sea Wind Resort, a quite nice hotel on the beach. Lots of free (and good) food, fire dancers– and especially FREE RUM!!! The Filipino Tanduay Rum is excellent and they had produced special bottles, with special labels for the event and engraving on the sides of the bottles ‘Boracay 2015’. During the course of the regatta they gave away enough rum to float one of the smaller boats. We all took trophy bottles home.  It wouldn’t have cost the sponsors much since Tanduay goes in the local shops for 105 pesos a bottle or about USD 2.50.  Engraving is cheap too. My ex-wife used to buy Chinese-made crystal from a Waterford factory in China, ship it to the Pines and have it engraved for USD 1.00 per piece.  I have about 500 pieces in the attic at Stately Dubin Manor.

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They have this weird little fruit in the Pines called a kalamansi. Looks like a miniature orange except it’s green and as sour as hell. You crush it up with a bit of sugar and rum and soda water. Fabulous cocktail and we downed a lot of that. Prize bottles got emptied back at the Hotel (‘Fat Jimmy’s’) with soda, kalamansi, coke, mango juice, orange juice, whatever. We had to buy mix at the supermarket across the street (0pen 0600- 2200) and bring our own ice since the hotel didn’t have drinks or an icemaker. On day two I found a shop selling ice about 150 m from the hotel and the ‘Fat Jimmy’s’ staff put it in bowls and kept the leftovers for us in their freezer.

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That’s not J*****

J*****  came into his own the first night. Despite being about 30 pounds overweight, jello-wobbly around the middle and not very fit (nearly as unfit as me), with spots everywhere, sparse ginger whiskers, a schnoz like half a dill pickle (but red from sunburn) and his butt crack hanging out, he did well. One of the crew related that he had taken out two hookers together one night in Subic, and then leaned over and commented sympathetically, “I bet he doesn’t get a lot of action in Auckland”.

On the first night in Boracay he pulled a damn good looking blonde South African tourist babe and kept the other two lads sharing the room awake all night with their shenanigans in the loo. Since he was a paid hand, he was in a room with two of the other guys also on the skipper’s dime and young Paolo and Sean were not pleased the next morning. Or the one after that.

I guess J***** had qualities that I didn’t (thank fuck!) find out about. Maybe it was the stamina.

Monday was a ‘lay day’ – no racing – although we went out for a sail to try out various things, then the lads split up and went off on their own. TC went scuba diving as the reefs around Boracay are gorgeous. Gavin took his charming and game (not done a lot of sailing) girlfriend Karen to the beach and Patrick and R***** hiked to the far side of the Island and looked at the scenery. Simon picked up his wife Maureen from the ferry and I think J***** spent the day pissing off his roommates with the South African girl.

I had a mission. On the train to the airport back in HK I suddenly realised to my horror that I had left my boat shoes in the middle of the living room floor, plus my tropical beach sandals and my sailing watch. Idiot!!

So I only had my normal sneakers. That’s what happens when you accessorize the holiday packing process with Absolut.

It’s rude to wear street shoes on a boat and I generally make a point of changing into my boat shoes either on the dock or as soon as possible after getting on board. However, without boat shoes I was stuck and after apologizing to the skipper I had to wear them. They served okay (Reebok walking shoes – held the deck as well as any boat shoe I have ever had) and they came back a lot cleaner than when I left, thanks to wave action on the rail. Some guys, especially Kiwis, sail barefoot, but that’s a great way to get injured and I don’t do it.

So I spent part of my lay-day trying to find boat shoes (no luck) and beach sandals. I did eventually manage the beach sandals.

Not really sure what I did with the rest of the afternoon although it probably involved rum and I think Simon may have joined me on that.

I can’t remember whether there was another party that night. I do recall I went and had an excellent foot massage at one of the numerous massage parlours that seem to dot all third-world countries. I think it was about 300 pesos – ie USD$7.

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EFG Mandrake and Vineta

Tuesday the racing started in earnest with an Islands course in the by now familiar and dependable 20 to 25 knots of breeze. At one of the most popular regattas in Asia, the King’s Cup in Phuket in December, you have to be on the beach to get out to the boats at 0730 because the breeze is very undependable. That’s tough after a heavy night partying.

Then you usually spend 3 or 4 hours bobbing up and down in no wind until the sea breeze sets in. Not so in Boracay. Out of the hotel at 0930, on the boat by ten and a ten minute motor to the starting area then Bang!! Off you go in big breeze.

Fabulous! Gin-clear seas, coral reefs glowing fluorescent turquoise in the brilliant sunshine when you get close to them (sometimes too close, right TC?), the boat powering through the waves. Fantastic sailing.

