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Thailand to Australia

By doina — last modified Jul 10, 2008 06:28 PM

Published: 2008-07-10 18:28:57
Topics: Malay Archipelago
Countries: Australia , Thailand

We live in Sydney, Australia and had always thought that our cruises would begin from here. However there is a chance that we may purchase a new yacht from Thailand in the next month or so.

The obvious route home would be from Phuket, where the yacht is based, through the Malacca Straits to Darwin,and across the top, then down the east coast, but two things give us cause for concern about this. One is that despite the already prevalent danger of piracy in Indonesia, there is now the added threat of terrorism as has been displayed in Bali on several occasions in the past few years. The other is that with seasonal changes now approaching, the top end of Australia is not the most desirable place to be sailing in, during what is usually our wet / cyclone season.

We have looked at the resources available including your books and came up with the following alternative. We thought that perhaps to leave Phuket in November and head outside Indonesia as if aiming for Sri Lanka, then turn South for Cocos Keeling, might be a better alternative. From here we would head for a mid point on the western coast of Australia. It is difficult to assess whether this is feasible as few people document passages in this direction. We would really value your opinion as part of our research.
Kind Regards, Sharon & Julian

If you plan on going west of Sumatra after November, you run the risk of cyclones in the South Indian Ocean. Furthermore, prevailing winds on that route (south of the equator) - all through the year! - are from SE, so it will be a very hard beat to make Freemantle.

If you want to avoid Indonesia altogether, the only alternative is to head east, possibly through the Philippines, then carry on east through Micronesia (just N of PNG) to get as far as far east as possible before crossing the equator. If you manage to do this, then you'll have a much better angle to sail through the South Pacific to any port on the E. coast of Australia. Ideally you should try to get far enough east before you turn south and sail to Fiji.

This is a longer route, but a lot more fun! Otherwise, bite the bullet, sail through Indonesia to Darwin, and down the E. coast of Oz. Not easy.

Good luck!

Jimmy Cornell

Thought you may be interested in how we tackled this trip (Thai to Aust)in 2004. We are a husband and wife, our yacht is a 46' oceanic built in Melbourne Aust. 60 HP Volvo. We travelled with a 36' S&S; which was single handed sailing.

Talking to Richard from the S.E. Asian maritime net he suggested we hug the bottom of Killamantan instead of going the usual route following the Islands along to Bali. We travelled late October to Singapore then November across the bottom of Killamantan (Borneo) holding the coast close, where we got good land breezes morning and afternoon at a beam reach to sail on (although at night Killamantan can produce some sizable thunder storms to watch out for) then down to east Timor.

After a 2 week rest in E.Timor we headed straight across to Thursday Island dropping down across the top of Australia to get better currant. All in all we had a great trip. With a fuel tank capacity of 550 liters, we turned the engine on whenever our sailing speed dropped below 3 to 4 knots and topped our tanks in Singapore again in east Timor and Cairns, we always had plenty of fuel left in our tanks at each stop. This time of year Nov./Dec. we even had northerly winds all the way down to the Whitsundays.

I would recomend this time of year and this route to anyone wanting to bring a yacht back fron S.E asia.

Dai Mouse IV (Peter and wife Chiquita)