by Bernie Kaaks
Indonesia Fremantle to Bali race and rally - Weather conditions encouraged Paul and Sue Burlinson to leave the security of Dampier’s Hampton Harbour this afternoon and at this evening’s position report Osborne Star was making solid progress, heading northwards at a steady 6 to 7 knots.
Weather conditions have already played a major role in this year’s Wonderful Indonesia Fremantle to Bali Race and Rally, but forecasts are starting to suggest that there is more in store, and at both ends of the course.
At the Geraldton end, where five yachts are waiting for conditions to soften before venturing out to sea again, fresh breezes up to 25 knots are forecast, which should give the group good sailing conditions and the opportunity to make up some of the distance between them and the rest of the fleet. At the Bali end of the course, the breeze appears to be dropping off rapidly.
All eyes are on Super Sled’s progress. At 5:00pm today, Tony Mitchell’s big yacht was 476 nautical miles from the Benoa Harbour finish line in Bali, with 48 hours to go in order to equal Limit’s record, set by Alan Brierty in 2011. This means that they now have to achieve an average speed of 9.9 knots, which is well within the yacht’s capability – if they have breeze. The crew will be anxiously scanning all the weather data at their disposal to plot their course to the finish. If they can maintain their present speed of 11.2 knots, they will have some latitude. If however the breeze drops away, the yacht will slow and the record will remain with Limit – at least until next time.
Second on the course is Paul Eldrid and Scott Disley’s General Lee, still travelling at 12 to 15 knots and opening up their lead over Steel de Breeze. Steel de Breeze, which enjoys a lower handicap, is now first on both handicap systems, ahead of General Lee, though the difference between their corrected times is rapidly closing.
Sue Sea, Steel de Breeze and General Lee have all completed their mandatory declaration and are leaving the WA mainland into open ocean waters en route to Bali.
The first of the rally fleet have stirred from their resting places, and are starting to resume their voyage north as the weather improves while others remain firmly anchored and are expected to continue tomorrow.