Saturday was a beautiful autumn day in Fremantle when the 2013 Fremantle to Bali Race & Rally got underway in front of hundreds of spectator craft and watched by thousands of people lining the North Mole and the beaches from Leighton to Cottesloe. The event attracted a total fleet of 33 boats with 21 of the yachts involved in the rally and 12 involved in the racing division.
Start - 2013 Fremantle to Bali
Organisers at Fremantle Sailing Club were delighted by the spectator fleet that surrounded the start. 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.
The rally, with its Indian Ocean flavour, links the historic port of Fremantle with the Indonesian Archipelago and exotic Bali through a dazzling blue water yacht rally offering fair breezes and warm friendships.
On shore a Parade of Sail in Fremantle’s Inner Harbour offered an up close view of the thirty three yachts heading for Bali, with crowds gathering to watch.
At the farewell ceremony at Fremantle Sailing Club, the Governor of Western Australia, Hon. Malcolm McCusker presented a Letter of Friendship to be delivered to the Indonesian people by participating Indonesian yachtsman Rob Rambini before joining the Consul General Republic of Indonesia, Perth, E.D. Syarief Syamsuri and other officials and dignitaries to inspect the boats and farewell the skippers and crews.
The Rally, twice as long as the rally from Sydney to Hobart (now organised by the Cruising Yacht Club each year at a separate time to the Sydney Hobart race), promotes good navigation and seamanship and encourages skippers and crews to record their voyage with some enticing prizes.
Adventure, fun and camaraderie are expected to be a hallmark of the journey for the boats during the 1440 nautical mile voyage, with the goals and dreams of each boat owner adding to the legend and status of an event that was first run in 1981.
Of the 21 boats participating in the rally, many of the skippers are first-timers to the event who have been inspired by tales of the warm and exotic waters and the great welcome from the Indonesian people, with others being seasoned participants, like Ralph Newton who participated in 2011.
Ralph became such an enthusiast that he joined the Fremantle to Bali Race and Rally committee and designed the Beyond Bali post event cruise so others could enjoy the stunning scenery and memorable experience enjoyed by he and his wife, Lynne. The itinerary is on the event website www.fremantlebali.com Also on the website is a link to the Yellow Brick Tracker which tracks each of the boats and highlights boat details.
Stories behind some of the boats participating in this year’s rally include tales that range from inspiration and motivation while also reinforcing the ongoing fascination of blue water sailing and the friendships and satisfaction of a completed voyage safely achieved.
Sand Crabs Disco:
Amongst those who set sail for Bali in the 2013 event was one Graeme Martin on the 12.13m Jubert France designed yacht Sand Crabs Disco. Graeme had set his sights on sailing to Bali in 1995 while recovering from an horrific accident as a firefighter. This had resulted in months of excruciating pain, rehabilitation, the loss of his leg and the terrifying thought that he may never recover.
Inspired to recover, Graeme, who is now the president of Disability Sailing in Western Australia made himself a promise back then that if he got out alive he would buy a yacht and sail to Bali. This was the inspiration that helped him through those dark days.
But Graeme’s cruising dream was temporarily put on hold when he interrupted his cruising life to compete in the Olympics, becoming a Paralympian in the Sydney and Beijing Olympics, winning gold and bronze in the three-person Sonar class yacht and being recognised with an OAM.
Now, no longer a dream, Graeme with his crew of Fons Berkhout, Keiren Spence and Mike Hulbert who has an extensive cruising resume including four Atlantic Ocean crossings, have set sail in Sand Crabs Disco and are on a fabulous journey and living the dream.
And with no desire to see his dream trip finish too quickly, Graeme has also signed on for Beyond Bali a cruising-in-company programme designed by Fremantle Sailing Club and Fremantle to Bali Committee Member Ralph Newton.
This is an exotic cruise that includes beautiful places and clear waters amongst the many Indonesian islands and starts after the Fremantle to Bali Race & Rally’s end of race celebrations in Bali.
Beyond Bali offers an enticing itinerary that includes locations, stopovers, distances and a chart overlaid on Google Earth to give a taste of the cruising that will occur amongst the many islands of the Indonesian Archipelago and the Kimberley odyssey that will bring boats home via the stunning Kimberley coastline. This is a cruising adventure that simply whets the appetite of anyone who loves the idea of cruising in exotic places and is sure to produce many legendary stories from those taking part.
Odyssey of Fremantle:
For skipper Joanne Parson and her husband Viv Preston, taking her 11.8m Sparkman and Stephens 39 in the event fulfils a dream Joanne had been nursing since childhood. A geologist who says she loves a challenge, she is skippering a crew that includes husband Vivian - a person brand new to sailing - and two experienced sailors from Fremantle Yacht Club, one chosen from the event’s crew-available list, the other, like herself and her husband, a colleague from the mining industry.
Keen on adventure Joanna says she grew up a dinghy sailor in the south of England and with her father being a boat builder was always around boats - but small boats. 'I have always loved the idea of cruising around the world and I will do that when the kids have left home, but for now the Fremantle to Bali is a fantastic introduction to long distance sailing and a wonderful way to get the experience knowing you are in the club’s safe hands,' said Joanne.
'An event like this also forces you to understand boat and sea safety which has been helped by Fremantle Sailing Club’s excellent support programmes,' said Joanna before departing, adding that her training as a geologist had fostered an interest and respect for processes and a love of learning new things. And to top it off, the cruising opportunity in Indonesia is just extremely appealing,' said Joanna. 'The rally definitely adds to the allure of this terrific rally to Bali run by our club.'
Dorade is a brand new Beneteau Sense 50 purchased by Don Brooker and his brother in law, Jay Macfarlane and commissioned ‘in a mad rush to enable us to compete in the rally and to cruise home through the Indonesian Archipelago and the Kimberley Coast’.
Dorade is being sailed by a group of long-time friends and crew mates, many of whom have sailed both together and against each other since primary school days in dinghy classes and in many blue water events.
Joining the crew is Kaye Risely who has an impressive international racing background and has made long-time contribution to the Fremantle Sailing Club on club committees and played a pivotal role in getting the 2011 Fremantle to Bali Race and Rally happening again in 2011. Each of the crew members are thrilled with the new boat which can only add to their fascination for sailing, cruising and for the blue water life.
Watch the rally and race as it is progressing, via the event website which tracks all yachts through the Yellow Brick Tracker system: http://fremantlebali.com.au/