Legazpi hosts 1st Oz Goose National Regatta contest

By Rhaydz Barcia

Legazpi City played host to the 1st Oz Goose National Regatta race on Feb. 26-27, which signalled the opening of the city to local and foreign tourists amidst the waning Covid-19 cases in the country.


The regatta competition, dubbed “Exciting Bicol Oz Goose National Championship” was held in the waters of Barangay Puro in Albay Gulf and the first salvo of water sports competition scheduled in Legazpi City this year.


The event was the first time that the city government allowed visitors from other regions since the government imposed lockdown on the movement of people due to Covid-19.


City Councilor Ferdinand Imperial, one of the organizers of the regatta competition, said that it was the largest one-design sailing regatta held in the country, where sailors from Manila, Subic, Batangas and Legazpi City competed.


He said the contest involved sailboats that are of the same design competing against each other in a series of races, ensuring that the competitors’ standings are purely skill and not their equipment.


Imperial, a sailing enthusiast, partnered with the Oz Goose program of the Philippine Home Boatbuilders Yacht Club (PHBYC) in bringing the event to Legazpi City.


“Together with friends who were also into boating, we revived the Albay Yacht Club, partnered with PHBYC and built a fleet of Oz Goose sailboats, and the rest you could say is history,” Imperial added.


According to him, the current Philippine record for the most number of boats in a one design regatta was recorded by the Hobie14 World Championships held in Puerto Azul, Cavite in 1984, wherein 25 Hobie14 Catamarans were used by international participants during the sailing event.


“The participating team for the Oz Goose Nationals were, two yacht clubs, namely: the Taal Lake Yacht Club (TLYC) and the Albay Yacht Club (AYC), which fielded a total of 32 sailboats,” he said.

The winners for the regatta’s three categories were:


For Person With Disabilities (PWDs)


First place: Cherrie Pinpin, 59, skipper or boat captain and her crew Joshua Barcelon.


Pinpin, is a Filipina Paralympic sailor who crewed in the SKUD 18 Two-Person Keelboat class, Sailing at the 2008 Summer Paralympics held in Beijing based on Wikipedia. She is a female pwd sailor helping to grow disabled sailing in the Philippines.


Pinpin said that the Oz Goose competition held in Legazpi is the most challenging due to strong wind but fun and exciting.


Second place: Joy Calimlim Habana, the skipper and his crew Junard Bertulfo of Cavite.


While Joy Habana and Junard Bertulfo both re-echoed that Legazpi is the best site for Oz Goose competition as it was done in an open sea with small to big waves hitting their boat.


“This is my sport, sailing. We like it here very much compared to Taal lake or other areas where we have competed. Here, our endurance is tested because of the strong winds and waves pummeling our boat. The challenge is really exciting and fun,” Joy, a PWD, said while his crew JUnard is an able-bodied person.


“The place is superb with the backdrop of picturesque Mayon volcano. The place alone is perfect and so accessible to many restaurants, malls, groceries and other recreational areas,” he said.


B-Fleet open category:


Job F.Ferranco, first place, John Eugene Balderama and Marvin Bahoy for second place and James Gabriel Balderama and John Anthony Ajero for the 3rd place.


Women category:


First place - Jonalyn Parocha and Jonabel Parocha;


Second place - Byonne V. Miraflor and Joshua Santos;


Third place: Jazmine Z. Lucero and Aries Royce Oligan Punzalan.


Small boat sailing has been gaining popularity in Legazpi, largely through the efforts of Imperial, a crew member of Subic-based sailing team, Team Windshear.


The sailing race was supported by the Department of Tourism, Small boat engine and power tool manufacturer Kress Philippines, Toyota Albay, Hyde Sails Cebu, Imperial Homes, and the Lrgazpi City government.


Imperial said that corporate sponsorships provided the Albay Yacht Club means to promote sailing to local communities. The club provides sailing lessons and hold regular races to improve the skills of the members.


Locals and tourists alike enjoy the sight of colorful sailboats docked near the Legazpi Boardwalk.


Herbie Aguas, DOT Bicol regional director, said that with the holding of the the 1st Oz Goose National Championship event, “we are optimistic that Legazpi City will be the country’s capital for open water sporting events.”


He said that the DOT is promoting regatta events in Legazpi as one of the promising water sports capital of the Philippines.


“The Bicol region has been gaining in popularity with the country’s water sports enthusiasts, from wakeboarders, surfers, paddlers, scuba divers and now, sailors. The natural beauty of the Bicol region is its main appeal, the hospitality and enthusiasm of locals in embracing watersports compound the region’s overall charm,” Aguas said.


Roy Espiritu, PHBYC executive director, said that he is optimistic that the Oz Goose’s potential will bring recreational boating to the Philippines.


“The Oz Goose sailboat sails really well and makes for an ideal platform to teach people the essential skills involved in sailing, from weather awareness to basic physics. Racing sailboats is the best way to improve one’s skill as a sailor, you have a clear objective that you need to complete efficiently, and have other sailors around you that you can learn from,” Espiritu said.


To date, more than 100 Oz Goose sailboats have been built all over the country.


“Recreational sailing is often mistaken to be a rich person’s sport, but with boats that are easily built from local materials like the Goose, one can have a sailboat for less than the price of a Mountain bike, production kayak or paddle board. In a country with more than 7000 islands and great sailing weather all year round, sailing is the best way to enjoy the country” Espiritu said.