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Updated January 2 2019
Sail Indonesia, History, the Organization and Mission
Sail Indonesia is a non commercial organization, we are self supporting and as you can see we have no sponsors.
From the first rally in 2001 our mission has always been simply to raise awareness of Indonesia as a Marine Tourism Destination and to promote Indonesia as a cruising area for yachts and to introduce sailors to some of the most historic, exciting and interesting sailing destinations across Indonesia and in fact anywhere in the world.
Sail Indonesia's events across Indonesia in past years have been arranged with the cooperation and support of the Indonesian Government - the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Affairs KKP (Kementerian Kelautan dan Perikanan) and DEKIN and are supported by all levels of the the Indonesian Government at the various destinations across the country. We also work in co-operation with Raffles Marina in Singapore and Sail Malaysia. Now it is privatised and under the managment of ASWINDO
After your departure from Darwin as you make your way north to Singapore you are able to join a three month program of Tours, Local Events and Cultural Festivals at the many different stopovers during your 2000 mile passage across Indonesia through the islands of Timor, Banda, Ambon, Buton, Lembata, Wakatobi, Flores, Sulawesi, Bali, Java, Borneo, Belitung and finally on to Batam or Bintan just south of Singapore. It is not necessary to join all the events as you cross the country, you can make your own route and just join the scheduled events that suit your own schedule.
This English language web site is to promote, co-ordinate and organize the yachts that leave Darwin to participate in the Sail Indonesia Rally then on to Singapore and Sail Malaysia, often as part of their circumnavigation.
In December of 2000 as a result of the efforts of Dr Aji Sularso from the then Indonesian Ministry of Maritime Affairs and with the support of the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism it was decided to try to establish a group of coordinated yacht races and rallies originating from both Darwin in the Northern Territory and Fremantle in Western Australia to Bali, then on to Pulau Seribu north of Jakarta and finally to Batam just south of Singapore. It was planned that these events would carry on the tradition of the Darwin to Ambon Yacht Race which had been held for over 20 years from 1976 but was cancelled after 1999 as a result of civil unrest on the island of Ambon and the surrounding islands.
Dr Aji Sularso proposed the name Sail Indonesia in memory of the the success of Sail Indonesia 1995 (Arung Samudera) which celebrated 50 of Indonesian Independence and following a number of meetings Sail Indonesia was formed to promote, manage and organize the technical aspects of these events.
In July of 2001 a fleet of 16 yachts left Darwin direct for Bali, however the fleet from Fremantle did not eventuate, although only a small number of yachts participated the 2001 event was a regarded as a success and plans were made for a second event in 2002. The 2002 Darwin Bali Race event attracted a total of 20 yachts and this too was regarded as a success with a send off party in Darwin and a formal reception, presentation and dinner by the Royal Bali Yacht Club at the Bali Marina in Benoa, Bali.
To keep costs down and to provide maximum exposure these events were to be organised by using the internet only and a web site and email to promote this new event. This was a new concept for that time and our event was a little different to others established yachting events; it had no sponsors, no offices except for one in Darwin during the month before the yachts left Darwin and no publicity other than our web site, but importantly it made sure that the participants were the main focus. The yachts and crews were invited to join a series of linked events across Indonesia and it was our wish that after they enjoyed the wonderful cruising grounds of Indonesia and the hospitality of the local communities they would tell others and encourage other yachts to join in following years.
Following the 2002 Darwin to Bali Race discussions were held in Bali regarding the possibility of including sailing destinations in Indonesia to the east of Bali because the yachts that had gone from Darwin direct to Bali had missed the beautiful cruising areas in the waters off the islands to the east, including Timor, Alor, Lembata, Flores, Rinca, Komodo, Sumbawa and Lombok.
In February of 2003 at meetings in Bali with Sail Indonesia, representatives from the Indonesian Central Government and the Indonesian Federation of Indonesian Marine Tour Operators (GAHAWISRI ) ideas were discussed to raise awareness of tourism, especially marine tourism in the eastern provinces of Indonesia, following this meeting Sail Indonesia was asked to arrange a Yacht Rally from Darwin to Kupang in Timor in 2003 to be run at the same time as the Darwin to Bali Race.
In July 2003 two fleets left Darwin with 23 yachts going direct to Bali and 24 yachts going to Kupang. The two events were again successful with the overall numbers increasing each year, these events ran together in 2003 and again in 2004, however in 2005 there were no yachts wishing to take the direct route to Bali. As a result the direct route to Bali was cancelled and all 69 yachts went first to Kupang with Kupang becoming the Eastern Gateway for yachts sailing into Indonesia.
Following the yachts visit to Kupang Rally Sail Indonesia then offered a 3 month series of events for the participants across the country in Alor, Lembata, Riung, Labuan Bajo, Makassar, Bali, Kumai, Karimun Java and Belitung. The Local Government Offices and Community organizations at each location arranging a number of art and cultural displays, tours and dinners.
These events enable participants to visit places unique and interesting places well away from the well worn tourist areas and experience the local traditional and unspoiled island life. The development of these new destinations across Indonesia are a result of ongoing Indonesian Government initiatives and support, they are being introduced, improved and added to on an ongoing basis.
To reflect these changes the program was changed from the original concept of a Darwin to Bali Yacht Race to promote and include many other destinations throughout Eastern Indonesia, the original web site at www.darwinbalirace.com was discontiued and a web site at www.sailindonesia.net was established to promote all of Indonesia as a destination for cruising yachts
Sail Indonesia has increased in popularity every year, in 2006 the number of entries reached a total of 96 yachts and increased again in 2007 to 123 yachts and it seems that close to 100 yachts is the expected number each year.

In 2009 Sail Indonesia worked in partnership with Indonesia's main marine event Sail Bunaken 2009 which was held off the city of Manado in north Sulawesi. 132 yachts left Darwin for Saumlaki on July 18 however the fleet was disrupted with some yachts choosing to go north for Sail Bunaken while others went directly to the west and as a result some stopovers were bypassed and some were cancelled.
For 2010 the program of events returned to the traditional Western Passage program west from Darwin to Kupang as in previous years with a second route that included Sail Banda then on to Ambon and Wakatobi before the yachts then headed south to join the Western Passage group in Flores.
For 2011 107 yachts departed from Darwin participating in both the Western Passage and the Eastern Passage, with the Eastern Passage yachts taking part in Sail Wakatobi.
For 2012 Sail Indonesia worked in cooperation with Indonesia's main marine event for 2012 - Sail Morotai.
For 2013 Sail Indonesia worked in cooperation with Indonesia's main marine event for 2013 - Sail Komodo.
For 2014, 2015 and 2016 Sail indonesia worked without the participation of any other major events and for 2017 we worked in in co operation with Sail Sabang at Sabang Island on the northern coast of Sumatra.
While there is no overall governing body, Sail Indonesia is a key part of this group of independent organizations that use the Sail Indonesia Rally and the programs that follow as promotional events to raise awareness of tourism and especially marine tourism in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia.
Sail Indonesia has associates in Darwin, Ambon, Kupang, Bali, Jakarta, Singapore and Malaysia and any of these associates can be contacted by emailing us here at mail@sailindonesia.net
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