Sail Wakatobi-Belitong yacht rally seen off in Darwin

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Sail Wakatobi-Belitong yacht rally 2011 was officially launched by Secretary General of the Maritime and Fisheries Ministry Gellwynn Jusuf in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, on Saturday.

"A total of 111 participants from 18 countries are taking part in this rally," Gellwynn said in a press statement made available to ANTARA on Sunday.

The secretary general said that the number of participants this year increased from that in the previous year which was 107.

Participants of the yacht rally will sail through 21 districts in Indonesia. The routes of the 21 districts will start from Kupang (East Nusa Tenggara province) or Saumlaki to Belitong or Batam in Sumatra.

After it was seen off in Australia, the yacht rally participants were divided into two teams. One team will sail eastwards and is expected to arrive in Saumlaki on July 26-30, 2011, and continue their voyage to Ambon, Buru, Wakatobi, Bau-Bau and Makassar.

The second team will sail westwards and is scheduled to arrive in Kupang on July 27-31, 2001. It will continue its sail to Alor, Lembata, Ende and Alung.

The two teams will then meet in Labuan Bajo on August 31 - September 5 from where they would sail together in the same route to Lombok Utara, Bali, Karimun Jawa, Kumal and Belitung on October 5-12 before they end their trip in Singapore.

The holding of the Sail Wakatobi-Belitong (SWB) 2011 has four objectives, namely utilizing regional potentials to improve people`s welfare, making Wakatobi (Southeast Sulawesi) and Belitong (Bangka Belitung) a tourism destination, creating the best sailing passage and making the maritime and fisheries potentials of Bangka Belitung and Southeast Sulawesi as a sustainable regional development sources.

Peak event will be carried out at Sombu beach, Wakatobi on August 23-29 and on October 5-12 in Tanjung Kelayang, Belitung, which is expected to be attended by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.(*)