Light Winds at Start of Fremantle to Bali Ocean Classic 2017

by Captain Su -

Light Winds at Start of Fremantle to Bali Ocean Classic 2017

“Everyone, once in their lives, should  experience the start of a Fremantle to Bali yacht race” Kitty Cutloose – Local pirate.

Funny things happen when people head out to sea in boats. Some get excited, some get scared, some drink alcohol twice as fast as normal and others have a complete identity shift.  This fact was even more obvious at the start of the biennial Fremantle to Bali Race and Rally. On the launch Rock-Away observing the Race and Rally start I met a person who was convinced she was a pirate. Her name was Kitty Cutloose and she knew more about sailing than I did. She looked pretty normal but with all the fanfare of the race start she morphed into a pirate. According to Kitty, sv Walk on the Wild Side, skippered by Captain Garth, was going to win. “Given reasonable sailing conditions, Walk on the Wild Side will get line honours, no doubt.” she said. There was a fair amount of bias in her statement as her brother Max was one of the crew of the mighty yacht.   Kitty said that her brother was, “the best brother in the world and could cope with anything on the high seas.”

Walk on the Wild Side

 Walk on the Wild Side is named after the timeless Lou Reed song about, amongst other things, cross dressing, The first verse reads, “ Holly came from Miami F.L.A., Hitch-hiked her way across the U.S.A., Plucked her eyebrows on the way, Shaved her legs and then he was a she, She said, hey babe, take a walk on the wild side.” Because of this I thought I had better go and check out Captain Garth and got a great photo of him being wished the best by Fremantle Sailing Club official Kaye Risely.  Captain Garth didn’t look like a “Holly” but like I said people change when they go out on boats.

Walk on the Wild Side is an Inglis 58 built in Queensland in 1988 by the veteran yacht designer Jim Inglis and has had many modifications over the years to keep her competitive. The LOA is 17.6 meters and has a lifting keel with a draft of 3.88 meters. She has been a big part of WA Off Shore racing since 1998 and has won line honours in most WA Offshore Races. This is not her first Fremantle to Bali Race and she is lean and mean and is one of the fastest yachts in WA.

The Start – Saturday May 6  

It was a great day to be out on Rock-Away and Skipper Adam handled the boat like an expert weaving in and out of the many spectator boats to get some great photos of the yachts at the start of the race. Kitty Cutloose, in between a few, me hearties and other pirate talk  gave me a very detailed commentary on each of the competing yachts.  There was a light nor-easterly blowing under 10 knots so some of the heavier rally boats found it a bit hard going. The racing yachts went first and the light winds reduced the risk of collisions and generally put less pressure on boats and crew. Although one yacht, which to avoid public humiliation will remain nameless, managed to rap its jib around the forestay which slowed it down somewhat.  Pretty soon the mighty the Walk on the Wild  Side hit lead and flew away with the crew getting a respectable speed out of the light winds.

Indonesian Consulate General

I managed to get a brief interview with Pak Ade Padmo Sarwono Consul General of the Republic of Indonesia and asked why Indonesian Government is sponsoring the Fremantle to Bali Yacht Race.  He said that there are many yachts in Australia because Australians love sailing and the aim of the government is to  encourage as many yachts as possible to visit Indonesia.  Yachties tend to go to other parts of Indonesia rather than the tourist hot spots of Bali, Jogjakarta etc. These visits  can be of great economic benefit to the local people living in the more remote areas of the archipelago which happen to be some of the most pristine and beautiful sailing destinations in  the world. e.g. the islands of Raja Ampat near Papua.

Compared to previous years this year’s race and rally start was a fairly subdued affair. In fact I have seen a busier Club with more frenetic goings on at a normal offshore race day. No piped band or musicians from Indonesia.  No food was put on although you could buy a bacon and egg roll for $5 from the bar. Not for the visiting Indonesians though, they don’t eat pork.

I thought something was wrong when I first got to the Fremantle Sailing Club as the car park was half empty and for a moment the idea that I must have the wrong day came to mind. There was not much indication that the event was to start that day only a cheap looking banner advertising the event. I nearly missed it as it was so small. There weren’t any people from the local council or state government there to wave the yachts off.  The whole affair as they say in Indonesia was very “perlit.” Maybe that was the intention of the Fremantle Sailing Club to keep it low key and in that regard they were very successful.

For previous articles written about this event scroll back through web page.  Every race and rally start has an article about it.


Happy Sailing!


More Info:

Fremantle to Bali Web page –

Written by: Captain Su