by Bernie Kaaks
Customs clearances and a final briefing for the Visit Indonesia Fremantle Bali race fleet were finished in seemingly no time this morning, leaving competitors in the Bali race fleet impatient to get going but forced to wait until the noon start signal.
Most yachts favoured the boat end of the line. - Visit Indonesia Fremantle Bali 2011
A sizeable spectator fleet joined the good crowd on the North Mole to farewell the yachts, a surprise given that this was the final day of an extended long weekend.
Phoenix frightened the start team when she ran out of room on the start line. - Visit Indonesia Fremantle Bali 2011
Derek Baxter’s Phoenix caused the start crew a few anxious moments when it appeared that he intended to climb aboard right on the start signal, but eventually all eight yachts charged over the line in a brisk 18 knot north westerly and lumpy seas.
As expected, Limit immediately established her superiority and jumped to the lead, turning around Campbell Buoy at Swanbourne to head out to sea before the tailenders had reached Cottesloe Beach. She sailed westward for about 25 miles before tacking north, which may be far enough to avoid the need for a further tack as the wind swings from the north west to the west late today.
Inshore is Garth Curran’s Inglis 58 Walk on the Wild Side, which elected to stay close to the beaches, while the Marten 49 Sue Sea also took a long early tack to sea and is following Limit’s track.
Libertine is a sister to the rally leader Slipstream. - Visit Indonesia Fremantle Bali 2011
Leading the cruising fleet is Rock Mulcahy’s Slipstream, a sister ship to Brian McMaster’s Libertine in the race fleet. In true rally fashion, the next boat is Terry Baker’s Miss Saigon, which has turned off the race track and around Steep Point. Marco Polo and Farruca both left Geraldton this afternoon after calling in for repairs yesterday, but the catamaran Ice Cube remains there as the fleet heads north.
With Slipstream already near the north of Dirk Hartog Island and charging along at close to 9 knots, there is some conjecture that even the mighty Limit may not be fast enough to catch her before they arrive in Bali.
On the social front, Knot Dreaming reported catching two good sized tuna today, and Marco Polo’s crew were glowing in their report of the hospitality they had experience at the Geraldton Yacht Club.