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Old 26-06-2009, 06:50   #1
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Best Route Out of Cambodia

Currently I am living in Cambodia and boat-less once again. However, I have built wooden boats in the UK and for several years lived aboard a 25' in Britain - 3" of snow on the deck, luvly; I'm used to sailing alone and off-shore.

I am discovering once bitten by the sailing bug, it re-infects your system and one's eyes turn to stare seawards again. It's hardly surprising, there is some excellent virgin local cruising grounds to tempt.

Recently, thoughts of building a cruiser and sailing back to Europe migrated from the idle possibility to the 'could I?' classification. Ignoring the difficulties of building a ocean-capable boat in the back-of-beyond with no chandlers and facing 'challenging customs arrangements', the route planning has begun to take shape. In relationship to prevailing winds, Cambodia is located 'in the wrong place' - heading towards Panama is all headwinds, The Horn route means a difficult voyage over or under Australia and routes to Suez involve navigating the Straits of Malacca and past the Somalia/Yemen coasts - both notorious pirate waters. Kind of makes the high lightning strike risk here seem insignificant.

Obviously the shortest route via Suez, with a dream last leg across the Med to France and up the Canal du Midi. But the recent pirate attacks around the Gulf of Yemen make this look an insane option. Sailing to Panama appears a S&M voyage of headwinds and lumpy seas ... do I really want to try this for months in a sub 30-footer!? The Horne route is the long way around, safer but with some very lengthy sea crossings, a tricky west-east rounding of the Horne and a run to the Falklands. And the South Atlantic looks like more long and lonely voyages, with limited stopover potential.

Since I sail singlehanded and maximum boat length will be 30', the 'which way' back to Europe has become an intriguing question. And the more I look at it, the more confusing it looks. Even getting out of Cambodia to the Indian Ocean involves sailing several weeks in the wrong direction, before rounding Singapore and heading back towards Colombo.

So my question to the readers here is which way do you think on balance is the best/right route?

Regards and greetings on one and all.


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Old 26-06-2009, 07:04   #2
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Originally Posted by Rhoel_Asia View Post

So my question to the readers here is which way do you think on balance is the best/right route?
No idea of the answer, but cool problem

Of course by the time you finish building the Pirate issues may have changed (for better or worse). But as the Irishman said when asked for directions: "I wouldn't start from here" , so maybe the answer is "jumbo jet" to somewhere else?

Just out of interest what are you thinking of building?
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Old 26-06-2009, 07:24   #3
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Rhoel_Asia,

What a challenge! What ever, don't give up on it. Trip's like these are what dreams are made of......good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 26-06-2009, 09:51   #4
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Just out of interest what are you thinking of building?
The original idea was to build a Hout Nay 30 but then I re-discovered the voyages of Sven Yrvind and 'Bris'. This had me considering a second possibility, one not too far from your jumbo comment. A 20' sea container (and gate) accepts roughly 19'6" x 7' x 7': I suddenly realized Bris would fit inside a container. If I designed a boat along the lines of Bris. or Acrohc Australis it would give me a second option - cruise locally or voyage to the limit of where it could safely go, then bung the boat into a container and ship it to the next safe place/home or wherever. The boat limits would have to be 19 x 6'6" x 7 (1.25' draught and freeboard around 3'): The interior would be 'cozy'. The mast is an issue as a container diagonally is 20' 6"-ish - that would be a very low aspect ratio rig. Stepping the mast in a tabernacle might gain a couple of feet max. Will have to run this past Jeckell's and see what they think.

The advantage of building small is its achievable on limited time and budget; The Hout might not be - nothing worse than getting the hull half built and then discovering your work took you to another country. I average 3 years between moves (so 18 months ticking, maybe).

Interestingly, both Bris and Acrohc were enclosed cockpits, designed to keep the water out when things got bad ... literally the batten down the hatches and ride it out - Sven it seems hated getting cold and wet, preferring to sit in the doghouse and spectator the green water swashing about outside.

I like this kind of brainstorming as it might come up with something viable - Knowing similar or smaller designs (built on the same principles) achieved significant ocean miles and circumnavigations is interesting. If I option a best route eg, Suez, the boat could be designed or adapted for that option.

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Old 26-06-2009, 15:40   #5
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Think local...

Have you considered buying a local boat and fixing it up? Possibly even a power boat (some people even like them).

Something that you could sell or even give away without shedding too many tears.

