A productive 2017 for Asia’s Top Yachtsman

It is very rare to see a head of a national sports association as active in his sport as Ernesto “Judes” Echauz of sailing, the group chairman of Standard Insurance and president of the Philippine Sailing Association.

Echauz’s recently topped the IRC Class A on board the Standard Insurance Centennial, a TP 52 class racing yacht, at the recent China Cup International Regatta held in Shenzhen, China.

This regatta is the most prestigious race in Asia with a participation of around 2,000 sailors from all over the world on more than 200 various classes of sailing yachts.

As skipper of the all-Filipino team composed mostly of national team sailors, the victory was a great feat when the team’s helmsman, Allan Balladares, Asia’s top match racer and Sea Games 2017 gold medalist in match racing, outmaneuvered Alpha plus, a high tech Ker 46 yacht crewed by an international professional team, at the start of the last race, to break the tie prior to the race.

Its junior Philippine team skippered by Emerson Vilene, the Sea Games 2015 bronze medalist in the 470 class together with Troy Troy Tayong won handily the 1st overall, with all first placers in the seven races, over the national teams of New Zealand, 2nd overall, and Singapore, 3rd overall.

On the Far East 28R Class yachts, the best international class yachts of its size.

Echauz says of their China Cup victory: “I enjoy holding onto the Philippine Flag on stage and doing the Duterte fist salute. After-all, our President is very well liked in China.”

Even for ocean and passage racing, 2017 was quite successful for Standard Insurance Centennial and the Philippine team after capturing the line honors and 1st overall in the IRC 0 class for the classic 420-nautical mile Hong Kong-San Fernando race held during the Holy Week and Overall Champion for the 200-nautical mile Subic to Boracay Race.

Together with his twin overall championships in the China Sea Race, the 70-year-old Echauz has been considered as one of the top yachtsmen in Asia.

 

As for small boat racing, such as in the recent Sea Games held in Langkawi, Malaysia, Echauz would always be on the water on the coach boats with the coaches, including the foreign coaches, to observe and study the Filipino sailors and how they race compare to their competitors.

 

He would also be present during the briefings and debriefings before and after the races.

 

A comprehensive program has been designed for the Philippine team which would include the improvement of the sailors for both the juniors, seniors and elite with coaching by its top sailors complemented by foreign coaching.

 

With the combination of resources from the Philippine Sports Commission, Standard Insurance as its main sponsor and the Philippine Navy for the enlistment of its senior sailing athletes, Echauz said “this time we will be able to prepare our sailors and equipment far better for the 2019 Sea Games since it’s not improving only certain individual athletes but the team as a whole.

 

“It’s like managing an enterprise where you need to consider everything, especially the regular and sufficient sources of income and allowances for the athletes, although what is very important is you know the formula for winning, being a winner yourself,” added Echauz.