Indonesia Fremantle to Bali Race – Following the participation of Craig Carter’s Carkeek 47 yacht Indian in the 2014 Sydney-Hobart, where Indian finished 17th out of the 118 starters, boat captain Paul Eldrid said everything they had learned during the race plus a healthy respect for the weather would be drawn on when Indian races in the mega event, which starts Saturday May 16 at 10.00 am.
Paul who will again share the driving on Indian with Craig and Paul’s colleague Rees Howell in the Fremantle to Bali and took off handicap honours in the 2013 event on General Lee said if you don’t study the weather patterns for months before the race you stand a very small chance of being able to make it up as you go and use the weather patterns to your advantage as you head north.
“At 1440 nautical miles the Fremantle to Bali is a long and challenging event where the weather is king,” said Eldrid.
Bob Kucera, Event Chairman for the Wonderful Indonesia Fremantle to Bali described the event as a true blue water event where boats are out of sight of land and in the open ocean after Exmouth.
“It is not until sailors see the magnificent sight of Agung appear through the clouds that they know they have nearly arrived.”
Indian will be racing against a crack fleet including Mike Giles’s Sydney 47, Endorfin which also sailed the 2014 Sydney to Hobart and other top racers including Garth Curran’s 60 ft sloop, Walk on the Wildside, both of whom are experienced Fremantle to Bali skippers.
Eldrid said Indian had given a fairly solid performance in the Sydney to Hobart in view of the lack of preparation time available to optimise her for offshore racing and that some changes were underway to make her more efficient and comfortable in the long distance race, with the crew also increasing their skills ahead of the Fremantle to Bali.
“Sailing on big modern powerful boats can wear people out if you are not fully prepared. We will be up against some formidable opponents and we want to push as hard as we can and know that the boat and the crew are fully prepared.”
Paul said that Indian would be sailing to win, but they saw every boat as an opponent, because it would all a matter of positioning and weather.
“If we get a low come through the race will be open for winning by either the larger or smaller boats in the fleet, said the seasoned skipper.
As one of Western Australia’s top offshore sailors with a reputation for revelling in a challenge and a willingness to put in the hard yards to meet them, the weather is never far from Eldrid’s mind.
“I’ve been running the routing and sailing the Bali every day for the past few weeks,” he said.
“There can be some pretty nasty weather in a long race like this and on a full carbon race boat there are no luxuries or living amenities with the race testing what the crew is made of.”
Eldrid said these were the challenges that got him going, as they did for Craig Carter and the whole crew.
“Craig is a real team guy and loves being around a group of young guys who relish a challenge,” said Eldrid who took off handicap honours in the 2013 Fremantle to Bali, with an elapsed time of seven days 21 hours 53 minutes and 24 seconds.
Upon finishing in 2013, Paul described the challenging Fremantle to Bali as three races in one, with the weather the defining element.
Prior to purchasing the grand prix racer Indian, Craig Carter raced Hoodoo Man taking off the 2014 Siska Trophy, Western Australia’s top prize in blue water ocean racing and won the Geraldton to Fremantle, one of WA’s most challenging ocean races.
A company director which includes the Fremantle Dockers and a member of Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, Craig retired as a Macquarie Bank senior executive director in 2014.
His passion for competition is extended with his grand prix racer and a young sailing team that is working to a winning formula that includes a huge respect for the weather – which is ‘always king’.
The 2015 Wonderful Indonesia Fremantle to Bali Race and Rally will see more than twenty boats start on Fremantle Waters at 10.00 on Saturday 16 May, 2015 from Fremantle waters and will be farewelled by an on-water flotilla and crowds lining nearby beaches and North Mole. Following their departure boats can be viewed via the event website as they progress towards Bali via Yellow Brick Tracker transponders that update boat positions every 15 minutes. This makes riveting viewing in what Bob Kucera says is an event that every sailor should have on his or her ‘must do’ list.
more info ….. fremantlebali.com.au