Race Passage from Ambon to Bitung - 7th to 9th August

Jeremy & Sally Paul
Thu 3 Sep 2009 04:45

Race Passage from Ambon to Bitung – 7th to 9th August


Distance = 375Nm.  Up early to prepare for the race.  Left berth at 9am to motor around and plan our start.  After numerous warning guns counting down the start time, we were away at 10am.  Of the 20 or so yachts entering the race, Astra was the first yacht over the start line.  We got clear of all other yachts in the race bar Obsession and Babagnaff at the start and it remained that way throughout the entire passage. 


The spinnaker went up on numerous occasions throughout the race and when sailing downwind, Astra managed to maintain 9.5 knots through the water.  The sunset during the first night was amazing to say the least which was followed by a pod of dolphins dancing through Astra’s wake. 


Saturday, 8th August saw our first ‘man overboard’ of the entire trip.  Around 9am, the spinnaker got tangled around the forestay.  Charlie, Oli and Liam went forward to untangle the sail.  Liam remained on the wrong side of the spinnaker sheet and when the wind got hold of the sail, it sent Liam flying through the air into the sea.  The situation seemed very amusing at first until Astra started pulling away from him.  We deployed the rescue buoy, dropped the spinnaker and turned around to pick him up with Charlie keeping an eye on him at all times.  After approximately 10 minutes, Liam was safely back onboard.  Scary situation for him! 


The wind eventually died early evening of the second night when crossing the equator forcing us to motor for approximately 8 hours.  Astra was the first yacht in any class over the finish line at 9am on the 9th August.  Babagnaff was the second to arrive at 11am, followed by Layaleeta at 1pm.