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Old 02-10-2020, 01:59   #1
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Vietnam Malaysia Singapore Thailand

Hi I would be very happy to receive some advice on the following sailing plan:
I plan to sail next year from South Vietnam to East Malaysia, Singapore and Phuket.
Time window would be from August in Vietnam until arrival in Phuket around December.
With the shifting monsums, what would be the best month
1) To cross from Vietnam to East Malaysia?
2) To arrive in Singapore?
3) And to leave Singapore going up the Malacca straight

The general idea is to have only few night trips and anchor / be in marinas at night (of course except Vietnam to East Malaysia).

Any advice on the potential travel route ( arrive in Tioman or Terengganu coming from Vietnam) or alternate suggestions would be most welcome. Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-10-2020, 04:01   #2
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Re: Vietnam Malaysia Singapore Thailand

it is pretty much a crap shoot untill late november when the NE monsoon can start and bring squalls and strong winds
gulf of thailand can have strong SW winds then light and overcast,convection thunder and lightning,squalls etc
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Old 02-10-2020, 04:06   #3
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Re: Vietnam Malaysia Singapore Thailand

Quote:
Originally Posted by Winfried View Post
Hi I would be very happy to receive some advice on the following sailing plan:
I plan to sail next year from South Vietnam to East Malaysia, Singapore and Phuket.
Time window would be from August in Vietnam until arrival in Phuket around December.
With the shifting monsums, what would be the best month
1) To cross from Vietnam to East Malaysia?
2) To arrive in Singapore?
3) And to leave Singapore going up the Malacca straight.
Hmm ... perhaps we can start by clarifying terminology?

Malaysia can be thought of in two parts: West Malaysia; and East Malaysia.

East Malaysia is strictly compromised of two states - Sabah and Sarawak - and associated islands. The mainland portions of those two states are on the island of Borneo.

An additional island group, dominated by the island of Labuan, is v close to Borneo, but it is Federal Territory (i.e. not a state of Malaysia but a territory of Malaysia). Labuan is usually considered to be part of East Malaysia.

West Malaysia is made of a dozen states plus one territory on the Kra peninsula, also known as the Malay peninsula. That's the peninsula that runs from Thailand to Singapore, the peninsula that separates the Gulf of Thailand from the Malacca Strait and the Andaman Sea.

West Malaysia can then be divided into two coasts: the East coast stretching from the state of Kelantan to the state of Johor; and the West coast (forming one shore of the Malacca Strait) stretching from Johor to Perlis.

Methinks you are referring to the East Coast of West Malaysia when you write "East Malaysia", no?
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Old 02-10-2020, 04:08   #4
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Re: Vietnam Malaysia Singapore Thailand

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Methinks you are referring to the East Coast of West Malaysia when you write "East Malaysia", no?
If so, you have a choice of five entry ports: Kota Bharu, Kuala Terengganu, Kuantan, Mersing, and Pulau Tioman.
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Old 02-10-2020, 04:09   #5
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Re: Vietnam Malaysia Singapore Thailand

From what port in Viet Nam do you plan to depart?
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Old 02-10-2020, 04:18   #6
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Re: Vietnam Malaysia Singapore Thailand

The simple key to sailing in the area is understanding the four monsoons. As Atoll suggested, you might wish to target a departure from Viet Nam in November or December.

Two of the four monsoons are named by the prevailing wind: Southwest monsoon; and Northeast monsoon. In between those are two Intermediate monsoons.

The SW Monsoon and the Monsoon are not constant from year to year, in terms of wind strength. And each of those monsoons has its own mood, intensifying and weakening.

The SW Monsoon usually dwindles in mid- to late-September each year. And is followed, starting in mid- to late-September, by an Intermediate Monsoon.

Depending on the year, sailing in the late Intermediate Monsoon can be pleasant if slow or chaotic and stormy. Similarly, sailing in the first weeks of a NE Monsoon can be pleasant and even exhilirating, or chaotic and stormy.

Watching the monsoon develop is key. Predicting what happens in advance is rarely possible.
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Old 02-10-2020, 04:33   #7
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Re: Vietnam Malaysia Singapore Thailand

So let's take your August - December schedule and see how it might go.

I'll attach to this post 5 (five) graphics of surface streamlines, meaning wind streamlines at about 10 metres above sea level. That's a handy altitude, because 10 metres likely relates to the height of your sailplan.

I've chosen graphics from about the 20th day of each month, August through December.

