IN Sri Lanka to Maldives

Best time:

January to March

Tropical storms:



BA: 4707 US: 707


BA: 38 US: 173






Distance (M)

IN241 Galle W

IN242 North Male

IN243 Malé E

Malé 1


6r01'N, 8013'E

4'18'N, 73'40'E

4'10'N. 73a33'E

4'10'N,-. 73'30'E

Best time: July to September

Tropical storms: May to November

Charts: BA: 4707 US: 707

Cruising guides: Phuket and Malacca Straits Guide.

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Departure Intermediate Landfall Destination Distance (M)

IN251 Galle SE IN252 Dondra 5'58'N, 80'15'E 5'50'N, 80'35'E IN253 Nicobar 6'15'N. 95'10'E IN254 Malacca N 5'00'N, 99'W'E

IN255 IN256 Channel W Singapore 1514





Distance (M)

Knute 1N25B

IN251 Gall

IN252 Dondra IN253 Nicobar

IN257 Penang N 5°30'N. 100'15'E


5'25'N, 100'20.5'E

IN251 Galle SE

IN252 Dondra IN253 Nicobar IN254 Malacca N ■

IN258 Klanq N

3*20x101 WE

Port Klang 3 WW, 101'24'E


The recommended time for this passage is during the SW monsoon, although at its height the winds may be rather too strong. The transition months may provide better sailing conditions, but they also carry the higher risk of cyclones. Although the cyclone season in the Bay of Bengal extends over the entire SW monsoon period, at the height of the monsoon the development of tropical storms is opposed by the strong monsoon; the few cyclones between July and September normally stay well to the north of the area crossed by this route.

In the Malacca Strait the SW monsoon is usually blocked by the land mass of Sumatra and better winds are therefore found on the Malaysian side of the strait. Sailing along that shore is in any case recommended as one can clear into Malaysia at a number of ports, whereas a stop in Sumatra necessitates the compulsory Indonesian cruising permit. The one notable exception is Sabang, on Pulau We, a small island off the northern tip of Sumatra where boats have been allowed to stop briefly even without a permit. Because of the strong tidal currents in Malacca Strait, it is usually better to anchor between tides. The SW winds are strongest in the northern portions of the Malacca Strait, variable from SE to SW with calms in the centre, and more SE in southern areas towards Singapore.

Sea and land breezes occur on either coast and up to 20 miles offshore. The sea breeze begins about mid-morning and reaches a maximum in the afternoon, dying away at sunset. The strength of the breeze can be augmented to 20 knots if it combines with the prevailing monsoon. On the Malaysian coast the night land breeze can be very strong, starting in the evening and sometimes blowing hard all night. Between April and November the area is affected by sumatras, thundery storms with gale force winds, which blow across from Sumatra and last for several hours.

Having left Galle harbour through the Eastern Channel, from WP IN251 the route follows Sri Lanka's south coast to WP IN252, off Dondra Head, the southern tip of the island. The route then crosses the Bay of Bengal to WP IN253, south of Great Nicobar Island. If the intention is to sail nonstop to Singapore, the course should be altered for WP IN254 at the entrance into Malacca Strait. The offshore route (IN25A) continues to WPs IN255 and IN256, at the entrance into the Singapore Channel. The new Raffles Marina, on the west shore of Singapore Island, is the best place to stop in this extremely busy port.

Boats intending to visit some of Malaysia before reaching Singapore can clear in at Penang (IN25B). From WP IN253, the course should be altered for WP IN257, at the entrance into North Channel leading to Georgetown, the main town on the island. The customs office is in Georgetown, whereas the immigration office is on the mainland, at Butterworth. When leaving Penang, boats must not pass under the bridge joining Penang to the mainland without written permission.

Alternatively, boats intending to sail direct to Port Klang (IN25C) from WP IN254 should alter course for WP IN258, at the northern entrance into Klang Strait. This leads into Port Klang, which serves Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur. Visiting boats may use the facilities of the Royal Selangor Yacht Club in Port Klang, located on the eastern shore of the harbour.

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