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Old 22-09-2014, 11:22   #1
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Good sailing in Malaysis and Thailand?

What are the options as far as sailing in Malaysia and Thailand? I will be working in Malaysia for about two years and would love to gain more experience and see the beautiful countries. It looks like there are some charter companies there. I have chartered in the BVI twice. I know the tidal range is greater in Asia. There is also a RYA school there. What are the cruising grounds like? How does it compare to the BVI? I just returned from 15 months in the Philippines so I am aware of some of the cultural differences. Any insight is welcome
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Old 22-09-2014, 12:36   #2
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Note to self: red, right, returning does not apply in ether country. They are both region A, the opposite is true.
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Old 22-09-2014, 12:41   #3
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Sorry for the poorly structured questions and the spelling;-)
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Old 22-09-2014, 13:12   #4
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Re: Good sailing in Malaysis and Thailand?

Not quite as windy as BVI.

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Old 22-09-2014, 17:23   #5
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Re: Good sailing in Malaysis and Thailand?

Our short time cruising in this area meant we used the engine lots. Malaysia is called the Land Beneath the Wind and is well named. Light airs and iron head sails pretty much the norm. Suggest you look at the Crystal Blues blog sight for lots of info on these areas.

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Old 22-09-2014, 23:38   #6
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I wondered about that while the Philippines. Except for the frequent typhoons, the wind seemed lacking. Thanks for the link. I will check it out.
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Old 23-09-2014, 00:05   #7
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Thanks for that! While in the Philippines the wind did seam lacking except for the frequent typhoons. I'll check out the link.
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Old 23-09-2014, 00:41   #8
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Re: Good sailing in Malaysis and Thailand?

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Originally Posted by sapient sue View Post
Malaysia is called the Land Beneath the Wind and is well named.
Hmm ... not exactly true.

Sabah, also called North Borneo, is the "Land below the Winds". And the moniker, given by sailors on tea clippers and similar, may have referred to Sabah being south of the typhoon belt, the latitudes of starting with the southern limit of cyclogenesis in both the NW Pacific and the South China Sea and from there N to Japan and Korea.

Sabah is one of three parts of East Malaysia (Sabah + Labuan + Sarawak = East Malaysia; peninsular Malaysia = West Malaysia; East Malaysia + West Malaysia = Malaysia).

Part of understanding sailing in Malaysia (and Singapore) is understanding the seasons or mausim (monsoon, in English).

The seasons in Malaysia are not the canonical spring, summer, autumn, and winter of Europe.

Instead the monsoons are defined by the prevailing wind direction: Northeast monsoon (December to mid or late-March); first Inter-monsoon (late March - late May); Southwest Monsoon (June - late September); second Inter-Monsoon (late September - November).

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Old 23-09-2014, 01:32   #9
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Re: Good sailing in Malaysis and Thailand?

Another blog of a boat that has been in the area recently:

Behan Gifford | Sailfeed
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Old 23-09-2014, 05:45   #10
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Re: Good sailing in Malaysis and Thailand?

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I know the tidal range is greater in Asia. ... I just returned from 15 months in the Philippines so I am aware of some of the cultural differences.
I've not cruised BVI, but just in Selatan Melaka/the Malacca Straits the tidal range varies from 1.8 m around Melaka to 4 m at the northern approach to North Port in Port Klang.

As for culture, I'm no cultural expert but I have cruised and visited a few island in the Philippines and am currently cruising the Malacca Strait coast of West Malaysia. And I reckon the culture of the Philippines is quite different that that in West Malaysia.

As Filinos (or at least Tagalogs) would say, the Philippines spent hundred of years in a convent (colonial rule by Spain, subcontracted to Mexico for some of the time), 50 years ruled by Hollywood (or at least the USA), and a few years as part of the Great East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere of Dai Nippon.

The result of course a mixed culture - the provinces are not the same as the big urban centres of Metro Manila and Cebu. But the core is a moral culture that is very accommodating.

West Malaysia is not like that. And not uniform. Penang, Dindings, and Melaka were British Straits Colonies that were essentially rational capitalist economies. The other states were sultanates, religio-feudal moral economies owned and ruled by individual sultans. Most of the other states were Malay sultanates, although Bugis and Minangkabau were significant - the current prime minister of Malaysia is one of the six Bugis princes; Negri Sembilan has more significant Minangkabau cultural influence than some of the other states. West Malaysia had a nasty civil war in the 1950s to the early 1960s - it was called the Emergency rather than a war so insurance cover on factories, plantations, and businesses would not be voided. During that civil war, the Brits happily did the IS thing of beheading people and the My Lai thing of wiping out entire villages. Of course, it's also worth mentioning that in the supposed struggle to get independent of Britain, one of the local heroes killed the British Resident when the Resident was in the bathtub. Rumour is (but never spoken publicly in Malaysia) the real reason the local hero killed the Resident was that the Brits were cramping the hero's slavery operation!

The differences are clear, for example:

* something like 70% of Western males visiting the Philippines buy sex at least once. In Malaysia, fraternising with a Malay female would attract the attention of the religious police. And visiting a Chinese or Indian operated night club to play with the China- or Vietnam-imported GROs could see you detained during a police raid.

