Langkawi to Vanuatu via Philippines
Could you please give me your advice on my plan to sail in April 06 from Langkawi to Vanuatu via Philippines. The currents should be okay but I don't know about the winds and possible bad weather. How far east would you go after Philippines before tacking to PNG - Vanuatu?
The best time to go east from the Philippines is January to March, before the onset of the NE monsoon. April, when you plan to go, should still be ok… but don’t leave it too late. Early in the NE season it is best to leave from the southern Philippines, such as Surigao Straits. A direct route is probably better than planning to stop in Palau. If you do go direct try going south soon after leaving the Philippines so as to get into the Equatorial Countercurrent which has an easterly set and will be in your favour. If you want to go to Vanuatu, it is better to make any easting north of the equator, and only cross the equator when you know that you can sail against the prevailing SE winds. This may mean going as far east as 170 degrees E.
I have described this route, or similar routes, in the latest (5th edition) of my World Cruising Routes under PN55 Philippines to Palau, and PT35 Palau to PNG. Try to read this for more details.
Jimmy Cornell noonsite
Steve writes: The above advice may be misleading. In the Philippines, the "Amihan" (NE Trades) blows from about Oct-Nov to April. In January, the ocean east of the Phils will be very rough. Leaving later (March-April) will give a softer ride and will put your arrival in the southern hemisphere after the end of the cyclone season.
Since Palau is now a friendly yacht stopover and it has an American Post Office, it is a good place to get supplies and parts shipped to at "domestic" rates.