The All Souls Regatta History

What makes the All Souls Regatta the largest yachting event in the Philippines?

The All Souls Regatta is a special yachting event. In 2003, the yacht club decided that a regatta event should be organized to assist in the funding of the the Small Boat Program – a dinghy sailing program designed to promote youth sailing. The All Souls holiday, on the 1st of November each year, when Filipinos traditionally pay their respects to departed family, was chosen because it happens to coincide with the beginning of the amihan – the northeast monsoon – that also marks the beginning of the traditional yacht racing season in the Philippines. The main attractions are the super-friendly atmosphere of the Puerto Galera Yacht Club and great sailing breezes.

The first, three-day, All Souls Regatta was targeted at the All Souls holiday weekend in 2004, from 30th October to 1st November. Most significantly, it attracted sailors from the then more competitive Manila Yacht Club and Subic Bay Yacht Club, many of whom had never before raced around Puerto Galera.

Sailing and racing around Puerto Galera during the amihan is special. The Verde Island Passage – a 35 mile long, deep water passage that separates Mindoro Island from the province of Batangas – enjoys wind from a generally easterly direction, typically with speeds of between 8 and 18 knots. Perfect conditions for enjoying the sport of competitive sailing.

In the first year there were 15 yachts participating and the overwhelming opinion of those who came to sail was that the All Souls Regatta was an event to be repeated and promoted. The All Souls Regatta is now the most anticipated yachting event in the Philippines and every year attracts around 30 yachts of various shapes and sizes.

The All Souls Regatta features three racing classes: racing, cruising and multihulls. Handicapping is based on performance rather than measurement. This is primarily because the yachts in the cruising and multihull classes are most frequently sailed with novice crews – more for the fun of participation rather than the need to win. The racing class however can be very competitive, with great rivalry between the racing yachts from Subic Bay and Manila.

There is no prize money offered for any race but trophies and bottles of rum or wine are the reward for the top three places in each class, every day. All proceeds from the regatta are donated to the yacht club’s Small Boat Program.

In recent years, the racing yachts from Subic Bay have organized the coincident Vasco’s Cup – a feeder-race to get them to Puerto Galera during the days before the All Souls Regatta. The perpetual Vasco’s Cup trophy is sponsored by Vasco’s Resort and Maritime Museum in Subic Bay Freeport.

The most attractive part of any All Souls race is the finish. The races are based on a staggered start with start-timing based on a combination of previous or predicted yacht performance combined with the anticipated wind conditions available on the day. The objective being to get all the yachts to finish at the same time. This frequently results in five or more yachts racing bow to bow at the finish line. It also means that all the crews arrive at the yacht club at about the same time each day, so the sense of camaraderie is enhanced, with the day’s results immediately known to all.

One of the unique features of racing in Puerto Galera is that anyone who wants to enjoy the sport of sailing can join in the fun, whether or not they have a regular yacht to sail aboard. If you want to join in the sailing you just have to attend the skippers’ briefing on any race day. Put your hand up at the skippers’ briefing and the race committee will find a yacht for you to sail aboard.

There are usually one of two yachts available for charter at the All Souls Regatta. Every year, at least one group travel from Hong Kong and others, from as far away and Holland, have been frequent charterers of local yachts.

The bottom line is that, if you are interested to enjoy the friendly competition of sailing during Halloween, there is no better place to be across the seven seas than at the All Souls Regatta in Puerto Galera.