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This page updated December 2018
Yachts planning to return to Australia from Asia
The challenge is getting to the east coast of Queensland late enough that the South East trades have lessened but before the cyclone season picks up. There is no doubt the rounding Cape York in early November is a suitable compromise while as late as the first week of December can still be OK but early tropical depressions and cyclones can develop at that time in the area. There are really only three or four basic routes that we are aware of and Jimmy Connell of Noonsite is often asked this question and his answers are similar.

Winds for the area can be studied on the Australian Bureau of Meteorology web site in their Archives Section , then select Analysis Chart Archive, then Gradient Wind Level Analysis for South East Asia and Western Pacific.
Option 1
Retrace the west bound Sail Indonesia route back through Indonesia clearing out at Kupang then head to Darwin. You can either head direct from Kupang to Darwin or track along the north coast of Timor until your reach the eastern end of the island before heading south. The currents in this area and around the tip of Timor are fierce. This route gives you a better sailing angle into the south east trades while the direct route from Kupang is almost head to wind and will involve some tacking. However once in Darwin the route to Gove is all upwind and you have to get out past Cape Don then head upwind to the Hole in the Wall then on to Gove. From there it is across the Gulf of Carpentaria then down the east coast of Queensland, all of this is upwind during October and November.
Option 2
Sail east through Indonesia and then clear out at Ambon then head for Gove or Thursday Island. This is also upwind although heading for Gove may give you a better sailing angle on the wind. In past years some yachts have reported this upwind sailing to Thursday Island very tough. If you have cleared out of Indonesia and wish to take a break on your passage east you can stopover in Dili in Timor Leste, please see the Sail Timor Leste web site for details about visiting Timor Leste with your yacht.
Option 3
Head east from Borneo or the Philippines and sail over the top of PNG staying north of the equator till far enough east that you can turn SW and sail against the South East Trades. This will take you a long way east past Bougainville Island as once you come south of the equator the SE trades hit you together with an an adverse current and it is hard yards. Whether to stop in various islands in Papua New Guinea including Manus and the Louisiades is an issue to do with security, timing and how much continuous sailing you wish to do. This last option could involve almost a month of continuous sailing if you do not wish to stop or island hop through Papua New Guinea islands.
Option 4
One final option is to clear out of Indonesia at Jayapura then sail north of Papua New Guinea via Pulau then south passing east of Papua New Guinea or the Solomon Islands before heading south.
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