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Home » Weather and Routing » Sailing West- East Darwin to Cairns

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29/10/2011 08:49:25

Richard Beaumont<br>Thailand
Richard Beaumont

Posts: 2
I am intending to sail my yacht from Darwin over the top through the Northern Territories to Cairns in June/July 2012 I would appreciate any info on weather patterns,entry restrictions,yacht clubs or marinas if they exist on this route.
I understand Gove Yacht club hosts a rally 'over the top'in July each year but I dont know which way west-east or east- west it goes and the email address for them has failed.
Dick Beaumont
SY Moonshadow
21/11/2011 11:15:37

David Clowes<br>Australia
David Clowes

Posts: 1
Hi Richard,
I did this in May/June 2009. The general weather pattern is against you - easterlies or SSE across the top and SE up to 35kn or more down the east coast. I wanted to get down south as fast as I could.

I went straight from Darwin to Gove under Croker Is, through the 'hole in the wall'. Anchored outside the Gove yacht club and refueled at the Perkins wharf the next morning. Headed off straight away and had a good quiet run across the gulf. I was prepared to head a little south into the gulf if it meant gaining a beam reach.

Headed for Seisia as AQIS have no requirements. [They do if you intend coming into TI] Stayed in Seisia for a few days until I got a quietish weather window to run to Morris Island. Next to Stanley anchorage. Next to Cape Flattery, Then to Hope Is. After that, straight to trinity inlet. I had a good set of sailing but pretty much as expected, a close beat and plenty of water across the bow. I went when the weather was advantageous or kept pushing it to get somewhere before a strong breeze set against me.

The 'Over the To'p rally, I think goes the wrong way.

It was a great trip, good luck.
edited by David Clowes
Australia on 21/11/2011
26/01/2012 10:31:49

Don Amoore<br>Australia
Don Amoore

Posts: 3
Hi, I have a post going asking info for the same trip. I am thinking of going NE out of Singapore up to KK and then over the top of Borneo, Indonesia, Irian Jaya and New Guinea and continuing along the equator till I have a tack to lay Honiara. from there it is a tight reach to Bundaberg. No one has replied. Have you any thoughts on this plan rather than tackling Torres Strait upwind and up current?
Cheers, Don
01/04/2012 16:53:17

Glynn Craig<br>Malaysia
Glynn Craig

Posts: 1
I have done virtually the same trip, from KK to Palau then across the top of PNG stopping at Kavieng, New Ireland, then onto the Solomons and down through the Louisiades to enter Australia at Cairns. Then you can hop down the coast when the weather is right. We had friends who opted to go to Vanuatu instead of the Louisiades and they ended up in Darwin!! We also have friends who did the same trip over the top of Borneo, down the E coast across to Sulawesi and then Kavieng, Solomons and Vanuatu. I remember that we left in July from Palau and were in Cairns by Oct/Nov. Not much wind and lots of squalls but still I think easier than trying to get from Singapore to Aus through Indonesia but much longer of course. The other advantage is that the Solomons are out of the cyclone belt so you can stop there if you get delayed.
Do you know if anyone has done Singapore to Australia through Indonesia and what time of the year they went. My son is thinking of bringing his cat from SA to Aus and we are still trying to sort out a route? Any advice will be appreciated.
02/04/2012 02:27:48

Don Amoore<br>Australia
Don Amoore

Posts: 3
I have tentatively decided to go from Singapore south of Borneo and Sulawesi then NE to go over the top of New Guinea and long the equator till I can lay the Solomons. Then down to Bundaberg.Wish us luck!
From South Africa there seems to be two options.
One, travel east along the top of the Roaring Forties to Perth then across the south of Oz, either south of Tasmania or thru Bass`Strait, then up along the east coast.
Two -go west, Rio, The Panama Canal and the milk run across the Pacific - much more pleasant and interesting.
29/04/2012 13:24:24

David Bowden<br>Australia
David Bowden

Posts: 9
I have posted an article on returning from Borneo to the East Coast of Australia which covers much of the detail requested in this post. In can be found on the Countries (Indonesia/Malaysia) section. I discuss the various option briefly and there is a link to another trip article I did in 2010 which was published in Cruising Helmsman. In 2010 I tracked and monitored several yachts heading back to NZ and Australia (Aug-Nov) and they generally had a miserable time going over the top of PNG and then the Louisiades and down to Qld. A few years earlier a Kiwi couple went from The Philippines, Helens Reef then north of the equator to catch the east setting equatorial current till east of Bougainville then turning south but in their words they should have gone further east before heading south (bad current and strong SE winds). This trip was done earlier in the year but with the aim of leaving Now Caledonia in Oct/Nov for NZ.

There are several yachts coming back along the route described in my post starting 2012 from Tawa about early to mid September to be in Gove by mid Nov then round Cape York and down the Australian East Coast. This is day hopping relaxed route with only a few over night sails - see the article for full discussion. The SE trades are starting to abate by Nov but you need to wait for suitable weather patterns over southern Australia as this is the driving force of the SE trades. In 2010 we had a very settled weather pattern which allowed us to cross the Gulf of Carpentaria by motor sailing in 2 days. This was a bit unusual and 2011 was more characteristic. It is not much help going to Darwin as you still have to head upwind to Gove at some stage. It is best to stay north (eg Aru Islands in Indonesia) before heading to Gove (a 2 night one tack sail to the Hole in The Wall).

Happy to discuss further after you have read the articles.


Dave Bowden

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