The yacht rally of Sail Morotai, an international marine event, was officially flagged off in Darwin, Australia, on Sunday.
Sail Morotai central committee chairman Syahrin Abdurrahman, who is also the Director General of Marine and Fisheries Resources Surveillance, stated that a total of 132 yachts from 22 countries took part in the rally.
"The number has significantly increased compared with last year`s rally, which had 111 participants. And in 2010, it was just 107," Syahrin said in a written statement received here on Monday.
He noted that there were 47 yachts from Australia, 20 from the US, nine from Canada, eight from New Zealand, seven from the Netherlands, and six from England.
The yacht rally officially began at Cullen Bay Dock in Darwin, Northern Territory, with a salvo of gunfire from the deck of "Spirit of Darwin" ship. The event was inaugurated by Syahrin Abdurrahman, who represented the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries.
Starting from Darwin, the rally participants were divided into two teams, which would take two different routes to Indonesia. The eastern route would pass through Saumlaki, Banda, Buru, Ternate, Wakatobi and Takabonerate, while the western route would be through Kupang, Alor, Lembata, Ende, and Riung.
The routes of both teams would merge in Bajo Labuan on September 12-15, before they set sail for South Lombok and Bali.
"Then, again, the teams will take two different routes - Kumai-destination route and Karimun Jawa-destination route - through Kepulauan Seribu," Syahrin explained.
The rally participants are scheduled to meet in Manggar-South Belitung on October 20-22, before heading for Singapore.
"The rally will definitely benefit the areas that come along its route. Not only the local economy, but also tourism in these areas will get a boost," Syahrin said.