It sounds like just about the time your project gets satisfying you'd be transferred somewhere else.

Please let us know what you decide, maybe even with photos.
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Old 26-06-2009, 16:09   #6
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Have a look at this

John Welsford Designs



What about around the bottom of Africa?
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Old 26-06-2009, 16:09   #7
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40 yrs ago, I would have said,"On the skid of a Huey!"
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Old 26-06-2009, 22:56   #8
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I hate to mention money, but...

Money.

Without some idea of your funding base, it's hard to really talk about this.

From Cambodia I think I'd go overland to the west coast of Thailand, commission a brand new Hans Christian, and sail slowly south of Africa and back up... assuming money was no problem and I wanted to 'build a boat' in the region.

But if you're talking about a minimal boat, maybe built by yourself locally... ::shakes head:: Nope, sorry, I can't get my head around that idea. If you build a minimal boat, locally, sail it to Singapore/Australia and pick up something a bit less than minimal. Unless you have unreported skills as a boat builder, I just can't reconcile a home built craft by an unskilled amateur in the jungles with 'best route to Europe from Cambodia?'

If I had a reasonably decent boat in Cambodia and wanted to get to the UK, I'd definitely take the southern ocean route, Cape Horn. Not the most comfortable, and imo not the safest (I'd give that to Africa), but faster and fewer interesting places to stop and spend money. (Going to Panama, btw, is fastest going the southern ocean route, then up to Tahiti and keep getting as east as you can...)
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Old 27-06-2009, 01:57   #9
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Have you considered buying a local boat and fixing it up?
Yes but unfortunately there are almost no sailing boats here and very few power boats: THe country is only recently emerging from 30 years of Khmer Rouge massacres and civil wars. There are no marinas to speak of and the local navy patrols are unaccustomed to pleasure craft gunkholing without the intent of smuggling.

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Unless you have unreported skills as a boat builder, I just can't reconcile a home built craft by an unskilled amateur in the jungles with 'best route to Europe from Cambodia?'
I have built, repaired or helped construct a variety of wooden boats from 21' carvel classics to 63' catamarans. My favorite construction is stitch and glue using WEST techniques. I can also weld steel sheet but not Aluminum. I have also done on circumnavigation via Suez and Panama, albeit part of mileage in a P&O liner through Suez.

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Have a look at this - John Welsford Designs

What about around the bottom of Africa?
Oh my! Where does one start with Swaggie - there are some seriously good ideas there - the beam is wider than the 7' limit but I am sure John could be persuaded to tweak the dimensions: His design comments are 100% on the mark with my initial requirements and drawings, and in line with Sven's build/sail philosophy. I'll send him my outline sketches and see what he thinks.

South Africa: If departing Thailand (and there is significant possibility of that), then the ocean currents and wind patterns would definitely help. It would also then place you on the 'right' side of the South Atlantic to route vis St Helena, Ascension and (my favorite) Fuerteventura in the Canaries.

I'll try grab some photos of local craft and anchorages and post them here.

Many thanks for the great ideas - I knew I had come to the right place.


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Old 27-06-2009, 03:30   #10
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Wewak is not the same as Cambodia...

I built a 6.5 m Van de Stadt cetre boarder while on a 2 yr contract a few kilometers to the south of Wewak a few decades ago.

It was a good project, kept me sane (or at least from totally degenerating into alcoholism) but would I do it the same again?

Well not really. A smallish outboard powered runabout would have been a way more practical project. In fact, if I had been able (and I probably could have) to import a boat from Oz a runabout could have made me the toast of the local community (and probably accelerated my descent into ...).
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Old 27-06-2009, 13:24   #11
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I was down the harbour today, saw one of these and thought of you 18 foot. and if I recall correctly designed (by Robert Tucker) to be built from the minimum number of sheets of Plywood (I forget the number )


Caprice 19

I mention it as not sure if before your time, but popular for home build in the UK back in the 1960's.

Shane Acton even sailed RTW back in the 70's - but from accounts he was a bit of a barmy barsteward :-

Shrimpy: a 18 foot Robert Tucker designed boat that sailed around the world

Although for looks I always preferred the Silhouette

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Old 27-06-2009, 16:26   #12
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Rhoel,

Actually, the solution to your question is very simple:

1. From any Cambodian port, head NW until you reach Thailand.

2. Stay about a year.

3. Decide if there's any earthly reason to go on with the voyage.

If by then you're intent on continuing, remember:

1. Gentlemen don't sail to windward; and

2. Nothing goes to windward like a 747 :-)

And, I'd add, there's no better papaya to windward!

