Exploring Equator-Asia

Equator Asia cruise

Frequently Asked Questions


Sail BIMP-EAGA is created, organised and managed from our Bandar Seri Begawan offices, here in Brunei Darussalam, on the west coast of Borneo.

The parent company - Intrepid Management Services Sdn Bhd - has 15 years experience as a licensed tour operator (INTREPIDTOURS), and 12 years experience providing HF/SSB radio communication services for small craft in SE Asia (BRUNEI BAY RADIO).

The operational services along the cruise routes are provided by our contacts in boating, communication, government and yacht rally event operations, along with local tour businesses. And our local-area co-ordinators.

How to register interest?

Please use the enquiry form at the bottom of this page to add your name and yacht to those interested to participate in a 2013 cruise. Please remember each  cruise group will be limited to a maximum of 10 yachts and approximately 30 people. 

When submitting your enquiry please identify your planned arrival date in your first Indonesain entry port - Kupang, Tual, Saumlaki or Ambon - and the other yachts you have already made plans with, to be in the same cruise group.

Where do we meet in Darwin?

The Dinah Beach Cruising Yacht Association  (DBCYA) has agreed to provide a base of support for Equator Asia cruise yachts and crews as they make preparations to depart Australia. The adjacent anchorage in Fannie Bay is convenient, with tender access to the club premises. Or the nearby Duck Pond (walking distance), and other marinas in Darwin. 

The Association is known for it's relaxed atmosphere, friendly club premises, helpful local members and support for cruising yachts.  

Equator Asia cruise yachts which plan to use the route from Darwin to  Ambon to initiate their entry into BIMP-EAGA, can consider joining the DBCYA's Darwin to Ambon race/rally to exit Australia.

What equipment & capabilities does my yacht need?

Well-found cruising yachts will find the demands of cruising through the warm and relatively placid waters of BIMP-EAGA to be easy-going, compared to higher latitude cruising. 

Nevertheless, participating yacht are recommended to obtain a copy of Yachting Australia's "Blue Book", which contains the yacht racing rules, but more importantly, a comprehensive section on yacht equipment, fittings and safety equipment which is far more detailed than the normal ISAF Special Regulations. This "Blue Book" information  is based on the accumulated wisdom of millions of hours racing and cruising, including recommendations arising from incidents.

Because of the need to be self-sufficient when cruising BIMP-EAGA, it is strongly recommended that yachts meet or exceed the equipment requirements for a Category 1 yacht race under Yachting Australia's Special Regulations.

All participating yachts will require a functional marine HF/SSB radio (preferably with DSC capability) and SailMail (low-cost on-board email) service, so they can obtain weather information, contact other yachts in the cruise group for information, advice or assitance, and maintain direct communication with the Sail BIMP-EAGA office and local area co-ordinators, via email and/or voice communications.

Participating yachts will receive a free subscription to BRUNEI BAY RADIO's extended HF/SSB email service. This service works using the same software/hardware as SailMail, and from within the same copy of the on-board software that creates, send/receives and displays SailMail messages. The BBRemail subscription provides additional daily connection time, and the ability to send/receive attachments (eg: pdf files, jpg photos etc) to receive information about stops, anchorages an venues along the route, and for general communications with Sail BIMP-EAGA staff.  

It is strongly recommended that yachts have a modern Marine HF/SSB radio, programmed with the full marine bandplan of HF/SSB channels and frequencies, and DSC capability. as a minimum, participating yachts will require:

  1. A proper registered marine radio call-sign. An Amateur Radio call-sign - assigned to a person, not a yacht - is not sufficient.

    (Note: A HAM radio that has been altered to also operate on the marine HF/SSB service frequencies no longer meets the type approval requirements as a HAM radio, and is not approved for operation on the maritime HF/SSB service; because it can cause interference on the marine frequencies.)

