designed to assist cruising yachts explore one of the
most beautiful and relatively undeveloped areas of
coast of the Palawan - with it's numerous islands, sheltered
bays, beautiful anchorages and local communities.
starts from North-West Borneo, linking together
nations - Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines.
season is scheduled to for December 2013 to February 2014.
An early December
participants wishing to maximise their time in Palawan
during the favourable NE Monsoon (dry season), with the
opportunity to participate in Christmas/New Year
celebrations in the Philippines.
A late January
start suits those
owners/crew who wish to fly home to the UK/Europe, North
America, Australia and New Zealand for the Christmas/New
Year vacation period, returning to NW Borneo in mid/late
January. Yachts can be left in marinas in Miri, Labuan or
Kota Kinabalu, or anchored off the Royal Brunei Yacht Club
will begin from Brunei, where pre-cruise briefings and
co-ordination will occur. Yachts will gather off the Royal
Brunei Yacht Club in the period before their cruise begins.
Cruise groups can plan their programme and develop and
initial route making convenient day hops between island and coastal anchorages along NW
The passage across the Balabac Strait
will bring yachts to the southern most islands of Palawan.
From there, the journey is mostly short day trips from one
bay to the next, heading north, along the
west coast, to be opposite Puerto Princesa. From there north,
the coast is composed of large protected bays and hundreds
The route ends in the Coron area.
will operate principally as a support net, with a
few formal tours events and functions on route, but with
tour operators along the way, and special access to dive
resorts and other marine based visitor facilities on the
coast and nearby islands.
As with other
it is expected that
yachts will form small, like-minded, cruising groups which
operate loosely together, meeting occasionally at key islands and venues, where particular
shore excursions, official events and formal requirements
(eg CIQ) occur.
The many small islands and bays that
provide spectacular anchorages and access to local
communities, markets and beaches, suit small groups of
yachts. Therefore each
will be limited to approximately 6 yachts and
20 crew, in order to facilitate access to smaller venues,
environmentally sensitive locations, and to avoid
overwhelming shore facilities. Multiple cruise groups can
embark, approximately two weeks apart.
The preparation period
Royal Brunei Yacht Club will give cruisers the opportunity to purchase less
common imported food items from the well stocked
supermarkets, and enjoy the hospitality, great food and
functions at the Royal Brunei Yacht Club. For those
starting in January, the Christmas and New Year functions at
RBYC are popular club events with great food.
A first stop in Labuan
gives the opportunity to stock up on duty free items.
At key shore venues, shore
activities and visits will be available with local tourism
oriented businesses and local government, to highlight the
particular area's attractions. The local knowledge and
experience of these contacts will be available to
assist participants with information ranging from boat
repairs, fuel supplies, CIQ formalities and great places to
visit on route to the next key shore venue.
Timing of the
is designed to integrate
Favourable sailing conditions and wind
The fresh NE Monsoon, blowing across the Sulu Sea to the
east coast of Palawan, is often more easterly. This easterly breeze
provides favourable sailing along the west coast of Palawan, in relatively flat seas, with a short fetch
from the weather shore. Afternoon arrivals at a new
anchorage are with the westerly sun from behind to help pick
a way into the anchorage. Anchorages are against the
protective weather shore.
The NE Monson is the
dry season for Palawan.
Afternoon breezes are commonly a reliable 15 to 20 kts,
meaning more sailing and less motoring.
Along the NW coast of
Borneo, the NE Monsoon bends to become a predominantly NW
afternoon sea breeze of 12 to 18kts, from about 1200 to 2000 each day.
Overnight, the normally light offshore breeze is
supplemented by the dominant NE flow, to create some
pre-dawn and early morning sailing in a steady 8 to 12kts,
with minimal sea because of the nearby weather shore.
In northern Borneo, the
NE/NW Monsoon season is also known as the wet season. This
is characterised by heavy rainfall from late afternoon and
evening storms, sometimes extending through the night,
but normally clearing before dawn, or early
morning. Rainy days are not common.
2. Beautiful water
clarity for sailing and diving.
In northern Palawan, November to March is the best
season for scuba diving on the numerous WW II wrecks. The same
minimal coastal river runoff that gives good water clarity for diving, also creates
a beautiful sea colour for sailing, and clear water
visibility for selecting anchorages, snorkelling around the
boat, swimming to shore etc.
Options after the
finish in Coron:
1. Yachts looking
for maintenance works.
