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Singapore to NE Australia

By doina — last modified Jul 10, 2008 05:50 PM

Published: 2008-07-10 17:50:32
Topics: Malay Archipelago
Countries: Singapore , Australia , Indonesia

We are planning to move our yacht from Singapore to either Cooktown or Cairns in November/December this year (2006). We had planned to do it with a crew change in Dili. Route would be Singapore-Dili and then Dili-Thursday Island-Cairns or Cooktown. We realise we'd have to do a lot of motoring but want to get the boat to Oz in as short as time as possible. What do you think and/or do you recommend a different route.

Your proposed route is certainly not an easy one - from the sailing point of view! But you have chosen a good time to do it as November is probably the best time to find reasonable conditions on that route - the SE trades will have finished and the cyclone season has not yet started. I suggest you start as soon as possible, cut right across the Indonesian archipelago to Bali (I feel it is getter to make a short stop there as there is a small marina, you can easily get fuel, and also information on what to expect further east. Also, if you stop for a maximum 3 days you will be allowed to do it without a cruising permit as it will be regarded as an emergency stop). From Bali you may find it easier to sail north of the islands so as to get some help from day/night breezes in the lee of the high islands (this is what the locals do). But if you manage to get a reliable weather forecast and the situation looks better south of the islands, then take that route and sail directly to Dili.

The same tactics apply east of Timor, but don't leave it too late - because of the risk of an early cyclone.

I hope this will help, and I wish you a fast and safe voyage.

Jimmy Cornell, noonsite

We are thinking of bringing a cruiser from Bali to the Gold Coast and have had conflicting reports on the weather this time of year, (January) I would appreciate any help or suggestions you might have as we do not want to get stuck in bad weather anywhere, also fuel is a big concern if we are against tide flows and wind etc.

You certainly picked the worst time of the year for the proposed trip. This is the NW monsoon period in the area north of Auatralia, also the cyclone season! You may be ok to sail as far as Timor (see above my reply to a similar email), but from there on you will have a tough trip, and also run the risk of being caught by a cyclone. If you really need to do it, I would try to get as far as Darwin (keeping an eye on the weather) and very carefully continue from there to Cairns and beyond. However, I could not recommend doing this trip at this time of year.