Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sleigh Ride To Bali For Super Sled

The Wonderful Indonesia Fremantle to Bali Race & Rally is dominated by the super maxi Super Sled which has already established a huge lead over the rest of the Bali bound yachting fleet and is now well past Carnarvon, sailing very wide angles in an effort to maintain boat speed in light winds and sloppy seas.

Behind her and  approaching Steep Point, are Garth Curran’s Inglis 59 Walk on the Wild Side, just two miles ahead of Paul Eldrid and Scott Disley’s little 36 footer, General Lee.  Eldrid reported yesterday “It has been hard work running in light air with a messy sea.” Their work paid off however, as they led both IRC and PHS handicap divisions yesterday.  They still lead the PHS division, but the IRC lead has been taken over by Super Sled at this early stage.

The next two days may prove pivotal.  Weather forecaster Bruce Buckley has alerted the fleet to an incoming tropical low from the north west, which is expected to combine with a cold front from the south west to produce strong winds and challenging seas for the smaller yachts.

Super Sled may already be to the north of where the systems will combine tomorrow, while Walk on the Wild Side and General Lee are trying desperately to keep their boats ahead of the weather system.  Super Sled is entering the transitional weather patterns around the Tropic of Capricorn, slowing appreciably as winds drop.  If the smaller boats in the chasing pack get through this area with the help of the front, they can make significant handicap gains on the big boat.

Next back in the racing fleet is the ever consistent Steel de Breeze, sailed by Brian de Vries.  This 40 footer was a Siska Trophy winner in 2007/08 and although she is one of the many to anticipate some rough weather, she has shown in the past that she is more than capable.

The rally fleet, led by Equinox, the Seawind catamaran Yandanooka-T and the brand new Beneteau Sense 50, Dorade, are making smart use of their engines in their effort to be north of the anticipated rough weather when it arrives tomorrow.

Three yachts have made stops in Geraldton – Heritage, Knot Dreaming and Mooney.  All are reported to have minor electrical problems and will be keen to continue their voyage with minimal delay.  They will be joined later today by Odyssey of Fremantle and Tiga, whose intentions are not clear at the moment.

Bernie Kaaks

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