The World ARC fleet have been continuing to make their own way around the east and north coasts of Australia during this free cruising period of the rally. The crews have over four weeks to make the distance around to Darwin and at the halfway point, most of the fleet have reached the port of Cairns, in the middle of Australia's Coral Coast.
During the last two weeks, since leaving Mackay, the majority of the crews have taken time to explore the beautiful Whitsunday Islands. This popular Australian sailing destination is a fantastic sailing ground and as the local pilot book says, is ‘100 Magic Miles’ of idyllic coastline, with several pleasant marinas at Hamilton Island and Airlie Beach. The weather has not been great however, and a few nights at anchor have been disturbed by high winds and the sailing has been ‘bumpy’. The winds have also affected the visibility underwater when diving and snorkelling the extensive reefs.
For various scheduling reasons, several yachts have already arrived in Darwin, the next port of call, but most of the crews are currently gathered in Marlin Marina in the Queensland town of Cairns. Here there are great sightseeing trips, both ashore and on the water, but with two-thrids of the distance around to Darwin still to go, crews are expected to leave by the end of the week and make longer sails around Australia’s ‘Top End’.
The crews are expected to arrive in Darwin around 25 August. World Cruising website