After the inevitable party (only drink and excellent appetizers at this one – a very upmarket beach place called the Sand Bar), Helmuth stood us to a crew dinner which was bloody good, tables in the sand on the beach under palm trees and moonlight, with a ghostly surf breaking 50 feet away. More Tanduay. And excellent Filipino nosh (the food has improved a lot in the Pines over recent years – outside Manila you used to get only fish and rice or chicken-pork adobo – which I actually love and will scoff on any possible occasion), a whole pile of excellent local dishes and some very good pizza to top it off.  Plus rum of course. R*****, sprang for some red wine as he needed a break from the rum I suppose.

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I had a bit of a panic later after the dinner. I had been taking photos with my phone and passing the thing around to the crew to have a look. Imagine my dismay when I got back to the hotel and discovered that my green ‘Octopus’ card (a stored value card which all Hongkies carry for public transit and minor purchases at the 7-11) had disappeared from the slot in my phone case where it lives. I had topped it up in HK before leaving and it had over HK$500 on it.  Shit.

Must have fallen into the sand while my phone was being passed around. Back to the restaurant. Looked under the table to the consternation of the people sitting there. No  luck. Talked to the owner. No luck. Went back to where the original party had been. No luck. Went back to the restaurant again and rooted around under the table in the sand (the people had left). No luck. Back to the Belgian owner and ask him to get the guy who sweeps and rakes the beach sand in the morning to look for it. Sure.

Next day after sailing I went back to the bar. The guy’s not here says the owner but I think he didn’t find anything. Okay, disappear to the party up the road. Back an hour later and find the guy… young security guard… did you find a green card like a credit card???? He shakes his head, looking sad… then whips out my Octopus card with a big grin. I gave him a thousand pesos (biggest bill in the country). Probably about 4 day’s pay. That’s why he didn’t tell the owner – he wanted to keep it himself.

I love the Philippines. It is hot, sweaty and beautiful, plus dirty, dangerous, disorganized and everything that is not brand new is falling apart (I have already referred to the old ‘maņana’ joke). Plus they steal everything. Put your smokes or sunnies on the bar and turn around and they’re gone. And this is in a bar filled with financiers in suits and babes wearing Dior.

I reckon it’s the Catholic Church’s fault. You go to confession and all is okay. They steal from their brothers and sisters and parents and kids. They steal the same stuff back and forth from each other. They’ll steal junk piled up on the street – just in case. My ex once caught her best friend in Manila filching her silver Dunhill cigarette lighter. The miscreant was unabashed, just shrugged and handed it back with a smile, “Hey,” she said, “what do you expect? I’m Filipino.”

But apart from that the people are fantastic. They are friendly and generous (when they are not ripping you off) and they love life and smile at everything:  typhoons (in 2014 the RPI was affected by 30 Tropical Depressions, of which 23 became Tropical Storms, 11 turned into Typhoons and 8 became Super Typhoons), plus volcanoes, earthquakes, corrupt politicians, communist insurrections, kidnappings, gun violence, they smile at adversity  (Manila makes Texas look like Tokyo for gun culture – there is a sign outside the Manila Yacht Club that says ‘Please check all firearms’ and they mean it. An ex-Commodore once pistol whipped another member of the General Committee in the entrance to the Main Bar. He got a three month suspension. Gunshots are not unheard of on the beautiful terrace looking West at the sunset over Manila Bay). Filipinos tend to smile at everything, even at monkeys or at least some of them smile at monkeys. I hate monkeys. But I digress.

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I’ve pretty much run out of anything more to say about Boracay without repeating myself. We had more great sailing, bright sunshine and wind and blue seas. Crazy parties and more crazy parties and lots and lots of rum.

The young lads hit the Clubs hard at night and stayed out late and went to sleep even later (and got bollocked by Simon for turning up to race hung-over) while us old fogeys drank rum in the hotel lobby and turned in early. I used to enjoy the Clubs in the Pines and I am told the natives are still friendly (and cheap too – 3000 pesos seems to be the going rate). Boys will be boys, and girls will be girls and the girls are all pretty much volunteers and independent contractors and it contributes to an increasingly healthy economy and fewer hungry babies in the Pines. So there, you PC prudes.

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 Sand Bar Lobby Art I think`

I did have one incident that deserves a mention and has spurred me into taking action to get fit again.

On my last serious boat, Ramrod, a Farr 40 (and… Ahem, a former Farr 40 World and US National Champion), I would be coming off the rail as late as possible when we tacked (roll tacking or as near as an old fart like me can get), just as (or slightly after) the boat flattened out – slide my fat old ass backwards as the boat went through level, tuck my knees, turn sideways and roll into the cockpit then leap (or creak my way) up to the new weather rail.  Unfortunately this technique turned out to be flawed on Vineta as she has a side-deck coach roof around the cockpit (unlike Ramrod with a flat deck and no cockpit coach roof) and on one tack things went wrong. I was a little late and couldn’t get over the coach roof into the cockpit and got trapped to leeward as the load came on and the boat heeled.

Simon and I wrote a bit of verse about it.

