Donald Begg
Sun 16 Sep 2018 09:09
We crossed the starting line from Darwin at 11am on the 4th September, just a whisper of breeze. A bit further out and the breeze strengthened to 15 knots, on the beam, perfect for a brisk sail out past Melville Island. Provided that we can keep it up, I thought, we’ll clear the land wind-shadow, and we’ll be into the promised SE Trades. Nothing doing. By late afternoon we were becalmed, and then we motored or motor-sailed most of the 940 miles to Lombok. This leg is usually low-wind, the ARC had warned us. We had occasional breeze from the SE, occasionally on the nose, sometimes as we chugged past Timor a land-breeze from the South, sometimes the sea was like glass. At one stage, in the middle of the night of course, the land-breeze even climbed up over 20 knots and we had to turn briefly and bumpily into wind to put in a reef. But the form invariably was that we’d set sails appropriately for the conditions, and within a couple of hours the conditions would change. We used the three white sails, we poled out the twin yankee and hankee, we spread the cruising-chute, all good exercise and satisfying during the limited period of each rig’s relevance.

We crossed the finishing line at Lombok at 9.35 pm six and a half days after the start, hit the tide favourably and went up the Lombok Strait at 11 knots over the ground, anchored overnight at Desert Point Bay, and motored up the pass to Marina Del Ray on Tuesday morning. We had used 440 litres of fuel, good in the circumstances, leaving us a comfortable quantity in reserve.