At 1440 nm the Fremantle to Bali Race in May 2015 was a major offshore event….
We undertook extensive preparation on the Carkeek 47 ‘Indian’ to prepare for the race. A water maker was fitted along with extra pipe cots and substantial effort was put into waterproofing the boat. We raced with 9 crew and took 2 jibs in an effort to keep the weight down.
After two days of postponement due to two nasty low pressure systems which produced gale force north westerlies we finally got away. The down side to this is for the SE Trade winds to properly establish between Australia and Indonesia a High needs to be sitting on the Great Australian Bight. With these two big lows just through there was no chance of this, the link up to the trades just wasn’t there.
Racing north out of Fremantle was quite fast in the remnants of the gales and with a foot on the gas we zoomed towards NW Cape quickly. We chose a 60 mile step out to the The West to avoid the infamous Leeuwin Current and to avoid what appeared to be a trough forming close to the coast around Exmouth. The move worked and our initial loss saw us pop out on the rhumb line still moving while most of the fleet slowed down. We didn’t entirely escape the bubble of no air but our down time was minimal until the trades started to get organised…from the NE! Now facing upwind sailing for a few days our race record pace and chances evaporated.
Planning the last 100 miles into Bali was almost dejavu from two years ago when we were in a similar position on General Lee – we would be approaching Benoa harbour at night when the breeze shuts down. The tide would be at full flush and screaming out between Benoa and Nusa Lembongan…time to join every warp we had and get the anchor on standby! As expected the approach was tricky and the wind shut down. We spent hours in the same spot fighting current and changing sails until we finally wiggled up into the lee of Lembongan and into shallower water. As the depth decreased our SOG increased, when finally at 0330 we made the leap across to the reef line at Sanur into the back eddy and which accelerated us to the Benoa Habour finish line at 0400. Race video here.
Line honours, IRC win, cold Bintangs in the pool, warm sun and palm trees – what a great race! – Paul Eldrid.