Stepping Stones across the Indian Ocean

03 September 2014

While the World ARC fleet are enroute to Bali it is interesting to note that not only have the crews commenced the second half of the rally program, they will also be entering the Indian ocean for the first time. The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions and crossing this vast ocean is often considered to contain the most challenging stages of the rally Past experience tells us though that they will also be some of the most rewarding.

The overall distance the fleet will sail between the continents of Australia and Africa is close to 6000 NM but the rally program is nicely split up into “stepping stones” with an interesting diversity and participants will be visiting islands and nations many of them will never have heard of before.

Following on from Bali, the Australian territories of Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands are remote destinations visited only by few lucky yachtsmen and women. Cocos (Keeling) Islands are often described by World ARC participants as one of their favourite destinations on the whole circuit, with stunning electric blue waters and friendly locals. “The beaches and tropical vegetation were the exact image most people have in their mind as to what the perfect tropical island should look like” commented previous World ARC yacht Brizo.

The following leg from Cocos (Keeling) Islands to Mauritius is the longest in the Indian Ocean at 2350NM and is known for being one of the most challenging in terms of weather and sea state. But, the Waterfront yacht basin in Port Louis harbour, Mautitius is the perfect place to recover after a testing time at sea with a wonderful selection of shops, restaurants, cafes, hotels and even a cinema and casino. While in Mauritius crews will also enjoy the magnificent landscape and rich cultural history.

The next leg to Réunion at just 130nm is the shortest competitive leg in the World ARC. Réunion is famous for its white sandy beaches and mountainous landscapes. Following Réunion the fleet will head south of Madagascar making landfall on the African continent in South Africa at Richards Bay and the Zululard Yacht Club. While in Richards Bay many crews will travel inland to Umfolozi National Park for a safari and a chance to see the “Big 5” wild animals.

Ahead, these are exciting times for the Rally. There's many fast miles to cover, but with plenty of great places along the way. Follow the fleet on the Fleet Viewer or through their Daily Logs.