by Bernie Kaaks
Barely had the armchair admirals written off any chance Super Sled had of breaking the record for the Wonderful Indonesia Fremantle to Bali Race and Rally.
Super Sled Under Sail
She enjoyed perfect conditions overnight and at 6am today made her mandatory call to Bali Race Control to advise that she expected to reach the finish line in six hours. If she makes that, she will shave more than five hours off the record set by Alan Brierty’s Limit in 2011.
With just 34 nautical miles to go at 8:30am, it almost seems like a foregone conclusion, but – and it is a big but – the advice from Bali Race Control is that there is almost no wind at the island and rain is bucketing down. It will be the first time that Super Sled’s deck has been wet since leaving Fremantle. She was so far ahead of the fleet when the storm front came through on Tuesday and Wednesday that she did not experience any strong winds. So the super maxi with the canting keel still has to negotiate the infamous tidal currents of the Lombok Strait and the possibility of super light conditions near the island. The combination has broken many sailors’ hearts in past races!
Brian de Vries’ gallant charge came to an end early last night when a steering cable broke. The crew proceeded by steering with the other wheel, until two hours later, that too, gave way. In sloppy seas and in the dark, repair was not an option so the yacht retired from the race and is continuing northwards using her autopilot. The broken cables will be repaired in daylight this morning. The yacht was running second on both handicap systems at the time of her retirement.
Comfortably Numb has turned around and appears to be heading back to Geraldton for unspecified reasons. The crew might be uncomfortably numb when they reach shore, as they bash southward into headwinds through the big swell left over from the recent storm.
The other rally yachts that took shelter in Geraldton during the heavy weather, as expected, are having a great run up the coast and with Odyssey of Fremantle leading the way, should be passing Steep Point today.
Osborne Star, which joined the rally from Dampier, is now the leading rally yacht, but behind her all the yachts that took shelter in Shark Bay are travelling close together and will head into open ocean today.
Current racing positions:
General Lee: second on course, first IRC, first PHS
Super Sled: first on course, second IRC, third PHS
Circa: fourth on course, third IRC, second PHS
Rolly Tasker Perie Banou: ninth on course, fourth IRC, fourth PHS
Wasabi: fifth on course, fifth IRC, sixth PHS
Not Negotiable: eighth on course, sixth IRC, fifth PHS
Teelia Bell: sixth on course, seventh IRC, seventh PHS
Sue Sea: third on course, eighth IRC, eighth PHS
Surfer Rosa: seventh on course, ninth PHS
Steele de Breeze: Retired