  2. Read the pages on HF/SSB radio use in this region under the Yacht Cruising section of the BRUNEI BAY RADIO web pages.

  3. The full complement of Marine HF/SSB channels assigned to BRUNEI BAY RADIO, and the other simplex frequencies that may be used. See the Voice Services page of the BRUNEI BAY RADIO website for details. 

  4. The ability to initiate (eg: DSC or email or satphone call) and subsequently maintain emergency communication on the official Marine HF/SSB Emergency Frequencies with an MRCC; in the unlikely case of a Pan Pan or MayDay situation.

    See the Marine Emergency Contact and Emergency Contact List pages of our
    BRUNEI BAY RADIO website for more details.

A list of other recommended on-board equipment and capabilities will be provided to participants after registration.

Can Motor Yachts participate  too?

Yes, motor yachts are welcome to join the Equator Asia cruise

How do we stay in contact before the cruise?

The email address for all communication related to enquiry, joining and planning for a Sail BIMP-EAGA cruise is: sailbimp-eaga(at) 

Our office phone number in Brunei is +673 2 221685/6

Our office fax number in Brunei is +673 2 221687

How do we stay in contact during the cruise?

Communication from/to Sail BIMP-EAGA office staff, and our local area co-ordinators on-route during the cruise, will be provided via HF/SSB radio using our BRUNEI BAY RADIO services:

  • The free BBRemail subscription provided to all participating yachts will be used to communicate via email with Sail BIMP-EAGA staff. It will also be used to send yachts regular updates including Adobe pdf attachments with details of events, facilities, services, local area co-ordinators, etc for upcoming towns, anchorages or venues.

  • The operational email address for participating yachts to use before, during and after their Sail BIMP-EAGA cruise, will be advised in the joining information.

  • Yachts will use their SailMail service as usual to request/obtain updated weather information (eg: GRIB charts or METAREA forecasts and warnings) to help schedule longer passages, to order spare-parts, organise crew changes, and maintain contact with family and friends.

  • The free BBRemail subscription is also available to update  blogs and websites regularly with pictures (as attachments) and text about  venues and experiences during the cruise. And to send articles to sailing magazines, yacht club newsletters, on-line yachting newsletters and general tourism publications. The BIMP-EAGA Tourism Council, local tourism associations, government agencies and tour operators who facilitate and support this cruise need your support in return, via the publicity you can generate.

  • Yachts will email a morning position report and sailing plan to Sail BIMP-EAGA staff each day.

  • Yacht are required to submit a YOTREPS position report each evening so their progress can be observed by friends and family, and the shore service providers or government support agencies on-route.  (In Indonesia, this is a requirement to satisfy the arrangement to enter without paying the Customs Bond.)

How much does this cruise cost?

The cost is composed of four elements:

1. A yacht joining fee - US$350 per yacht- to cover the cost of enrolment procedures and each yacht's 
Equator Asia cruise package, which includes:

    A Sail BIMP-EAGA burgee
    4 courtesy flags - Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia & Philippines
A Sail BIMP-EAGA ID - to identify participants to local area
, and officials
    A sponsor letter to facilitate Customs Bond free entry to Indonesia
     at one of the 18 official cruising yacht entry/exit ports.
    A copy of Yachting Australia's "Blue Book" - containing the Special
    Regulations (ie: boat equipment etc) for yacht racing and
    recommended for yacht cruising. 

Note: This fee includes handling and EMSSpeedpost to send the package. If yachts book late and require a courier service for the package delivery, the may be an additional charge.

2. A monthly participation fee - US$150 per yacht, per month - to cover the cost of support, organising and managing each cruising group's needs, and the yacht tracking service which is required for the Customs Bond exemption. 

3. The CAIT fee - applies to the initial CAIT application, and any subsequent renewals/extensions. US$300 each application and renewal per yacht. (Note: the regular fee is US$400, but reduced in 2013 for the introduction of this cruise-in-company format with local area co-ordinators.)

Note: Visas, visit pass extensions, port fees etc along the route are not included. An additional fee will apply for additional crew members.

