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We Are Sailing, We are Sailing

Australian Yachts Bali Bound in 30th Anniversary Running of the Fremantle to Bali Yacht Race and Rally.

(4/25/2011) As reported by Balidiscovery.com, 15 yachts departed the Fremantle Sailing Club on Saturday, April 23, 2011, on the Fremantle to Bali Ocean Rally trip that precedes by three days the formal open ocean yacht race.

The rally send off was replete with bagpipers and traditional Indonesian musicians who cheered on the 100-plus sailors departing on their epic 1,440 nautical mile journey.

Click Images to Enlarge


Yachts competing on the race component leave on Tuesday, April 26, 2011, with the leading competitors expected across the finish line at the Bali marina, Benoa Harbor six to seven days later. Meanwhile, the rally participants, sailing at a more leisurely pace, are expected in Bali 14 days after their April 23rd departure.

Bali race director, Richard Webster, told the press, "although 2011 is actually the 30th anniversary of the first Fremantle to Bali race, we have had a break of 14 years, so it is really exciting to witness the start of another era of ocean racing at the club today."

"The skippers and crews have attended several briefings, had safety and medical checks, completed customs and immigration documentation, spent time planning their food supplies and it is great to now see them on their way."

"Thanks to the Indonesian Government's support, we have the event back for at least five years and we expect it to grow each year as word gets out from this year's entrants about 'our' Sydney to Hobart of the West," Webster said.

Sapta Nirwandar from the Indonesian Ministry of Culture and Tourism who was on hand for the ocean rally's departure said the event helps to promote positive relationships between Australia and Indonesia, while sponsorship of the race and rally will also strengthen relationships with boating countries. Adding, "through supporting races such as the Visit Indonesia Fremantle to Bali, it helps our efforts to attract more yachts and sailors to Indonesia.

"The Republic of Indonesia comprises more than 17,000 islands – not many countries can offer this to sailing enthusiasts," Nirwandar bragged.

Some of the rally fleet will sail non-stop to Bali while others will make stops along the way in Western Australia with calls on the Abrothos islands, Carnarvon and Broome.

Skipper of the rally yacht Marco Polo I and past Western Australian Police Commissioner and Sports Minister Bob Kucera said they were in the event for the adventure rather than to compete.

"I did the race back in 1981 and we had some great experiences," Kucera said. "On the way back from Bali we ran into the U.S. battle fleet in the early hours of the morning off Exmouth. It took us about two hours in the dark to work out what the lights were, and it turned out to be planes taking off form the Aircraft Carrier Carl Vinson. We were politely shepherded away by a couple of destroyers."

"When in government I got very little time to sail, I bought 'Marco Polo I' for the express purpose of making up for all the lost cruises I dreamed of when sitting listening to many hours of speeches in Parliament," Kucera said.

All the visiting sailors and the crew will convene at the Aerowisata Sanur Beach Hotel on May 10th for a special presentation dinner before bidding Bali farewell for a cruise back through the Indonesian islands on the way home to Fremantle.

[News and On-Line Results from the Fremantle to Bali Rally and Race]