Bill
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Old 27-06-2009, 19:27   #13
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There are more boats in Thailand at least there were when I was there. Jimmy Cornell is the best route planner I know of. Website: Noonsite: The global site for cruising sailors
Good luck & update the forum
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Old 28-06-2009, 09:36   #14
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Rhoel,

Actually, the solution to your question is very simple:

1. From any Cambodian port, head NW until you reach Thailand.

2. Stay about a year.

3. Decide if there's any earthly reason to go on with the voyage.

If by then you're intent on continuing, remember:

1. Gentlemen don't sail to windward; and

2. Nothing goes to windward like a 747 :-)

And, I'd add, there's no better papaya to windward!

Bill
This did amuse - I was based in Thailand before coming here: The biggest issue in Thailand relates to #2 - staying there legally for a year: I spent 3 years there and loved it - had a full visa and work permit, paid taxes etc. then a minor change in my employer status resulted in my work permit being invalidated, one year visa automatically reverting to a 7 days to leave the country. To get another visa means a return to the UK. Bureaucracy has gone loopy in the Land of Smiles. Pity as I love the country and have no problem with the locals. Eben read and write the language a bit.

In answer to buying a local boat, this is typical of the Cambodian version of Oxford and Cambridge - the Water festival held every November on Phnom Penh's Tonle Sap River.



Note the generous freeboard and widespread use of personal flotation devices. Now when you get 60 guys in a boat, racing each other and the red mist comes down, it no surprise to discover these guys can really motor. Three or four days of river racing, with several hundred boats: Up to 2 million spectators apparently though irresponsibly I didn't count last time.

Outcome of earlier suggestion:
I emailed John Welsford and had a very positive response. We discovered we have a mutual UK designer friend. Anyway, the 19' design request did not startle him - it seems it's not a million miles away from another design he has been requested to work on. Finger crossed they may share common ground.

Just to tempt people to the local sailing here - this is Koh Rung Sanleum, a 3-4 hour cruise away from Sihanoukville, the main port. It really is an idyllic weekend's trip away. The Bay of Thailand lies to the west, Cambodia directly to the east, so that large southern lagoon anchorage is shelterd from all sides.



Many thanks for the very helpful ideas posted. This hair-brained idea is actually going somewhere now. Hopefully more information to follow.

Rhoel.
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Old 29-06-2009, 05:28   #15
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... Just to tempt people to the local sailing here - this is Koh Rung Sanleum, a 3-4 hour cruise away from Sihanoukville, the main port. It really is an idyllic weekend's trip away. The Bay of Thailand lies to the west, Cambodia directly to the east, so that large southern lagoon anchorage is shelterd from all sides...
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Enjoy it while you can.

US CONSORTIUM PLANS US$100 MILLION CASINO RESORT FOR ISLANDS
new frontiers

THE Cambodian government is negotiating with a US-based business group, which proposes “large-scale’’ tourist development of two islands in the Gulf of Thailand, according to officials. Deputy Tourism Minister Thong Khon said Island Development Group Inc., a consortium from Las Vegas, Nevada, has proposed investing US$100 million to build a casino and hotel resort on Rung and Rung Sanleum islands.

The two islands are located about 30 kilometers west of Sihanoukville, a port city located 185 kms southwest of the capital Phnom Penh. “They have already submitted a development request and the government is studying it,’’ he said. He called the project a “professional one,’’ which will also include building an airport and other resort facilities on the islands.

No information was available about the US company. An official at the Cambodian Investment Board said the company signed a memorandum of understanding with the government in April and the two sides are now working on terms and conditions of a contract to lease the islands for 70 years. The official, who insisted on anonymity, characterized the proposal as “a large-scale investment’’ divided into 14 different development projects. He did not know when the projects would be launched.

Thong Khon said the government “is very keen on this plan. It will definitely benefit us because it would generate at least 10,000 jobs.’’

Tourism is a major source of hard currency for cash-strapped Cambodia, where some 36 percent of the mostly rural 12 million population live on less than a dollar a day.

“The islands have been courted by many companies already in the past, but I believe the investment by the American group is a real thing,’’ said Thong Khon.
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