4. Optional local events, activities, tours, shore excursions, accommodation etc along the way.  These are on a cash payment basis to the local area co-ordinator or direct to the services they recommend.

In some locations, our local area co-ordinators will arrange anchorages, yacht security, support/information about local resources etc using the established capabilities of local tour operators, venues etc so owners feel comfortable about leaving yachts at anchor - for a day and perhaps a night or two in some locations - to venture inland to experience what the region has to offer in terms of cultural and natural heritage experiences.

For example, climb a mountain, stay in a community home-stay with a local family, watch wildlife from a hide, take a dawn walk to see birds, share a family meal cooked by your host on their kitchen's open-fire, ride an open truck at night to see owls, cobras and other predators, sleep in a jungle hammock to look for Orangutans at dawn, or sleep on the beach to watch turtles at night. 

A list of activity and tour options, local contacts, services, facilities etc will be emailed to participants via BBRemail about a week before arriving at key venues.

What do I get for my money?

  • The freedom to cruise beautiful coasts, uncrowded anchorages, and thousands of islands with small groups of like-minded yachties because Sail BIMP-EAGA provides the communication and support networks to assist you along the way.

  • The confidence to explore and enjoy relatively untouched and isolated areas of BIMP-EAGA, where more traditional lifestyles and nature's bounty still exist. Equator Asia - The Heart of Biodiversity

  • The opportunity to visit venues, meet people, experience diverse cultures, see wildlife and enjoy spectacular scenery in a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is exclusive to cruising yacht owners and crew.

  • The knowledge that your involvement in Sail BIMP-EAGA will contribute to the cultural and environmental preservation goals of the BIMP-EAGA Business Council and BIMP-EAGA Tourism Council.

    And that through the commitment of many individuals and organisations to the development of Sustainable, Community-based, Ecotourism projects and local SMEs, the money you spend locally will help create income streams that protect and preserve the traditional knowledge, the unique cultures and the diverse natural heritage of
    Equator Asia - The Heart of Biodiversity.

What about an Indonesian Cruising Permit - CAIT?

The need to simplify this requirement was raised in the 10 & 11 March 2010 BIMP-EAGA CIQS (Customs, Immigration, Quarantine & Security) Task Force meetings in General Santos (Philippines), where Allan Riches made a  presentation about the special needs of Sail BIMP-EAGA yachts and crews to CIQS officials from the four BIMP-EAGA nations.

It is now possible to scan and email all the documentation requirements to the Sail BIMP-EAGA office in Brunei, for processing and issue of the CAIT.  We can email back the CAIT certificate for local (colour) printing and copying, to use for the entry process and to show any officials inside Indonesia who need to refer to it.

We keep a copy of all the initial scanned documents, so an extension/renewal can be processed with minimum effort on the part of cruising yachts crews; who could be enjoying a great anchorage in any of the tens of thousands of beautiful and isolated cruising options in Indonesia.

What about the Indonesian Customs Bond?

The need to address this topic was raised in the 10 & 11 March 2010 BIMP-EAGA CIQS (Customs, Immigration, Quarantine & Security) Task Force meetings in General Santos (Philippines), where Allan Riches made a  presentation about the special needs of Sail BIMP-EAGA yachts and crews to CIQS officials from the four BIMP-EAGA nations.

Subsequent to this, Raymond Lesmana - a key instigator and manager of yacht rallies in Indonesia - has been instrumental in the creation of Presidential Decree No 79 - 2011, which has identified 18 ports of entry and departure for cruising yachts in Indonesia.  At these locations, cruising yachts can enter with exemption from the Customs Bond regulation; on presentation of a sponsorship letter.

To satisfy the requirements for Customs Bond free entry, Sail BIMP-EAGA yachts must make a daily position report - via email - to advise their location, and immediate plans. Crews that leave their yacht while travelling ashore can leave a message to explain the yacht is stationary and  they will not be submitting a daily report while ashore.


