Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Visit Indonesia Fremantle to Bali Yacht race 2011

Limit makes contact with Bird of the Morning on way back from Bali

In an amazing feat of seamanship, Alan Brierty’s RP62 Limit made a mid-ocean rendezvous with an S&S 34, at night, some 170 nautical miles south of Bali.
Bird of the Morning, an S&S34 sailed by Colin Walters, apparently had battery problems which finally resulted in his being unable to start the engine. The inevitable outcome was a total loss of communications.
The yacht carried a Yellowbrick tracker, which indicated that it was still moving northwards at normal speed, but after the passing of several days without any word, race officer Trevor Milton arranged with Jason Beaver from Team Limit to intercept the yacht on his way back to Fremantle. Limit had earlier wrapped up Line Honours, IRC handicap and PHB handicap to add to the feat of breaking Rolly Tasker’s 30-year-old race record.
Milton placed his emergency response team on alert as a precaution and authorities were also notified, so that in the event of a genuine emergency a rescue effort could be mounted immediately.
Limit left Bali with food, water and a replacement 12 volt battery to deliver to Bird of the Morning. The crew plotted an intercept course which was updated in accordance with the latest tracker positions provided by Milton. At 2100 Limit reported seeing a light, and at 2120 the two yachts met for the transfer.
Jason Beaver confirmed the well-being of the Bird of the Morning crew and provided information on the status of the yacht. As the yachts separated he reported that their motor was running and that they had been able to communicate on both HF and VHF radio frequencies.
It was a copybook exercise by Team Limit. Regular emails between their yacht and Bali Race Control ensured that the information flow was as up to date as it could be and the rendezvous occurred within a few minutes of their predictions.
It is also a glowing recommendation for the flexibility and accuracy of the Yellowbrick trackers, for without them, there is no doubt that emergency procedures would have been activated.
Bird of the Morning is still sailing northward and is now due to arrive on Tuesday night or Wednesday.

Bernie Kaaks

 April 23rd. 2011
Crowds of well-wishers gathered at the Fremantle Sailing Club, on support vessels and on Fremantle Port’s North Mole to farewell the 15 yachts in the Visit Indonesia Fremantle to Bali Ocean Rally today.
With the Fremantle Sailing Club bagpipers and traditional Indonesian musicians performing, there was plenty of atmosphere as family and friends cheered on the 100-plus sailors for their 1440 nautical mile journey. Many are expected to join them in Bali for their arrival.
Yachts competing in the race component of the event will leave on Tuesday (26 April) and the leading competitors are expected to cross the finish line at Bali Marina, Benoa Harbour after approximately six to seven days of intense racing. The Rally fleet are expected to arrive within two weeks of today’s departure.
Visit Indonesia Fremantle to Bali race director Richard Webster said today’s start was the culmination of many months of planning and preparations.
“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,” Mr Webster said.
Indonesian government officials participated in today’s rally start and Dr Sapta Nirwandar, director general of tourism marketing for the Indonesian Ministry of Culture and Tourism said as well as promoting positive relationships between Australia and Indonesia, sponsorship of the Race and Rally would also help strengthen relationships with boating countries.
“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!” Mr Nirwandar said.
Some of the Rally fleet will sail non-stop to Bali and others will make stops along the way on the Western Australian coastline in places such as the Abrolhos Islands, Carnarvon and Broome.
Skipper of rally yacht Marco Polo 1 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,” Mr Kucera said. “On the way back from Bali we ran into the US 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 from 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 1 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,” Mr Kucera said.
All will gather at the Sanur Beach Hotel on 10 May for the presentation dinner before many take the opportunity to cruise around the islands and back along the Western Australian coast.
To follow the journey of the sailors via an online tracker and read the latest news and results, visit www.vifb2011.com.au.
- Janine Pittaway, VIFB Media

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