Proposed was a co-ordinated series of yacht races and rallies originating from both Darwin and Fremantle to Bali, then on to Pulau Seribu north of Jakarta and then on to Batam Island south of Singapore.
The intention was for these events, sailed under the auspices of PORLASI (the Indonesian Yachting Association) and APLI (the Indonesian Sailing Association), to take the yachts through Indonesia and on to the Raja Muda International Regatta in Malaysia then on to the Kings Cup in Thailand.
To keep costs down and to provide maximum exposure a decision was made to run these events using the internet exclusively, with no phones, fax, of formal staffed office and using only a web site. This yachting event was a little different to all others; it had no sponsors, no office and no publicity other than the web site, but importantly it made sure that the participants were the main focus and by ensuring they enjoyed the events and they would tell others.
As a result in July 2001, a fleet of 16 yachts left Darwin for Bali; however the fleet from Fremantle did not eventuate. This initial event was a success and plans were made for a second event in 2002. This event attracted a total of 20 yachts this too was a success with a send-off party in Darwin and a great welcome in Bali. As a result of discussions with the participants other destinations in Indonesia east of Bali were considered because once they had reached Bali the beautiful cruising areas of the islands to the east were behind them.
In February 2003, GAHAWISRI, the Indonesian Confederation of Marine Tour Companies, was asked by the Indonesian Central Government for ideas to increase awareness of marine tourism in the Eastern Part of Indonesia. This idea was discussed at length and it was decided at a meeting in Bali that there would be a second event - a yacht rally from Darwin to Kupang located on the western end of Indonesian Timor. This event was to be run in conjunction with the Darwin Bali Yacht Race.
The event was supported by GAHAWISRI and to keep cost down and to ease the path through the Indonesian bureaucracy, GAHAWISRI helped arrange for each yacht the vitally important Indonesian Cruising Permit known as a CAIT. GAHAWISRI’s involvement, as well as their knowledge of the Indonesian maritime regulations, ensured wide support for the event with their contacts within all levels of government, the Indonesian maritime industry and local operators.
As a result, in July 2003 two fleets left Darwin; the first group of 24 yachts went to Kupang and a second group of 23 yachts left for Bali one week later with the intention that they would link up in Bali for a combined party/presentation. This did not eventuate as the yachts that went to Kupang found that the marine beauty of the Eastern Part of Indonesia had a lot to offer and they went cruising! Only one yacht from the fleet to Kupang made it to Bali in time for the celebrations and the presentation dinner went ahead without them.
The outcome of the 2003 events was that Kupang became the first port in a series of destinations (that included Bali) and what is now called Sail Indonesia was born. Racing also took a back seat as yachts interested in the event were primarily interested in cruising.