Fremantle to Bali Race & Rally update

There’s been highs and lows, action and drama for the 2017 Fremantle to Bali Race and Rally, with all boats remaining in the competition now across the line. Reports from Competitors and officials on the Freo to Bali Group Facebook page have kept us well-informed along the way – see below for a few of the highlights.

It was fairly obvious even a couple of days into racing that Walk on the Wild Side would take out Line Honours, crossing the finish line just before 1.00am on the 13th May. She steadily maintained a speed of about 2 knots below windspeed for the majority of the voyage. Congratulations to Garth Curran and his crew!

We were saddened to hear about the retirement of a couple of boats from the Race and Rally, however all crew are safe and sound, with some even flying to Bali to join fellow competitors for some well-deserved relaxation and social antics (which we are told are well underway!).

It’s now a waiting game for those who’ve made the 1440 mile journey, to find out how they’ve officially placed in in IRC and YAH.

Well done and congratulations to all competitors! And congratulations to everyone on the Bali Organising Committee who’ve worked tirelessly to ensure a safe and successful event. Stay tuned for further updates after this Saturday’s presentation when all final results will be revealed.

Some of the most recent posts from Bernie Kaaks, Principal Race Officer (head to the Fremantle to Bali Facebook Group page for the full story):

18 May, 3.00am

And finally, at 2:15am today, Freja passed the finish mark and all yachts are safely ashore. Of the fourteen starters, The Edge and Thelma remain in Australian waters, victims not of crew error but of mechanical failure, while the remaining twelve have made it to Benoa Harbour. The Bali Marina is now crammed to capacity. Fortunately two big boats left early this week, making space for our fleet in the nick of time. Our thanks go to Rob Thomas, Tim Jones, Scott Olney and Mike Giles, who were with me for all the finishes, helped with mooring newcomers and smoothed the way with officialdom. We can now start to seriously consider some of the social activities, which Team mother Cherry Callcott has been pushing. Final arrangements for Saturday evening’s presentation evening are in place and it should be a fabulous evening, with good support from the Indonesian Department of Tourism.

17 May, 10.14am

The latest from Freja is an ETA of around midnight. Her position at 1000 placed her 75 nautical miles out and making a healthy 5.9 knots. The bad news for Freja is that winds are forecast to drop off this afternoon and by midnight she will be facing an ugly adverse current. Hopefully diesel power will help push the little boat past those obstacles and get her to port by midnight.
The general vibe among competitors in Bali is sensational. Lots of smiling and good cheer, and why not? Conditions for this race have been straight from the tourist brochures, with steady breezes coming from the right direction and warm temperatures making for beautiful sailing. Many crews have told us that they did not even get the decks wet. Quite extraordinary, really. Of course seasoned skippers are telling rookie crew members that it’s always like this – which should ensure that they sign up again for the next one!

16 May, 10.18pm

Looking resplendent in their red shirts, Scarlet Ribbon’s crew surged over the finish line at around 5:15 this afternoon, and quickly settled in to their berth at the marina to clear Customs. A long delay then, while the finish team waited for Toroa IV and Sadiqi Ra, which originally were due to arrive about an hour apart – time to give the team enough time to get the first boat in to the marina and return for the second. It did not work out that way however, as they crossed the line 18 seconds apart. How remarkable is that after 1440 nautical miles?
After crossing the line both yachts headed straight for a nearby reef before turning away,. With that little problem sorted, we then had a little grounding on the north side of the channel, which tends to happen when you don’t swim between the flags. Finally all was sorted and with the help of a huge group of bystanders at the marina, both Sadiqi Ra and Toroa IV were safely tied up side by side to await Customs clearance early tomorrow.

16 May 1.49am

Six of our yachts arrived at Benoa today, the first at around 3am and the last at a few minutes before midnight, making it a long day for the race control team.
Twitch was the last boat to arrive, battling against an adverse current in the final stages but still making it across the line before the clock struck midnight. As with most of the crews (and there are some notable exceptions that we probably won’t be listing in this forum) Twitch’s crew was in remarkably good shape and like most of the others, loved their experience. The weather was superb throughout.
Tomorrow afternoon we will welcome Scarlet Ribbon, Sadiqi Ra and Toroa IV, which we understand has sailed without using her motor to date.
Watch this space tomorrow. Right now your scribe is going to sleep.

15 May, 2.21pm

A very busy day at Benoa Marina today with four yachts arriving within a couple of hours of one another. First of the bunch was Bill Henson’s Circa, making a grand entrance with her red and white spinnaker working nicely as she surged through the finish line. Napea followed soon after, two sail reaching with a bit of help from the iron headsail, giving the finish team the loudest cheer we’ve heard so far (thanks Nikki). Max Palleschi’s Prime Factor followed an hour or so later, 15 minutes ahead of Phil Hearse’s colourful Kondili. A couple of big boats that gobbled up large slabs of space at the marina moved out, leaving room for the newcomers in the nick of time. Customs and immigration have been great today, working hard to minimise delays. All crews are saying how beautiful the weather was for the duration of the voyage – smiles all round!

13 May, 3.03am

Walk on the Wild Side crossed the Bali finish line just before 1am today. Their timing cold hardly have been better – the boat arrived with virtually no current to deal with and in a breeze that seemed to be fading. She steadily maintained a speed about 2 knots below windspeed for the majority of the voyage. Garth’s “It’s got to be green” party is at the Bamboo Bar on Saturday evening.

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