The World ARC fleet departed Australia today in warm sunshine off the breakwater at HMAS Coonawarra Naval Base, in the approaches to the Port of Darwin. Despite a wind-free start to the day, the winds built gently during the morning, and the boats were able to cross the line under full sail, helped along their way by a favourable tide.
The yachts made a spectacular sight as they sailed out from Darwin and west towards the Arafura Sea, on the start of a 1000 mile leg to Bali, Indonesia. The boats are expected to arrive in Benoa Harbour, Bali from Monday next week.
A handful of boats will be making a slightly delayed start from Darwin, fixing minor last minute problems onboard. Brizo and At Last are hoping to set off with the early evening tides, and Royal Leopard intend to depart tomorrow after making some final adjustments to their new electric anchor windlass. Beatoo have not had so much luck, having discovered a damaged forestay during routine maintenance inspection in Australia. Their new forestay is due to arrive on Thursday, and they hope to be able to set off to Bali on Friday or early Saturday morning.
The weather forecast for the fleet promises quite light winds and so the boats will probably have to use their engines for a good part of the way. However, after the good winds at today’s start, that fortunately may not be as soon as some skippers predicted.
Following an incredible six week visit to Australia, the World ARC crews have mixed sailing with adventure and exploration on land, really making the most of everything the country has to offer. From camping in the outback amongst the stars to climbing Ayers Rock, from kangaroos to crocodiles, and from Sydney Opera House to anchoring off remote paradise islands in the Whitsundays, this has really been well-enjoyed part of the circumnavigation.
On behalf of the fleet, thank you to the officers, sailors and staff at HMAS Coonawarra for offering World ARC the use of their base for the start, and their assistance in laying the startline bouys. Much appreciated! Thanks also to Tipperary Waters Marina and the Frances Bay Basin for providing berthing for the fleet during the World ARC visit to Darwin.