Freo to Bali.
Just crossed lattitude 2145 about level with North West Cape, and headed for Bali.
So far we have had everything, light, moderate, and gale force and tonight is no exception, 32kns from the SSE, we have a third of the jib unfurled and we are sitting on 8 kns but hitting 10 down waves.
Race day started with brekkie in the FSC then a race briefing that was actually a weather briefing that put the wind up a lot of people, especially when the guru comes out with, this frontal system will possibly be the biggest for the winter season, talk about put a lump in your guts, alright if you are into getting flogged. So by the time we reached the boat we were stopping a few days in either Geraldton, Port Gregory, Steep Point or even maybe Carnarvon. Let’s get this show on the road and the sooner the better. We all did a sail past up the harbour, amazing how many people were there to wave to, one woman went oh Boomerang, I get it you will be coming back. Funny that.
The start to the race was classic with Boomerang top of the line in clean air, we were soon amongst it with 20 other boats going hard for the first mark then another short beat and off downwind, the only problem was not enough wind for us fully loaded up with fuel, beer, food and gear for the 10 plus days to Bali so on with the yanmahs, reckon we weren’t the only ones, either that or there are some pretty quick yachts around these days.
We followed the bigger boats around the course but the race instructions only showed the southern marks, coming from down south we had no idea but with a bit of help from the skipper of Equinox, which flew past us in about 10kns of wind putting out a bow wave, we located the fairway mark and headed north.
We headed up to Geraldton first and scored some great wind that really pushed us a long, top speed 11.1kns, for 4 hours. Then it lightened off again, we collected 2 cray pots, they were everywhere, and the second one was a worry as the float and rope was around the prop. It was around midnight so we dropped the sails and motored on the other motor at 4 kns until the sun came up so we could see what had to be done. Before jumping in we ran the sail drive in reverse and off it came, spewing as we tried that in the dark to no avail and had just spent close to 7 hours plodding along, but better safe than sorry. A couple of boats passed us but it felt good to be on the move again.
Dennis was catching tuna like they were going out of fashion, 7 in the end, we had one on the barbie in sesame seeds, filthy.
The trip up the coast was a bit slow and we motorsailed part of it, the skipper endorsing the 6 knot rule, but we got to Steep Point at midnight and entered using a route that I had stored on the plotter, have been through there when it is so dark you can see nothing, there were fishing boats in there so plenty of light to anchor up and get on it.
Woke up and spoke with Yandanooka, they had there plan Sussed out heading to some bay they knew, we ducked around the corner and anchored up in a little bay on Dirk Hartog Island. Waiting for the storm was cool, we started cleaning the boat up, Muz had the shed sorted, our Hf radio was dodgy so we went to work on the arial, this was a mission and one that just kept on keeping on. First we found the clamp that is soldered to the arial wasn’t so we pulled the arial down to resolder it on to the wire that is wound around the tube. Got the soldering iron out and it didn’t work so pulled that apart and got it to operate, put it back together and it wouldn’t get hot enough so pulled it apart again and did the solder job with it in pieces holding the hot bit with multi grips. Got bloody hot and finally the solder ran. We then checked the lug that is connected to the arial, it was also rooted so replaced that, noticed the cable was a bit pitted so shortened it, put it all back together and tested it, still no go in fact worse than it ever was, then Dennis found the arial unplugged for the storm so we all went ripper but still no go, I then checked it and found that the wrong arial cable in the hole changed it over and it worked. Lucky we had all day.
We now have a HF radio that works a treat. Better than race control as theirs hasn’t worked from day one. Thank god for Yandanooka as theirs works really good and they some how relay all the yachts info back to race control. It’s all a bit different being in a race/rally compared to just a rally as you can’t talk about the weather, what the conditions are like ahead of you or behind for that matter which just makes it that little bit easier. But hey Dennis has got the radio talking thing down pat, his three radio scheds are at 0530, 1730 and 2330 each day. He says Boomerang 093111511, which is short for 09 degrees 31 minutes South 115 degrees 11 minutes East, then they say it back and he says affirmative, Bruno from Equinox says confirmitive. Dennis is getting a bit wanky now and says niner instead of nine just like the guy on Yandanooka.