Look in order at:

* wx20Aug.gif;
* wx24Sep.gif;
* wx22Oct.gif;
* wx19Nov.gif; and
* wx18Dec.gif.

So ... if you had those wind conditions, when would you want to:

(1) sail from Viet Nam to a port on the E coast of W Malaysia; and
(2) sail N along the Malacca Strait from Singapore to Phuket.
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Old 02-10-2020, 04:34   #8
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Re: Vietnam Malaysia Singapore Thailand

Hi Alan,
thanks for the fast post and detailled answer.

Yes, you are right. I mean the East Coast of West Malaysia. My boat shall be shipped on a vessel around April from Phuket to Europe and I am looking for a kind of safest approach to sail it from South Vietnam to Phuket. This could include the option to leave it for some time in a marina.
My understanding was that the East Coast of West Malysia (Tioman etc) is nice until early November which would require in order to benefit from this area to leave much earlier form Vietanm - but against the SW monsum?
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Old 02-10-2020, 11:45   #9
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Re: Vietnam Malaysia Singapore Thailand

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From what port in Viet Nam do you plan to depart?
Guessing a Seawind from Saigon.
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Old 02-10-2020, 12:01   #10
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Re: Vietnam Malaysia Singapore Thailand

My trip was a while ago but these items are still useful:
The Vietnamese island of dao Con Son is a sensitive area so give it a wide berth.
Tioman and Trenggano are beautiful and hospitable.
In Singapore, the anchorage/marina of choice was always the Yacht Club In Changi (Northeast). The new Marina Bay or Sentosa on the South side may be open to yachts and would be more convenient to town.
Avoid anchoring in the commercial harbors if you can. The third busiest harbor in the world has so much activity as to require constant vigilance. The lighters literally play bumper cars all day and all night.
The West side of Jurong used to have a special duty free port for sailing vessels from Kalimantan and Makassar. This is worth a look if you can find it. (pictures on request)
SouthEastAsiaNet, SEANET is still a great resource: 14.320 MHz at noon UCT.
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Old 02-10-2020, 13:46   #11
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Re: Vietnam Malaysia Singapore Thailand

As port of entrance on the east coast of the peninsula I can only recommend Terrenganu. Since I was there a bridge is erected between the harbour and the wavebreaker. If you can't wait its opening anchorage behind the breaker is just fine. After check-in there is nice island hopping from Pulau Redang and going on to Pulau Tioman. Just before Tioman there's a lovely natural heaven ideally under easterly winds (Pulau Tulai - among tourists Coral Island).

Immigration and customs are present in Tioman the marina are under renovation and upgrade. Actually no water or electricity is available at the pontoons but water is possible to get in the village.

Have a nice trip...

Yours Pierre (actually prohibited to go to my boat in Tioman due to Covid-19). 😱
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Old 03-10-2020, 06:34   #12
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Re: Vietnam Malaysia Singapore Thailand

Thanks for all the feedback and advice. Happy to learn more about the optimal months to arrive in Singapore and the optimal month to head north the Malacca straight with longer stays in Penang and Langkawi.
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Old 03-10-2020, 15:04   #13
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Re: Vietnam Malaysia Singapore Thailand

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Happy to learn more about the optimal months to arrive in Singapore and the optimal month to head north the Malacca straight with longer stays in Penang and Langkawi.
I am still waiting for you to answer my two multiple choice questions, posed above. Let me restate the two questions, given the streamline charts I have posted:

1. Which is the best month to sail from a port in Viet Nam to a port on the E coast of W Malaysia:
(a) August
(b) September
(c) October
(d) November
(e) December

2. Which is the best month to sail N along the Malacca Strait from Singapore to Phuket:
(a) August
(b) September
(c) October
(d) November
(e) December

As for ports, you may need to do some planning and advance booking for wet berths in one or two marinas.

I suggest:

(i) forget about berthing in Singapore. You can find less expensive berthing in Malaysia, travel by land to Singapore and then spend two or three days in Singapore while staying at a budget hotel;

(ii) for long stays in Malaysia, the best marinas are on the W coast of W Malaysia. I suggest you search for the websites of:

* Admiral Marina at Port Dickson;
* Pangkor Marina on Marina Island off the town of Lumut; and
* Straits Quay Marina on the N end of Penang island (for a catamaran, there is probably only one berth suitable. So you need to book well in advance).

In addition you need to consider which of the three marinas on Langkawi you might prefer.