 Humpty Dubin sat on the rail

Humpty Dubin shaped like a whale

The skipper yelled ‘tack’

Humpty fell on his back

But he stayed on the boat without fail

I wound up in the scuppers (leeward rail) with my head under the primary winch and the winch handle whizzing around about 2 inches off the end of my nose as the grinder wound the headsail on. I had put my arm up to grab the lifelines and so there was no danger of going over the side into the drink and I just stayed there until we finished the tack and Simon popped down and gave me a hand up. No harm done but embarrassing. Everyone got a good laugh.

I suppose, if anyone cares (or even reads this), I should mention the race results as per the little article I had about it in the RHKYC magazine AHOY! (page 24).

To summarize, on the 240 mile Subic to Boracay Race, Sid Fisher’s Ragamuffin 90 set a  new course record of 16:23 (taking out Jelik’s old one by something like 20 minutes or so), averaging over 14 knots which is SMOKIN’! We took something like 23 1/2 hours averaging just over ten knots. And this was a fairly light air race compared to years past.

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As noted above. the Inshore series featured two days of windward-leewards and two days with Island courses, all of it glorious and tightly contested. The big winners were Frank Pong’s Jelik, Ernesto (Judes) Echauz’s Standard Insurance Centennial III and Fred Kinmonth/Nick Burn’s EFG Mandrake, but in my view, every one of us fortunate enough to do this event was a winner. Simon who recruited me to sail on Helmuth’s  beautiful Vineta calls this the best regatta in Asia and I agree. A wonderful trip. We even had a podium finish with a third in class (out of five).

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              Judes Echauz and Crew                                   Fast Freddy

Smiles all around.  I’ll almost finish off by mentioning that Uncle Frank uses this event to give his mostly professional crew, many of whom hail from the Philippines, an annual family holiday. He brings in all the wives and kids and relatives, books out a hotel and they Par-tay!!! This year his entourage was 72 strong and it is quite something to see a crowd that large in Jelik shirts (of which, Ahem, I have many dating back 30 years, even a current one). I also got a kick out of the two-year-old ankle biters and the wrinkled granny’s all decked out in Jelik crew gear.What a wonderful thing for him to do and I told him so (when he let me get close enough on the last night – I guess he was in a good mood)!

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Team Jelik

(Ahem, did I mention I have one of these shirts?)

So, all of you Yachty boys and girls (there must be at least one or two of you in my vast readership), you need to put this event on your calendar.

In my view the best holidays are the ones you come back from sunburnt, bruised and with maybe a few new scars. When I was younger, I used to consider a visit to Dr. Peter Miles as a definite plus and certainly de riguerre after coming home from one of these.  Except for the penicillin jab (I’m too old for that shit), this one certainly worked out.

Huge thanks to the sponsors: Standard Insurance, the Lighthouse Marina Resort, Watercraft Ventures Corporation and SAGS Subic Sailing, thanks to the wonderful Filipino people for their fantastic, cheerful, welcoming hospitality and especially to my old friend Jerry Rollin, a most bodacious and rarely caught-out Race Officer and finally to Captain Marty Rijurkis who won’t mind (I and my legal counsel hope) that I have pirated some of these photos from his site.

So folks, unless you would rather be shoveling snow and frozen dog poop next February in some God-forsaken icy wilderness, do yourself a favour and plan on rocking down to Boracay next year. Quote this post and I’ll stand you to a rum-kalamansi. Maybe even two. I suppose I can afford that at Boracay prices. If you can find me.

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About Ian Dubin AKA Lord Dubin of Kellett Island

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9 Responses to On the rocking road to Boracay

  1. hkwmvc says:

    A great, rollicking, scallywag yarn which packs a real mood and information-full punch, Doobs – and anyone who doesn’t feel the pull of the speed and the spray and the nights crammed with stars – and opportunities – and the bittersweet pain of the highs and the hangovers after this in not trying – or reading between his lines!!
    Pymo

  2. Bob & Sue says:

    WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a life EH!
    Did u get your Divorce yet?
    When r u coming back to good old Kingston?
    R u playing any Gooof?

    B&S

    • Oldexpat says:

      Hi Bob, hope you and Sue are well. Come back to Kingston???? HAHAHAHAHAHA

      In fact I’ll be back for a week in July and most of August. Will bring my sticks in August.
      Can’t afford golf here. Divorce was final in 2010 although there are still a few issues. Had a fun interaction with my ex and her current idiot last Saturday… maybe my next blog post.

  3. Peter Avis says:

    Amazing Life, Dubes! I want some! Cheers, Pete

  4. J****** says:

    Good blog doobs, just a little note to add it was 3 girls not 2 (pics available) and I wasn’t the only person in that hotel room to bring a guest back to disturb the roomies haha good times had by all, except the married man but he was laughing at it all

  5. Thanks J, pleasure sailing with you though next time I hope you do away with the plumber’s crack

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