We had 48 knots trying to blow us across Shark Bay but the anchor held and we weathered the storm easily, only one boat dragged anchor but they got it sorted pretty quick, got drowned as well, that will learn them.
Next morning we awoke to howling wind and boats actually leaving, bugger that, it was still blowing it’s guts out so we kept on cleaning and by lunch time thought it looked a bit better and off we went, dumbo’s. We motored up the channel between DHI and the mainland then put the jib up to get us to Denham, we were flying doing between 8 and 12 knots through the channels and then out into the Bay, a change of tack was required as the swells running toward Denham were pretty bloody big plus 40 knot gusts so we headed for the salt works and found a patch of sand to anchor up in. We had to shift a dugong along, it was chewing away at the weed when we pulled up. It was a relief to be anchored up and safe, it crossed my mind how safe we were before we left DHI. We caught some big blowies for bait and Dennis had 3 rods going, not a great deal of luck though. Great sleep.
Went to Denham next day, fueled up, repaired the anchor winch that crapped out, Muz added to the tide level with diesel, got fleeced at the servo, got a bit of food, best thing was the 6 pack of black and gold pies, they are really good and seeing the northern clan, Cheryl and Terry. Checked out there new offices and had a big breakfast then got back underway.
We had good wind, a bit light, all the way to North West Cape then as we were about to leave Australia we got a flogging. The current plus a now 20 knot SE wind were a bit daunting but we dropped our sails and motored on for what seemed like ages then stuck up a third of our jib and let everything settle down. The winds over the next 3 days were constant 30 plus knots with a 4 meter swell pushing us to Bali. We clocked up our first 200 nautical mile day for the passage and sat back and let the boat and the autopilot drive us on and on. We have a highest speed on the log of 16.6 kns although no one saw it happen. We closed up shop and sat back inside and knocked off some of our supplies. Just closing the doors so you couldn’t hear the noise going on outside made a huge difference to your well being and Jen started to relax a bit, although as she put it she was still scared shitless.
Speaking of shit our electric dunny shit itself, we only just got rid of the 2 others that we never used in Freo so off the back it is. Now would be a good time to be anything shitless.
The wind swung North of all things so we started up the Yanmahs and went fishing for nearly 24 hours, with a big marlin hook up and heaps of other bites. Only one squid with a fish shoved up its arse lure left. We have been lucky with the wind although to abide by the 6 knot rule we have done lots of motorsailing, blown the 15% of distance as per race rules out the water, we didn’t fill in all the estimates pages anyway, Dennis found them a couple of days ago. We only had an estimate of when we reach Bali left, but the 6 knot rule is a good one and will remain in place on Boomerang.
We have been in the middle of a storm for the last 4 hours with heavy rain and thunder and lightening all around, Dennis has just finished his 0530 sched, stuffed it up, speaking on a radio can do that to you.
We have let race control, through John Sanders on Perrie Banou 2, know that we are heading for the finish under motors and should be there in less than 6 hours. Poor old John has been sitting pretty much in the same spot for 24 hours, they need to look at introducing the 6 knot rule.
We arrived at 1300 on the 16th May to be welcomed in by bagpipes and an unbelievable crowd, made you feel like balling your eyes out, customs and immigration next and then on it big time. The Benoa Marina is pretty messy with crap lying around all over the show, in the water and on the floating jetty. One bloke broke his leg and another fell in, I would go the broken leg, the Equinox crew were going off and so did the party on their boat which led to a bit of push and shove, bloody monohull sailors. Dennis was in fine form, he presented a AYC burgee to the marina, couldn’t get the words out though, pretty funny, didn’t bother him one bit.
Next day was my birthday and it was announced at the sundowner, so all of a sudden had a mob singing happy birthday, Muz and Mellissa bought some little cake things and I had to hand them around so got to meet everyone, good idea.
Have pretty much been fixing stuff, getting the boat polished for $30/day, changing the oils etc, etc. Have installed the new dunny, extracted a sea snake out of our genset intake, I picked it up accidentally after I chopped him in half with the seacock. A lot of boats left today for the extended rally east but I think we will stick to the plan and head west around Java then West to the Mentawi Islands.
Having a ball with the Indo’s so alls good. Fill you in on what is going on next port with coverage.
Captain Rod and Madam.