THE best Hobie cat sailors in the Asia-Pacific region will compete for sailing prowess as the Philippine National Hobie Championships unfolds from February 19 to 22 at Tali Beach and Club Punta Fuego, Nasugbu, Batangas.

Organized by the Philippine Hobie Challenge Foundation (PHCF), the National Championships will gather the multi-awarded sailors from Hong Kong, Thailand, Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Korea, and the Philippines.

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A Hobie cat is a twin-hulled, wind-powered sailboat, crewed by two persons and is capable of inter-island sailing.

Jerry Rollin, regatta race director, talks on the upcoming Philippine National Hobie Championships at Tali Beach and Club Punta Fuego, Nasugbu, Batangas. (Sunnex/Virgil Lopez)
Participants will compete for top honors in the different categories—Open Class, Philippine National Championship, Masters (over 45), Grand Masters (over 55), Youth (under 21) and Ladies.

Jerry Rollin, who graced the PSA forum at Shakey's-United Nations, said local sailors will highlight the importance of the Philippines as a sailing haven in the Asia-Pacific region because of its beautiful bodies of water and ideal wind conditions.

He said the country can be a force to reckon with in international competitions if given the proper government and private sector support.

“The country is archipelagic in nature and we all know the Filipino’s inherent affinity with the sea,” Rollin added.

Rollin said the country's hosting will bring the country closer to bagging the right to stage the Hobie Worlds Championships, which will gather the world’s best sailors in 2011.

The confirmed participants include the Philippine Sailing Association teams of Mark Gil Francisco with Richly Magsanay and Joel Mejarito with Ashly Escalante. The duos will represent the country in the Asian Sailing Championships in Shanwe, China in March and the Asian Games in November.

The event is sponsored by San Miguel Corporation, IBM and the Department of Tourism in cooperation with the Philippine Inter Island Sailing Foundation, the International Hobie Class Association and under the auspices of the Philippine Sailing Association. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)