Sail Wakatobi-Belitong 2011 Officially Launched

Monday, 13 June 2011 | 3967

Sail Wakatobi - Belitong (SWB) otherwise known as Sail Indonesia 2011 was officially launched in Jakarta on Tuesday, June 7th 2011 by Coordinating Minister for People`s Welfare Agung Laksono and  Minister for Marine and  Fisheries , Fadel Muhammad, beginning with the  civic mission named the Bhakti Surya Baskara Jaya.

To date, already 94 yachts from 16 countries are  registered to participate in this year’s Sail Bangka-Belitong  mega event , which will take sailors from Darwin, Australia, calling at many and varied island and beach destinations across the Indonesian archipelago, to end in Singapore .

Taking the theme: “Clean Ocean for the Future", the event consists of six main features: the Yacht Rally and Yacht Race, the Bhakti Surya Baskara Jaya civic mission, national and international seminars, marine youth cross country, and an exhibition on small scale and medium businesses as well as on fishery products. The SWB builds on Sail Indonesia 2009 that was concentrated in Bunaken, North Sulawesi, and Sail Indonesia 2010 in the Banda Islands, Maluku.

This year’s highlight: the Wakatobi island-cluster is a divers’ paradise with panoramic beauty, located in the Province of Southeast Sulawesi. These are idyllic tropical islands set right in the heart of the Coral Triangle, and famous for their rich coral reefs species, a truly  bio-diverse hotspot in the ocean. While Belitong island, or sometimes spelled Belitung, forms part of the  Bangka -Belitung Province, off the coast of  southern Sumatra  The Island is blessed with beaches, crystal clear blue waters, coral reefs and huge giant granite rock formations.

The Yacht Rally and Yacht Race itself will be flagged off from Darwin, Australia, on July 23rd, 2011. The Sail takes participants to 21 locations stretching across the Indonesian archipelagic seas from Kupang (East Nusa Tenggara Province) or Saumlaki (Maluku), for three months all the way west to Belitung (Bangka Belitung, Sumatra) or Batam (Riau Islands, Sumatra) and on to Singapore. The peak event, which is scheduled to be attended by Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will take place at Sombu Beach, Wakatobi, on August 23-29, 2011, and at Tanjung Kelayang Beach, Belitong on October 5-12, 2011.

The Sail will also be highlighted by several fascinating events. An underwater mass wedding, a diving contest, an underwater photographic contest are planned at Wakatobi’s deep seas, in addition to the Inauguration of a Marine Institute at Wakatobi.  While at Belitung, an underwater chess game will be featured on the sandy ocean floor. There will also be a national sailing competition, with additional yachts participating from Singapore, a jet-ski contest, beach and sea cleaning operation, and  traditional cultures and art and culinary festival both at Wakatobi and Belitong as extra highlights of the Event.

At the Official Launch, Minister Fadel outlined the four main objectives of this annual marine event. They are firstly, to harmonize and optimize regional marine potentials with the ultimate aim to improve the welfare of communities; second, to promote Wakatobi and Belitung as Indonesia’s new domestic and international tourist destinations; third,  create the best sailing passage for international yachts across the Indonesian seas from east to west; and, fourth,  to make the marine and fishery potentials in the two regions as  source of living for the local people and the source for sustainable development of regions.

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