The compact Bali marina in Benoa harbour started to fill with World ARC boats today as the first few yachts completed Leg 9 of the Rally. As predicted, the passage from Darwin to Bali has so far provided only a small amount of wind, although the first boats to arrive were still reporting managing to sail half distance. Most reported winds kicking in in the late afternoon and lasting throuhgout the night for most of the 1,000nm trip across from Australia, forcing them to switch on the engine and motor for a considerable part.
For two of the World ARC boats in the fleet, motoring has not been an option however, and they have been forced to sail despite very light conditions and challenging currents. Bronwyn had engine failure when they reached about half way of the journey, whilst Spirit of Alcides broke their propeller only 300 miles from Darwin. Bronwyn are due in to Bali tomorrow, and Spirit of Alicides ar expected sometime over the weekend. Tows into harbour have already been arranged for both boats, and the World ARC shoreside team have maintenance companies on standby to enable the quickest repairs and minimise delay when the boats arrive.
The reward to this perseverance with the light wind conditions is the beautiful island of Bali. One of the spectacular aspects of the World ARC route is how crews can sail out of one country and only days later arrive in a place that is completely different in every way. Outward signs of the importance of religion in Balinese way of life are unavoidable, and on every exploration around the port and city one can see family statues of worship, flower offerings on the ground and often temple buildings. The architecture is soundly of south east Asian influence and is spectacular. The climate is warm and humid, and the people exceptionally friendly and welcoming.
The boats that arrived today spent the afternoon sorting out everything aboard, refuelling for the next leg (with a conveniently organised fuel barge that pulls up alongside each boat!), cleaning, and relaxing in the bar! The skippers also completed their arrival paperwork to formally clear in to the country, leaving the remainder of the stay in Bali free for exploring this wonderful place. Crews also introduced themselves to the newest boat on the rally, the Sweden 45 yacht Ciao owned by Srecko and Olga Pust from Slovenia. Ciao took part in the first half of World ARC 2010, before taking a couple of years out to explore New Zealand, Australia, the Phillipines and Papau New Guinea amongst other destinations. They are now rejoining World ARC to complete their global voyage back towards Europe.
Full day guided crew tours are planned for Thursday and Friday, which will take the participants on a magical journey around Bali to explore some of the many delights the island has to offer. It's an enjoyable but relaxing few days to come!