Sailing isn’t so different from banking after all | Inquirer Business

Sailing isn’t so different from banking after all

By: - Business Features Editor / @philbizwatcher
/ 02:12 AM February 18, 2024

Hurricane Hunter, skippered by sailing veteran Albert Altura, ruled the Punta Fuego (Batangas) to Busuanga offshorerace in January. Sailors dealt with harsh wind and waves along the Calavite Pass in Mindoro Occidental.

GRUELING Hurricane Hunter, skippered by sailing veteran Albert Altura, ruled the Punta Fuego (Batangas) to Busuanga offshore race in January. Sailors dealt with harsh wind and waves along the Calavite Pass in Mindoro Occidental. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

In the mornings, they unfurled sails and wrestled with the wind and the waves. In the evenings, they partied al fresco, with an open bar and sumptuous buffet, celebrating their sport, teamwork and friendly competition.

As the 8th edition of BPI Busuanga Cup concluded the second leg of BPI Private Wealth Signature Yacht Race Series in late January, Karakoa, skippered by businessman and seasoned sailor Ray Ordoveza, emerged as the overall winner in the International Rating Certificate (IRC) racing class.


At the awarding ceremony held at Marina del Sol & Yacht Club on Jan. 28, Karakoa likewise earned the most-coveted BPI Busuanga Cup Doni Altura Perpetual Trophy alongside line honors in the Punta Fuego to Busuanga Race, clocking in at 16 hours, 2 minutes and 2 seconds.


With this victory, Ordoveza’s team consecutively dominated two out of the four legs of this yacht race series, following the BPI Corregidor Cup last November.

For the Busuanga race, Papaya, skippered by Renie Ticzon, won the cruising class. Cariño, led by Monchu Garcia, claimed the top spot in the ocean multihull category.

The next leg of this yacht race series will happen on Boracay Island this Feb. 22 to Feb. 27. The fourth and final race will be in Subic on April 2 to April 5, on the heels of the famed Rolex China Sea Race.

These sailors—many of them business leaders by day and seafarers during the weekends (or whenever they can be)—are working hard to put the spotlight on the Philippines as a “sailing mecca.”

Karakoa skipper Ray Ordoveza (center)receives the Doni Altura Perpetual Trophy. With him are sailing veteran Altura and Tere Marcial, president and CEO of BPI Private Wealth.

YACHT MASTERS Karakoa skipper Ray Ordoveza (center) receives the Doni Altura Perpetual Trophy. With him are sailing veteran Altura and Tere Marcial, president and CEO of BPI Private Wealth. —DORIS DUMLAO-ABADILLA

Grueling conditions

The Punta Fuego to Busuanga Race was a 135-nautical mile overnight race that cast off on Jan. 25 and ended on Black Island, Busuanga, on Jan. 26.

Sailors faced “grueling conditions” with 40 knots of true wind speed gusting to a high of 52 knots and wave heights of almost 3 meters along the Calavite Pass in Mindoro.


Hurricane Hunter, skippered by Albert Altura, ruled the Punta Fuego to Busuanga offshore race at the IRC class. Isabelle, helmed by Allen Yotoko, won the cruising class, while Cariño, led by Monchu Garcia topped the ocean multihull class.

A total of 14 yachts participated in the racing and spectator fleet.

The annual Busuanga regatta has gone a long way since 2017 when Philippine Inter-Island Sailing Foundation launched the race with just three boats participating, recalls Tere Marcial, president and CEO of BPI Private Wealth.

“We are happy to continue supporting the BPI Busuanga Cup, a regatta that takes an extraordinary turn this year as we incorporate it under the banner of the four-event BPI Private Wealth Signature Yacht Race Series,” says Marcial, herself a sailing aficionado who crewed on Hurricane Hunter.

The four-day event was designed to test the skill, agility, determination and teamwork of the participating yachts with the Punta Fuego to Busuanga offshore race and the Doni Altura Memorial Inshore Races around the picturesque landscape of Busuanga.

Apart from growing the local sailing community and promoting the Philippines as a fine sailing destination, the race series supports marine conservation.

“Sailing takes us very close to nature, makes us appreciate the marine environment and when you are out there, and my fellow sailors would know, you realize that we are just a tiny speck in one big blue marble that we call world. Yet billions of these tiny specks called humans can do so much harm if we don’t change the way we treat our marine environment. Plastics in the seas, oil spills, dumping waste, we’ve seen them all first hand,” says Marcial.

In partnership with WWF Philippines, BPI Private Wealth committed to uphold environmental stewardship and ensure that the race series explores eco-friendly routes, promotes environmental awareness and adopts responsible measures to avoid interference with fauna.

Team Karakoa,overall winner of BPI Busuanga Cup 2024

CONQUEST Team Karakoa, overall winner of BPI Busuanga Cup 2024

Spirit of sailing reignited

To date, sailing remains a sport for the affluent. Purchasing a boat, undergoing skipper trainings and maintaining the vessel and the crew can cost a fortune. A more cost-effective option is to syndicate boat ownership among friends or partners. But for those who really love to sail but have no budget for it, they don’t have to own a boat; they just need to know someone who owns one and become part of the crew.

“This event marks a celebration of rebirths, one as we breathe new life into private banking and two, as we reignite the sailing spirit in the Philippines. I think the Philippine sailing community is onto something big, with the vision of positioning our nation as the coveted sailing mecca in Asia,” Marcial says.

“What BPI has done is something that sailors only dreamed about a long time ago. I can now see that this regatta will be equal to the international regattas in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. I am sure that this will be very well known around the region. Thank you for putting prestige to this sport and elevating sailing in the Philippines,” says the winning skipper, Ordoveza.

Jose TeodoroLimcaoco, BPI president

RACE LAUNCH Jose Teodoro Limcaoco, BPI president

No room for error

Jose Teodoro “TG” Limcaoco, president of Bank of the Philippine Islands (parent of BPI Private Wealth), has paid homage to the seafaring community at the launch of the yacht race series in early November last year.

“I realize there are so many parallels between sailing and banking,” he says.

“There are shared values and skills that you need in order to be successful in both—to navigate the rough seas or chart your path as you preserve and build your success and wealth.”

The success of both a sailor and a banker depends on precision and accuracy, he notes.

“It’s such an exact science that there’s absolutely no room for error,” he explains, adding that any littlest miscalculation at sea could cost a lot.

The same is true in banking, he says, noting it’s a profession that requires “attention to detail, careful planning, astute understanding of currents and current events, capacity to navigate uncharted and unknown waters.”

“Whether you’re steering your vessel or managing your wealth demands discipline, demands expertise and the pursuit of perfection to no end,” says the chief of the oldest bank in Southeast Asia.

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Sailing and banking also both require mastery of skills to face unimaginable challenges, he reckons. The COVID-19 pandemic that had shut down the world for nearly three years was one such recent catastrophe. “There’s a saying that calm seas never make a great sailor,” Limcaoco concludes.

TAGS: 'Busuanga Cup', Banking, BPI

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