by Bernie Kaaks
The Wonderful Indonesia Fremantle to Bali Race and Rally 2013, organised by Fremantle Sailing Club in partnership with the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, is currently underway.
Start - 2013 Fremantle to Bali
After a solid night’s sailing in relatively light east to south easterly breezes, the canting keel super maxi Super Sled is this morning bowling along the WA coast at an average of more than 13 knots. As the big yacht sailed past the holiday resort town of Kalbarri, her nearest rival Walk on the Wild Side was 70 nautical miles farther back, and the little upstart 36 footer General Lee, just three miles behind that.
Designed by http://www.bakewell-white.com/!Bakewell-White_Yacht_Design, General Lee stunned the race fleet with a perfect start and led around the first windward mark. The little yacht was still in second place behind the super maxi at the North Mole turn mark before they turned north, where the 58 foot Walk on the Wild Side began to assert her authority.
On present form then, General Lee would be poised to win both IRC and PHS handicap divisions, though with 1200 miles still to go, it is a little early for that sort of speculation.
The Welcome Indonesia Fremantle to Bali Race and Rally attracted a healthy fleet of 33 boats, many of them lured to participate by the promise of the 'Beyond Bali' component of the rally.
Organisers at Fremantle Sailing Club were delighted by the spectator fleet which surrounded the start at noon yesterday. Hundreds of craft of all shapes and sizes turned out to watch the race and rally fleets get under way in perfect, sunny autumn weather and light winds.
Weather forecaster Bruce Buckley painted a brutal picture of what may lie ahead. A tropical low is expected to close on the coast from the north west late on Tuesday, and may combine with a cold front approaching from the south west. If the two systems mingle as expected, sailors may be in for a few days of testing conditions as the pass Steep Point.
Fremantle Sailing Club has put together a team of specialist emergency response personnel, and whilst everybody hopes that their services will not be required, they have prepared themselves well to deal with situations that might occur on the water.
Most of the rally fleet have opted to use their engine allowance early in a bid to get as far north as possible before the weather turns ugly, and most are now well north of the cray fishing town of Jurien Bay.