No Fremantle-Bali record, but Indian set to take line honours

Despite a very quick race by Craig Carter and the crew on Indian and with their yacht now about   5 hours and a cooee from the finish line it is evident that Super Sled’s 2013 race record of 5 days 23 hours 30 minutes 24 seconds  for the Wonderful Indonesia Fremantle to Bali is safe for another two years.  And given the speed in which Indian has sailed the course and still fallen just short of the record it seems it may be safe for several years to come.

However with Indian just 67nm from the finish,  the Rolly Tasker Trophy for Fastest Time which commemorates the inaugural record set by Rolly Tasker and Siska in 1981 and had previously stood for 30 years,  looks likely to be bettered by Indian by some hours. 

Still to come for Indian though is the Bali approach and as Paul Eldrid co-helmsman on Indian can attest from his 2013 attempts to cross the finish line to become the eventual handicap winner on his yacht General Lee nothing can be taken for granted in the light winds and strong currents of the Lombok Straits.

Walk on the Wild Side has sailed a text book race to this stage and by keeping Indian just 90nm ahead of her has kept a grip on the YAH first place result with a tremendous performance for the veteran Wild Side skipper Garth Curran and her crew.

Hanging on to 3rd place Audeamus has put some distance between her and Sue Sea.  These two yachts have ticked off the latitude markers in unison up to now but when Audeamus skipper, Lisa Chamberlain chose to go east around the doldrums area in their path and Sue Sea chose the westerly route the scene was set for today where Audeamus is now 65nm closer to the finish line that Brian Todd’s Sue Sea.

Both boats will be eying the treacherous wind and currents crossing of the Lombok Straits and with the wealth of experience on board both of the yachts they know their race is far from over.

Overnight Race Control received confirmation from the final group of boats of their compliance with the mandatory safety requirements specified by the Sailing Instructions as they cross 21.45 South latitude. The diminished Fremantle to Bali fleet of 17 boats are now all safely on their way to the Benoa finish line with rally boats Toroa IV and Katmai bringing up the rear of the fleet.

Weather patterns from the area of the main fleet overnight indicated quite heavy rain squalls sweeping across the fleet and while none of the yachts reported any problems it might have made for some uncomfortable sailing conditions, though no doubt offset by the welcome increase in wind pressure.

The outlook for the next 24 – 48 hours is for continuing rain in the area of the main fleet becoming quite heavy over the next two days.  This, coupled with a large area of low wind pressure immediately to the North of the fleet, will make for some testing times for the Race fleet while the Rally fleet may well be using up some engine allowance to get through the doldrums and into the Trades that are immediately North and East of the rhumb line.

So with the lead boats within a cooee of the finish and the main fleet enjoying a good wash down the Fremantle to Bali is again showing itself as a race that tests all aspects of seamanship and boat preparedness when facing all the conditions that ocean racing can throw at you.  In this event though there is the welcome benefit of arriving in beautiful warm and sun drenched Bali.

To track the fleet on their progress to Bali follow the race via the Yellow Brick Trackers here:

The Wonderful Indonesia Fremantle to Bali is a 1440 nautical mile ocean race which starts in the historic Port of Fremantle and finishes in exotic Bali.  Presented by Fremantle Sailing Club with its naming sponsor the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia the spectacular biennial event is one of Australia’s most exciting blue water yacht races. 

– Les Valmadre

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