By Captain Raymond La Fontaine.
Best Times: heading
WEST ABOUT-May to December
EAST ABOUT March to May
NOTES: The times above indicate the best times based on 3 factors.
1. The South EAST Trade winds (at their strongest from Jun to November)
2. The North West Trade winds (their strongest between January to March)
3. Negotiating a cyclone season from December to April.
Both Trades establishing themselves depending on the location of the shifting convergence zone based on the earths tilt between the poles (summer to winter) and it should be noted that there is a delayed effect based on local sea temperature and current flow.
This period is known as the tropical transition period before and after both trade wind seasons.
For all intensive purposes it can be said this period is normally a month preceding and proceeding the known respective trade season (see as above).
Normally light winds will be encountered. ( expect a lot of motoring and slight seas )
While the Indonesian archipelago has no recorded cyclones because of its proximity to the equator, the Timor and Arafura Sea are known regions for cyclones that are prevalent between December and end of April.
Modern weather routing can determine a window for opportunity of up to ten days.
We recommend Rodger Clouds Badham
There are two suggested routes plans to two destinations if a boat wants to avoid strong 20/25 knot east about head winds and currents during the South East Monsoon.
Destination One -Lombok to Darwin
1. Boats are best to gather at Marina Del Ray between December to March to prepare for their journey east to Darwin Australia. This presumes yachts leaving south east Asia (Phuket, Malaysia or Singapore wanting to make full use of a North west Trades and sail downwind during November to March.
2. Boats should be ready to leave the Marina and be prepared to standby on the most eastern island of Indonesia that is closest to Darwin Australia called Roti island 10,47,489S & 123,1,454 E nearing the end of Cyclone season at the end of April early May.
3. Boats should be prepared to anchor on the western or eastern side of the island depending on local wind conditions and be satisfied of a window without cyclones to transit the 485 NM journey to Darwin.
4. Once in Darwin Boats should be prepared to cross the Gulf around the second week of May in the Transition period before the south east trades re-establish and at the time of the year that the cyclone season has ended.
Destination Two – Lombok to Cape York
Not much can be said about this route other than to Sail as close to the south Coast of Iran Jaya and follow a south east course along Papua New Guinea until it’s safe to merge with Cape York. The Sail is a tough one and should not be undertaken unless you are well prepared to sail the 1000 NM journey in potentially only two stops. This route essentially leaves the cyclone region to your starboard side but leaving the winds typically behind with the North West Monsoon.
Best time is at the end of the transition of the North West Monsoon but keeping a keen eye on potentially any late forming cyclones. Expect large seas and fishing nets, we do not recommend this leg, unless for experienced crews.
Next feature will be the best time to migrate from the Pacific to Indonesia stay tuned.