The Philippines has a variety of low-cost boat maintenance
options, some with a combination of skilled local staff and
western management. Key areas for haul-out and maintenance
services are Subic Bay and Cebu.
Subic Bay has facilities
previously developed for the large USA military presence,
and staff with trade skills also developed for that past
Cruising yachts report the standard of workmanship and
skills with materials such as fibreglass, epoxy, aluminium
etc are very good. Some major repair and rebuilt works have been
done for cruising yachts. The yard areas, cranes, hard
standing etc are apparently impressive.
Cebu has some
long-standing yacht maintenance and construction operations
which utilise the traditional craftmanship and creativity of
the Philippines. Numerous cruising yachts have used these
facilities for haul-outs, antifouling, repainting and other
A number of yacht clubs
and marina/resort facilities also have haulout and
maintenance capabilities. These include Manilla Yacht Club
and Maya Maya Yacht Club.
2. For yachts planning to spend more time cruising the
The Philippines has an
amazing diversity of lifestyles, cultures, traditions,
topography and events. The creativity, flair for dance,
music and song, and the desire to have fun and party,
generates a long list of festivals, street parades, musical
events and more.
Some cruising yachts
have ventured into the Philippines and never left!
Others spend a SW monsoon season cruising the highlights of
the southern Philippines, and some stay for a couple of
seasons, mixing shore travel, sailing, boat-works and
periods back home in Europe, North America or Australia/NZ.
After arriving in Coron
area, further Philippines cruising options include:
1. To cruise to Puerto Galera
Puerto Galera Yacht Club
), and from there to Cebu region, returning to
Sandakan or the east coast of Palawan before making their
passage down the west coasts of Borneo, to Singapore,
Peninsula Malaysia and Thailand.
2. Some yachts have sailed
from Puerto Galera through the islands of Mindanao to
General Santos and Davao prior to making passages back to
Australia or New Zealand around the top of Iranian Jaya and
PNG to the Solomons.
3. Others have returned
across the Sulu Sea to Sandakan, taking time to explore
places such as the Kinabattangan River and islands of
Semporna (great diving) then into Indonesia at Tarakan to
start journey via Manado to Saumlaki and then to Gove - or
direct to Torres Strait - as a return route to
Australia and New Zealand.
4. A cruise from
northern Borneo south down the west coast of Sulawesi
- during the last of the NE Monsoon season -
has been used to reach
marinas in Bali or Lombok, to make preparations for an
Indian Ocean crossing.
With the shift away from
the Red Sea route, to Indian Ocean crossings and rounding
South Africa, marinas in Bali or Lonbok make attractive
preparation points before departing to Cocos-Keeling (for a
route with Mauritius/Reunion stops, then to Richards Bay) or
Chagos (for a Madagascar cruise to Richards Bay) in the
favourable, May to October, Indian Ocean crossing season.
is the tourism
destination brand name adopted by the BIMP-EAGA Tourism Cluster (BETC)
following extensive work on the part of two key BIMP-EAGA
supports - the Asian Development Bank and GTZ - and
subsequent market research by BETC members.
The NE Monsoon season in the Philippines is their dry
season. Water visibility is at its best so this is the most
popular time for scuba diving and other water sports in
sheltered areas. It has not been the popular yacht
cruising period in the southern Philippines because of
choppy conditions in the Sulu Sea and surrounding islands.
But it has become the preferred season to travel the
attractive west coast of Palawan; mostly day hopping between
3. The SW Monsoon
period is the main cruising season in the southern Philippines.
It is referred to as their wet season, and is also the Tropical
Storm season. A number of Tropical Storms can be expected to
start in the NW Pacific, north of Irian Jaya/PNG each season. Some of
these can track west to cross the Philippines, or run
parallel with the eastern coastline of the Philippines.
While a considerable part of the southern Philippines
cruising area is south of 10d N - the theoretical southerly
limit of Tropical Storm activity - there will still be
significant wind changes in these areas if a TS approaches
or crosses the
North of 10d N - in the popular cruising areas
around Mindoro, Panay and Negros - it's possible to have a
TS tracking through these areas. Cruisers need to keep a
close watch on potential TS s activity and act accordingly. As can be
expected in an island nation with so much commercial marine
traffic, the Philippines has
established many facilities to shelter boats during TS
along with advanced weather warning systems.
Please return here to
get further details
as the cruise schedule develops.
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