* look at the politics. The Philippines has recovered from a nasty dictatorship, but kleptocracy is alive in politics. Nevertheless a version of popular democracy (People Power) has seen the people force political power to change twice: once to end the Marcos dictatorship and once to force a president from office. Presidents are, at least for now, limited to one term only. Look at the name and personalities of the presidents: Aquino (whose mother was a Cojuangco, a descendant of a Chinese immigrant as shown by that -co ending; previous president was a Macapagal, one of the few elite local families that were so noble and powerful the Spanish did not force them to take a Spanish name. Most everyone else had to choose a family name from the census list of Spain - in parts of Luzon, you can find a village where all the old families have, for example, Spanish surnames starting with P. And the next village has surnames starting with Q). In Malaysia, one political coalition has been in power for just over 57 years - no change in power at the federal level. So Malaysia fails the rule-of-thumb test for a democracy that should have had at least two changes of political party in power. A Sedition Act, initially established by the British colonisers as part of their divide and rule bag of tricks, is still in place and used to discipline opposition politicians that criticise the governing party in public. I'd go on, but I'm in Malaysian waters and do not want to tall afoul of the Sedition Act either.

Al
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Old 23-09-2014, 13:07   #11
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Re: Good sailing in Malaysis and Thailand?

FWIW.....We were fortunate enough to have lived, worked,.. and sailed in the PI for about 10 years. My work had me routinely traveling to Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and other parts of Asia, and as a sailor I tended to gravitate towards the marinas, the water, and the chandleries in all those locations. We thought the sailing/limited cruising we did around the PI was nothing short of excellent!!! But I must say, we're both from MN, and lake sailing is all we'd ever known(a 19' MC Scow was the biggest we'd ever sailed before we got to the PI). We routinely sailed from Subic Bay (in the north) to as far south as Cebu and El Nido for nearly 10 years....and never had a problem or issue, except to have excellent sailing and sightseeing. A lot of basic living, and..."if you can't stand the answer don't ask the question"...but we loved it. We=just me and my wife on our 43' boat, and we do not speak Tagalog, or Visian(sp?), or any of the other dialects. Once we retired, we sailed from there to Singapore, then on to Langkawi, then on to Phuket were we put our 25-year old boat into a 10 mo drydock refit. Once complete we sailed the local Phuket area for some months, then loaded onto a freighter and moved to the Medd...(We're now 3 seasons into working our way back to the Caribbean). Sailing in Turkey and Greece is very good, and we loved it....but except for the fact that Asia is so far from home, we'd both go back there (Thailand, Malaysia, and the PI in a heartbeat. We think the sailing there is the best we've ever enjoyed, and we loved it. If you're being posted there for work, and will be there for a few years, buy a boat, fix it up as you prefer to have it(based on our experience the work is top notch, and the prices are as low as you'll ever find), and sail the local area. We'd typically "massage" my work schedule to make our annual month vacation period extend to approx. 8 weeks, and spend 7 weeks and 6 days out ..."in the system" every year. The "rainy" season is just that, and it's not a lot of fun to be out then. But the other 6-7 months are spot-on.....some days more windy than others, but still good days to be out. And the abundance of islands, coral, good fishing, friendly cruisers and locals, etc,etc,etc....it would b e a shame to miss out on. From personal experience I can highly recommend sailing the western Malaysia and Thailand areas.
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Old 23-09-2014, 14:05   #12
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Re: Good sailing in Malaysis and Thailand?

great posts alan mighty and sail crazy,these are my observations from sailing the area as well.
as long as you are prepared to move with the changing monsoon you have a wealth of great cruising,also having a shallow draft and beachable vessel this will greatly enhance the options of where you can visit and also afford a degree of protection if you are in the philipines during a typhoon.
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Old 23-09-2014, 20:53   #13
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Wow, thanks for the in depth replies! You guys are much better at answering questions then I am at asking! I will have to study you responses. I have experienced the monsoon seasons described. Boy, can it rain! I will have 14 off days every 3 months so I assumed just chartering or a sailing school may be the best way to go. (I have a lot to learn) however buying something there is worth investigating. I hope to retire at the end of my contract so buying there, outfitting there, sailing there for some period of time, and then shipping it home or to the Caribbean makes good sense. Labor is much cheaper there! I will be in Lumut on the west coast just South of Langkawi. I very much enjoyed my time in the Philippines and hope to enjoy Malaysia just as much! Thank you again and Salamat Po!
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Old 23-09-2014, 21:56   #14
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Re: Good sailing in Malaysis and Thailand?

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I have experienced the monsoon seasons described. Boy, can it rain! ... I will be in Lumut on the west coast just South of Langkawi. ... Thank you again and Salamat Po!
Monsoon is just an English distortion of mausim [season]. Rain can occur in any season. The connection with rain is the historical experience of English colonists in India and the SW monsoon.

From Langkawi to Lumut is at least 130 nautical miles in a straight line. I would be prepared to say that Pulau Payar is "just" S of Langkawi, but I reckon it's a stretch to describe Lumut (in Perak state and the major base for the Malaysian Navy) in those terms.

If you don't know already, you'll soon discover that although Malay and Pilipino languages all belong to the Malayo-Polynesian family, the uses of 'Salamat' in Pilipino and 'Selamat' in Malay are quite different although the core meaning of 'security, peace, safety, submission' are common. Both words are of course imports from Arabic - that's the same SLM you see in Islam, Muslim etc.

Can you use 'po' unless you know my age and social status? No need to grovel and humble yourself if you come from a rational economy (in contrast to a moral economy).

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Old 24-09-2014, 00:12   #15
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Al, thank you for your gentle correction. I did not mean to grovel, however I am humbled by you thoughtful responses. I know very little about the people or the history of Malaysia, in fact I know little of the Philippines history. I did get to know a lot of people there and made a lot of very good friends. I hope I fit in as well in Lumut. Am I correct that the best sailing in the malacca straits is durning the northeast mausim? (December to march)
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