Quite by coincidence I planned this trip at the same time as the Iloilo Paraw Regatta.
Iloilo is the largest city on the island of Panay, about five hours drive from Caticlan, and this regatta has been going on for some 43 years. As far as I am aware, it is the largest sailboat race of it’s kind here in the Philippines.
I’ll start with an interesting observation. There were thousands of people on the beach there to watch it. I can’t remember when a sailboat race in San Francisco last had so many spectators. I guess, the America’s Cup…. what was that budget??
It helps that there is a beach start. People can check out the boats and talk to the crews And it helps that there are other events that run alongside it. There’s a beauty pageant, dance performances, and politicians get up on a high horse. You can bet on the races. Artists paint the sails. Kids can play with toy sailboats on the sand. The local naval academy students manage the starting line, and the coastguard are out on the water to help boats that get into trouble. It’s a festival.
I think we could learn some things about organizing sailboat racing from the Philippinos.
I was invited to crew on Ryan’s boat, ‘King JR’ – But there’s a P100,000 purse for the winner of the big race, and with the wind blowing at 25kts, I think it was probably a smart decision on their part that they left me on the beach!
Next year though 😉