Additional question: your vessel is equipped with AIS, no? The AIS is set up to broadcast your MMSI, yes?
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Old 04-10-2020, 01:29   #14
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Re: Vietnam Malaysia Singapore Thailand

Hi Alan,


thanks again for your answer and I missed that i had to answer the multilpy choice ....... On 1) it would be d and e and on 2) it would be b,d,e.



The challenge for me is that I do not want to stay from July (boat delivery) to November ( North East Monsum) in Vietnam. To benefit from the East Coast of West Malaysia and its islands I would need to cross from Vietnam to Terengganu latest early September, better in August ( against the prevailing winds). In October the season ends on the East Coast of West Malaysia. Which could result in moving up North the Malacca strait end September / October already.



On AIS which of course I will have - and it is a requirement in a number of countries with MMSI transmittal being normal. Any issues on this?
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Old 04-10-2020, 02:21   #15
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Re: Vietnam Malaysia Singapore Thailand

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thanks again for your answer and I missed that i had to answer the multilpy choice ....... On 1) it would be d and e and on 2) it would be b,d,e.
Top of the class. As my friend Atoll wrote, late November onwards is almost always safe for a voyage S from Viet Nam. If you watch the NE monsoon develop, you'll find opportunities in mid-November (as in 2005) or even some years in late October.

As for heading N up the Malacca Strait, I've done it in most every monsoon. In the NE monsoon, the Malacca Strait is in the lee of the peninsula (and the mountainous spine of that peninsula). Winds are often light. You can usually find a magic spot in the zone in between the shipping channel and the shore that has useful wind and is not too frequented by local small-scale fishers, trawlers, and so on.

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The challenge for me is that I do not want to stay from July (boat delivery) to November ( North East Monsum) in Vietnam. To benefit from the East Coast of West Malaysia and its islands I would need to cross from Vietnam to Terengganu latest early September, better in August ( against the prevailing winds). In October the season ends on the East Coast of West Malaysia. Which could result in moving up North the Malacca strait end September / October already.
Understood. If Simi 60, who boats in the same waters I do currently, is right with his guess, you'll be keen to move.

I suggest a slight re-think. I'd suggest considering:

* leave Viet Nam in November (use your time in sea trials if possible), then

* sail directly to the Singapore Strait and voyage directly to Admiral Marina, Port Dickson, on the W coast of W Malaysia. Enter and do CIQ formalities for Malaysia there.

* work your way N through the Malacca Strait, perhaps aiming to port at Pangkor Marina (which has boatyard/technical support), Straits Quay Marin in Penang, and one of the marinas in Langkawi.

Assuming that you get permission to enter Malaysia, any of those marinas gives you a comfortable base for (1) land travel to enjoy Singapore, or various parts of Malaysia; (2) opportunities to enjoy Malaysia and its friendly people and tropical fruits; and (3) opportunities for provisioning, repairs and modifications.

In Penang you can find the Thai consulate-general to get visa etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Winfried View Post
On AIS which of course I will have - and it is a requirement in a number of countries with MMSI transmittal being normal. Any issues on this?
No issues. Just checking that you have AIS. If you port in Singapore, AIS is a must.

My suggestion avoids the E coast of W Malaysia. If it happens to be a strong NE monsoon, that E coast is a lee shore. And can be nasty (local fisher do not go out in the nasty conditions). If I were you - effectively forced by the situation to sail to a schedule - I'd be wary of getting into port on the E coast and suddenly finding yourself embayed there if a strong pulse of the NE monsoon came along.

If you've a strong desire to visit certain places on the E coast, such as the traditional wooden boat builders in Terengganu or the traditional weavers in Kelantan, for example, you can always visit by land from the W coast (and see wild elephants, ride the jungle railway etc).

Once you are in the Malacca Strait, in the NE monsoon the worst that can happen is to be becalmed. But if your boat is what Simi 60 guessed, then you'll do well in the light winds and you'll be able to anchor close in if you need the shelter.

I recognise that my suggested voyage sets you up to do several days of 24 hours on your first leg. And that it's always best to voyage through the Singapore Strait during daylight and when all hands are available to keep watch (if you use one of the AIS watching websites such as Marine Traffic, you'll get a handle on how busy the Singapore Strait is at the moment. The Covid crisis has depressed global trade, so the Singapore Strait may be much less busy than its peak - when the cargo ships are spaced only 10 minutes apart).
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