What about an Indonesian Visitor Visa?

Complications created by the need to renew visas each two months and the CAIT each three months were raised in the 10 & 11 March 2010 BIMP-EAGA CIQS (Customs, Immigration, Quarantine & Security) Task Force meetings in General Santos (Philippines), were Allan Riches made a  presentation about the special needs of Sail BIMP-EAGA yachts and crews to CIQS officials from the four BIMP-EAGA nations.

BIMP-EAGA tourism officials in the Indonesian Ministry of Culture and Tourism are working with Indonesian Immigration officials to establish an extended visa for Sail BIMP-EAGA yachts crews.  The goal is to have one visa of sufficient duration for the entire cruise.

However, this is not yet in place. So visa renewals will be necessary each 2 months.

What about entry into Malaysia?

Officials expect to have a new - BIMP-EAGA initiated - CIQ facility established at Semporna by the time the Equator Asia cruise arrives in Sabah (Malaysia). This new facility will be used for yachts to enter Sabah.  Yachts will depart Sabah at Sandakan, where CIQS services are already established. 

Visiting yachts do not require a cruising permit, customs bond or any other special permits for Malaysian waters. Malaysian Customs regulations require only one customs formality upon entering Malaysian waters, and another when departing.

Visiting yachts are required to complete port and marine formalities as they move around Malaysia. There are no charges for privately owned recreation vessels.

Immigration formalities are required when entering Malaysia, and when moving in and out of the States of Sabah and Sarawak, and the Federal Territory of Labuan. The standard visitor permit for Malaysia is one month; ample time for the expected duration of the Equator Asia cruise periods Sabah. There is no charge for a visitor permit. 

What about entry into the Philippines?

Existing CIQ services at Puerto Princesa will be used for entry formalities into the Philippines.

A new - BIMP-EAGA initiated - CIQS facility is expected to be established at Brooke's Point (southern town on the east coat of Palawan)  by the time the Equator Asia cruise yachts arrive there, ready to embark for Borneo.

Visiting yachts do not require a cruising permit, customs bond or any other special permits for Philippine waters. Inward and outward Customs clearance should be completed. There are no charges

Immigration entry formalities for yacht crews normally cost 500 Pesos per person. Philippines Immigration officials in the March 2010 BIMP-EAGA CIQS Task Force meetings in General Santaos (Philippines) have proposed no entry fees for Sail BIMP-EAGA yacht crews.  The standard visitor entry permit for the Philippines is 21 days;  ample time for the expected duration of the Equator Asia cruise route from Puerto Princesa to Brooke's Point.   

What about entry into Brunei?

Existing CIQ services at Serasa Ferry Terminal will be used for entry and departure formalities at Brunei.

Visiting yachts do not require a cruising permit, customs bond or any other special permits for Brunei waters.

Inward and outward Customs clearance must be completed, along with Ports and Marine clearances. There are no charges for these clearances for private recreation vessels.

There is no duty on importing yachts, or parts (except for batteries and spark plugs) for boats into Brunei. This makes Brunei attractive as a place to send new sails and other boat parts.

Immigration entry formalities to Brunei for yacht crews presently vary with nationality. For example, USA citizens receive a 2 months visit pass for no charge. UK citizens receive a one month visit pass for no charge. Australians must complete a Visa on Arrival form for a 2 week visit pass and pay Bn$20. Alternatively a 72 hour transit visa and visit pass is available for Bn$5.

Sail BIMP-EAGA staff are working with Brunei Immigration officials to simplify and harmonise the immigration requirements for Sail BIMP-EAGA yacht crews. 


Sailing the morning offshore breeze along the west coast of Borneo in January, during the NE/NW Monsoon season.  Clear skies after the overnight rain, and flat seas created by the rain and nearby weather shore.


Please return here regularly to get further details.

If you would like to add your contact details to our database to be updated with rally information, please email us for inquiries ....   

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