The annual Darwin to Ambon Yacht Rally has kicked off again to a great start last weekend and many of the yachts have already arrived in Ambon in Indonesia.
Darwin to Ambon Rally 2011 start
The Darwin-Ambon Yacht Race is one of three major highlights in the three-months’ Sail Indonesia voyage through the Indonesian archipelago that include the Sail Wakatobi and Sail Belitung.
Darwin to Ambon Rally
In the Darwin-Ambon Yacht Race and Rally, participants left from Darwin Harbor, to embark on a 600 nautical miles’ journey north to the Finish Line at the village of Amahusu in the Ambon Harbor.
Yachts, running before the breeze and some with a fine display of shy spinnakers, left Darwin Harbour and then followed the rhumb line through the Arafura Sea to the island of Sermata which peaks at 392 metres and lies east of Timor Leste. Next came the depths of the Banda Sea, passing close to the Island of Damar which peaks at 868 metres, and then on to Ambon. Ambon lies approximately 355oT from Darwin.
Yachts usually enjoy fresh south-easterly winds until they enter Ambon Harbor. The hills around Ambon can rein in the breezes to a zephyr - a half a knot ebbing tide that can then become a major obstacle to reaching the finishing line.
Sail Indonesia is an annual Sailing Rally now in its eleventh year that began in Darwin , and subsequently held every year in the middle of July. This departure from Darwin will be the beginning of a three month program of linked events across Indonesia which also leads to the Sail Wakatobi-Belitung.
A chance visit to Ambon in the Spice Islands by a Darwin radio technician in 1976 was the spark that led to the first Darwin to Ambon Yacht Race later that year. The 600 mile downwind race attracted six yachts in its inaugural year. For months afterwards, conversations amongst returning yachters was dominated by stories of 'champagne sailing', overwhelming hospitality, lovely friendly people, the scenic beauty, the cultural diversity, the food, and a bunch of adventure tales.
Entries steadily increased over the years as the event’s reputation spread and its tradition grew. Entrants began to come from further and further afield. International skippers began to use Ambon as a starting point to visit some of the 17,000 islands of the Indonesian Archipelago. Some sailed north to Manado and onto the Raja Muda Selangor Regatta in Malaysia. Others headed southwest through the amazing Buton Passage and then on to visit the famous Komodo Dragons en route to Makassar or Bali and beyond.
Commencing the Sail Indonesia 2011, the Darwin to Ambon Yacht Race and Rally 2011 will take sailors and yachters on a voyage visiting hundreds of islands in Indonesia’s archipelago. As an event of such significance, the Darwin to Ambon Yacht Race and Rally is truly an exceptional annual rally that yachters from Australia and cruising sailors embarked on a world circumnavigation should not miss.
The official website: http://www.darwinambonrace.com.au/