by Bernie Kaaks
On day seven of the Wonderful Indonesia Fremantle to Bali Race and Rally, the combination of no wind and adverse tide has broken more than a few hearts of sailors racing into Bali.
General Lee - Fremantle to Bali Race and Rally 2013
Seemingly well in control as darkness closed in last night, General Lee was surging towards the line at 6 and 7 knots. A finish time of around 3am looked likely, for with just 40 odd nautical miles to go, it seemed like just a formality.
How quickly things can change, though! The wind died out and as the yacht slowed down on its final approach from the eastern side of the course, started to feel the early effects of the south bound current in the Lombok Strait. When the yacht stopped, just two miles from the finish line, the current took over and carried her directly south. To prevent further erosion of her finish time, the crew anchored the yacht, which now has about four miles to go to complete the journey.
General Lee is still holding first place on both YAH and IRC handicaps, but with the clock ticking, Paul, Scott and the crew will be anxiously scanning the horizon looking for breeze and they will know that the yachts to the south of them are closing in at good speed.
Sue Sea and Steel de Breeze are next on the course, still more than 100 miles from the finish, Circa, Teelia Bell and Wasabi are still clustered together about 250 miles out, while Rolly Tasker Perie Banou and Not Negotiable bring up the rear of the racing fleet with around 400 miles to travel.
Osborne Star, which joined the rally fleet from Dampier, is enjoying a great ride and should finish a long way ahead of Don Brooker’s 50 footer Dorade, which still has more than 300 miles to travel after her stopover in Shark Bay. The rest of the rally fleet is scattered across the ocean behind Dorade all the way to North West Cape, except for Andrew Dawson’s Knot Dreaming, which stopped at Carnarvon 'for a decent night’s sleep' before proceeding to sea again this morning, and Comfortably Numb, which is approaching Steep Point.
Weather reports are suggesting that the two tailenders are experiencing fresh winds and turbulent seas, but with the wind coming from the south east, should be able to make good passage times.