Rob and Karen Oberg spent a year and 7,200 nautical miles crewing on other people's boats in SE Asia and Europe before cruising the Mediterranean for 2 seasons with crewmate, Marc Beerts, on a Jeanneau 43 DS, Alcheringa (Alcheringa is an Australian Aboriginal word meaning 'The Dreamtime'). On returning to Australia they acquired a Whitby 42 ketch, renamed her 'Our Dreamtime' and now cruise Australia's Great Barrier Reef and soon the Western Pacific. Total sea miles to date = 16,796.
Alan and Noi on Rogue flying their parasail leaving Darwin
Nae Hassle escaped through the lock at Tipperary Waters at 9.15am on Saturday and headed to sea for our passage to Kupang Indonesia and beyond. 76 of the boats on the Sail Indonesia Rally were heading to Kupang while the remainder of the fleet were taking the more northern route to Ambon. Unfortunately the wind was very light and we had to motor all the way out of Darwin Harbour to the open sea before turning west and heading for Kupang. With the breeze still only reaching nine or ten knots Colin elected to set our cruising parasail which at a monster 2,200 square foot soon had the boat zooming along at a nice 8+ knots despite the light winds.
Brian and Isabella on Wasabi ahead of us into the night
The trip from Darwin to Kupang is 490 nautical miles of open ocean with only a few oil platforms in between so it is very easy sailing – if the wind plays the game. Unfortunately it tended to be very light much of the time and was often just on the wrong angle to push us on the heading we wanted. Most cruisers are happy to be pointed roughly in the direction of their destination and, depending on available wind, gibe or tack to adjust course later when they’re closer in. Milin however loves her GPS chart plotter and once the course is set doesn’t seem to like deviating too far off the rum line. So we spent a fair bit of time on our four day passage changing or adjusting sails to try and stay right “on course” and if that didn't work the engine went on. We ended up arriving on the Tuesday morning roughly in the middle of the fleet so we certainly wonder if we would of been better off flying the big parasail more even if we were five or ten degrees off rum line. It’s certainly much more pleasant sailing than having the main flogging around with the wind up your bum – but that’s part of being crew and not owner. They make the calls and we’re lucky enough to go along for the ride. We did end our trip with a great morning’s sail up the passage between Rote Island and Timor. The wind was up to 20 knots with no swell at all in the sheltered water and we had fun trying to chase down Brian and Isabella on Wasabi ahead of us.
Karen watching for fishing nets chasing Wasabi into Kupang
We were anchored up in Kupang Harbour by 11.30am and after tidying up the boat from the passage we then sat around until late afternoon watching the quarantine/customs guys zoom around to boat after boat in no discernable order until they finally dropped in on us for our arrival inspection and much form filling in and paperwork stamping. They were also many not so subtle questions and comments seeking something extra for their hard work and assistance and after we made a gift of one of our bottles of wine they were on their way. Immigration formalities were to be completed onshore next morning but we were now permitted to land in Indonesia and the cold Bintangs (beers) at the beach side bar, which is yachtie central for the week, were most welcome as were the absolutely brilliant meals.
Darwin to Kupang - 490 nautical miles - 76 Hours - 4.75 knot average - No fish, not even a bite.
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