2017 Fremantle to Bali and Banyuwangi Ocean Classic

Photo: Endorfin. Photo by Bernie Kaaks

Interest in the 2017 Bali adventure, even at this early stage, is encouraging. At first, the 2017 race and rally retains its traditional route to Benoa but from there it offers greater attractions than ever with the inclusion of an extension to the Javanese port of Banyuwangi and an organised “Spice Islands Rally”, a one-week circumnavigation of the island of Bali.

Rolly Tasker’s inaugural race record stood for around 30 years, but once Alan Brierty’s Limit eclipsed that mark, it suddenly appeared more achievable. The late Tony Mitchell’s chartered maxi Supersled lowered the mark to just under six days, but in fairly benign weather, so today’s top offshore racers are well aware that they have the boats to lower the record providing the weather plays its part.

Exotic Rally Beckons

After customs clearance in Benoa the Java Sunrise Rally is a fun sail from Benoa to a brand new marina facility at Banyuwangi, a one day voyage over a distance of approximately sixty miles.

A busy four-day festival program awaits visitors to Banyuwangi. On shore will be a range of Indonesian entertainment, foods and exotic local products to tempt visitors and meanwhile on the water, high powered inflatable boat races, kite board racing and some competitive sailing are just some of the events to get the adrenaline pumping.

Much of the attraction of the event however, lies in the rally. Non racing yachts have proven to be the backbone of previous Bali events and are expected to outnumber their racing cousins again in 2017. Rules are less onerous and when the wind dies out, rally yachts can use their engines for propulsion. It has become a perfect long distance sailing experience for hundreds of sailors since the inaugural event in 1981.

The attraction of such a voyage in company with others and with professional safety procedures in place is hard to resist when so many yacht owners in Perth and Australia have yachts that are easily capable of going to sea, but are reluctant to take that step alone.

With the inclusion of the new leg to Java’s Sunrise Coast at Banyuwangi and the opportunity to spend time away from the Bali tourism hot spots, there are more reasons than ever for yacht owners to head north next winter and given the level of interest within the yachting community already, a strong fleet is assured.

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