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Old 25-04-2009, 08:54   #1
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Borneo to Pattaya Sailing Time

Contemplating a first-time blue-water solo sail run from Borneo to Pattaya, Thailand. Boat would be a Mason 33. For anyone who has done that or similar run, about how much time should I allocate for that trip under "average" conditions. And is there a recommended time to do it (or not do it)?

Thanks in advance.

S.
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Old 25-04-2009, 10:43   #2
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Haven't done that particular route but have sailed in area. You didn't say where in Borneo you planned to leave from. It makes a difference, since Borneo is huge.

Assuming you're planning to leave from the nearest large port, Pontianak, and heading direct for Pattaya, the distance is about 800nm. Figure in a Mason 33 about 100nm per day in good conditions, or 8 days sailing.

Weather in the region is conditioned by two distinctive monsoon seasons: (1) the NE Monsoon which brings generally wet conditions (rainy season) and; (2) the SE/SW Monsoon which generally brings drier/dry conditions (the dry season).

If your route is to be from the western tip of Borneo, your course to Pattaya will be a bit west of north, so the SE/SW Monsoon (late May to September) would be more favorable, with drier conditions and with winds generally abaft the beam.

Lots of small islands in between, so you'll want to plan your route carefully.

The Java Sea in that season can be fitful...lots of calms punctuated by thunderstorms. Also, you can't rule out the presence of 'unfriendlies' in the area. Suggest you consult the NoonSight website and other online sources for more details. Also, the Sailing Directions for the area. These include descriptions of the ports and islands along the way, weather conditions, etc.

For example, the Sailing Directions for NW Borneo say this about the weather:
Quote
The Southeast Monsoon sets in over the S part of the strait in
April, blowing from the NE to SE. Calms and NW winds are
sometimes felt. This unsettled weather lasts until June, when
the wind begins to blow with some regularity from SE,
occasionally shifting to the SW. At night during June, the wind
is mostly E to SE, but it also blows from the S and SW. These
winds will bring in a swell and, blowing in opposition to the
prevailing S currents, produce a short and troubled sea.
9.1 In September and October there is a decrease in wind and
sea, and changing to S and W in November, and in December
from SW to NW. These winds cannot be relied upon.
9.1 The Northwest Monsoon is at its height in January and blows
from the NW. Heavy squalls, rain, and heavy seas occur and
then begin to abate in February. Light breezes from NW to NE
and E occur in March.
9.1 December to March are considered the rainy months, but
there are showers in all other months. July to September can be
termed the dry season. Squalls and thunderstorms occur in
December.
9.1 In the N part of the strait the force of the wind is less.
9.1 The monsoons from N and SSW are variable and depend on
the strength of the wind circulation in the Celebes Sea and the
Java Sea. The seasons are not well defined and plenty of rain
occurs.
9.1 The SSW winds commence in May. These veer occasionally
to W and NW and are variable and unsteady. The monsoon is at
its height from June to September, and SSW winds prevail both
day and night.
9.1 In October, the monsoon decreases in force and is lowest in
November, the wind sometimes veering to the N and NE. In
December the general direction is NW, in January N, and in
February NNE winds blow, decreasing in April when calms... Unquote

Hope that helps a bit.

Bill
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Old 21-05-2009, 10:09   #3
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Isn't the area a bit volatile what with piracy? I know it's highly inadvisable to travel by land from Malaysia to Thailand.
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Old 21-05-2009, 10:30   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterevr View Post
Isn't the area a bit volatile what with piracy? I know it's highly inadvisable to travel by land from Malaysia to Thailand.
There's piracy, particularly in isolated areas, though an English fellow was killed aboard his boat a couple of months back near Phuket. The guys who did it were three young Burmese who claimed to be desperate, escaping from near slavery on a Thai fishing boat. It's plausible, but no consolation to the man's family, obviously.

There's some risk on the road trip from Thailand to Malaysia because of a festering insurgency. I was down to the border in December on a motorcycle and it was fine on the Sathun side. If you go farther east, into the provinces of Yala, Narathiwat, and Pattani, the risk escalates quite a bit.
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Old 22-05-2009, 03:43   #5
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I remember back in the 90s it was still inadvisable to travel from Thailand to Malaysia by land unless you went with a large group due to banditry along that area.
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