Fremantle to Bali Ocean Classic 2017

by Captain Su -

“Bali and its friendly people are a major part of the events appeal and the social events following the arrival of boats including a superb presentation dinner staged outdoors by the Indonesian government to showcase their country’s culture and cuisine all serve to make the Fremantle to Bali memorable for participating sailors and the families who fly up to greet and celebrate the achievement of all boats.” Bob Kucera – Skipper of sv Marco Polo.

The biennial Fremantle to Bali yacht race is on again and excitement is building at the Fremantle Sailing Club in Fremantle, Western Australia with 23 yachts registered so far to compete in the Race or Rally divisions. The slogan for the event is “The Race and Rally are Go’. Somebody is obviously a fan of my favourite TV show The Thunderbirds as their battle call is, “the Thunderbirds are Go!”

The race starts at Femantle Sailing Club on 6 May 2017 and finishes at Benoa Harbour Bali.  There was some talk of including Banyuwangi in East Java in this year’s event but that seems to have been dropped. There were rumours that the finish line was to be moved to the new marina at Banyuwangi after a visit in 2015 to the marina by some high profile FSC officials.

The race was resurrected in 2011 with a 5 event sponsorship mega deal between Indonesian Government, principally, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Fremantle Sailing Club. It was to be a yearly event but after the first race in 2011 the noble but exhausted volunteers decided to hold it every two years to give everyone a bit of a breather.

The Ocean Race

The race is not easy and takes its toll and crew and gear. At 1440Nm it is the longest international yacht race in the region. In the words of Skipper Ludde Ingvall owner of sv Nicorette/Supersled winner and record holder in 2013,“This race has it all. With 1400 miles of sailing and variations of weather normally being a serious enough challenge for the yacht racer but in addition, for this event, there are really three races in one. The start in Fremantle and the coastal race to Nor West Cape, then the 700nm open ocean race to Bali and finally the very challenging light winds and strong tides that test even the best sailors as the boats approach the finish off Benoa. When you finish this race you can really claim the accolades due an ocean racing crew.”

The Rally

The Rally is no less a glorious event than the Race as everyone knows that if you has two yachts sailing in the same direction the race is on. The rules of course are a little more flexible and allow for stop overs on the way up but all Rally participants will definitely want  to be in Benoa by 20 May for the Gala Trophy night.

The Spice Islands Rally

This is a bit of a misnomer as the Spice Islands are several thousand miles to the east but what is being planned is a cruising in company circumnavigation of Bali. It is due to start on the morning after the Trophy Night on 21 May which will  be interesting to see how many skippers and more importantly crew turn up. They are sailors after all and Bali can be quite intoxicating at times. The route is to sail along the bottom of Bali from Benoa through the Bali straits and anchor in front of the exquisite resort at Menjangan. Next stop is lovely Lovina which usually puts on a great welcome for visiting yachties then to the Gili Islands. Nusa Lembongan and return to Benoa harbour.

Beyond Bali Cruise

Yachts are free to travel onwards through the Indonesia Islands on the Beyond Bali cruise. The Fremantle Sailing Club have mapped out a detailed itinerary, with accurate sailing/motoring times, anchorages, and tour directory, allowing and exit in Kupang and a re-entry at either Darwin or Broome.


Happy Sailing!!

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Written by: Captain Su