Sail Malaysia Rally 2016

We decided to join the 'Sail Malaysia 2016' rally as the Sail2Indonesia Rally was winding up. Seemed that quite a few people continue on to the next rally and we are very glad we decided to join in.

This rally has a much quicker time frame and shorter distance traveled. It commences at Puteri Harbour Marina and concludes at Langkawi. The start date is November 7 and finish date is December 7 2016. Only 5 stops in this rally:

Stop One: Puteri Harbour Marina in Johor Bahru.  Nov 7 - 10
Stop Two: Admiral Marina in Port Dickson Nov 13 - 16
Stop Three: Pangkor Marina, Pangkor Marina Island. Nov 20 - 24
Stop Four: Pulau Jerejak at Penang. Nov 26
Stop Five: Straits Quay Marina at Penang Nov 27 – Dec 1
Stop Six: Rebak Marina at Langkawi Dec 5 – 8

The following is our journey on the Sail Malaysia rally in 2016. Remember that this account is our own and at the time of writing this is how it was. Please keep in mind, you could be reading this a year later, even 10 years later and things may have changed at each anchorage considerably. You are well advised to research all your own anchorages.

November 1, 2016.
We arrived at Puteri Harbour Marina. 01 25.12N & 103 39.49E
We found after crossing the Singapore Straits the marina was actually not on our chart plotter or our Open CPN. Not much information on our paper chart either. However, once we went under the bridge – clearance is said to be 25 meters at HAT, we just kept going up the inlet and the marina entrance is no problems. The opening is wide and has a huge sign out the front saying: Puteri Harbour Marina. The VHF radio call on 18 to confirm our berth was difficult to hear but we got there in the end. The staff were on the dock to catch our lines and we made in safely.

The marina is located well and has many services for you to enjoy. We spent 9 days in the marina which was well priced. However, the marina is very hot. If you prefer to anchor out, many boats did as the marina has some man made pockets for anchoring not one person had any problems.

At Puteri we checked into Malaysia which was very easy. The marina took us in a little mini bus (we could have walked) over to the International Terminal, our passports where stamped and off went back to our boats.

To do shopping here you need to hire a car to take you to one of the shopping malls. We all went to Tesco and apart from the taxi drivers on the way home, who didn’t want to charge the same after seeing our purchases, it was a relatively easy task.

We got 3 4.5kg gas bottles filled here with no problems. However, some boats were not successful with the response of the marina being they ran out of gas, so some missed out. Nobody believed this explanation, believing more so that it was just getting to hard for them as they were swamped with gas bottles. It was the first time we had a chance to refill our gas bottles.

While in Puteri most of the fleet went over to Singapore for a visit. Some went in a taxi, which also did the visa run for them (all happens in the seat of the taxi) and the rest went on a bus which we did and it took hours and hours and was very confusing. Luckily we were adopted by a local man and he helped us. If we did this again, we would take a taxi and the instruction is to ask them to take you directly to the Malaysian Taxi Rank, this seems to include the run directly via Customs. From there you grab another taxi to your hotel.

November 10, 2016
We departed Puteri Harbour and did a sail sail to Pulau Pisang for the night. Anchored in 12 meters at 01 27. 94N & 103 16.20E.
On our way to Admiral Marina at Port Dickson we decided to break the trip into 2 day sails, as night sailing is not encouraged in these waters. The anchorage at Pulau Pisang was great. The island looked very pretty with a light house on it. You are able to go ashore here for a walk around. We would highly recommend this as a stopover.

November 11, 2016
Day sail from Pulau Pisang to Pulau Besar. Anchored in 4.7 meters at 02 06.34N & 102 20.16E.
The anchorage was another good choice. Apparently the island belongs (at the time we were there) to a Sultan and all access is denied. There were some fantastic rock formations and very large boulders n the water in our anchorage, but they are towards to the power lines. Some boats went in quite close, so it’s a good place to tuck into.

November 12, 2016
Day sail from Pulau Besar to Admiral Marina. 02 28.76N & 101 50.68E

This marina is very tight and very badly marked with regards to finding your berth allocation. That said the facilities are fantastic. We had full run of the pool which we all used every day and the bar is lovely. The building is magnificent to walk around.

We had been advised we could anchor in the marina basin. This information we found confusing. Once you are inside the marina wall, there is no anchorage. The anchorage is outside and quite exposed. However, many boats couldn’t secure a berth and no choice and they had no problems outside at anchor.

We found if we walked out of the marina and walked about 20 minutes up the road (you turn right at the end) and keep walking up there are two lots of shops with laundry services, basic supplies and very good cafes. We enjoyed the Indian and Chinese restaurants a few times.

This is a great location to visit Kuala Lumpur, Melaka & Batu Caves and do local tours. A very interesting place with loads of history.

November 18, 2016
Departed Admiral Marina and day sailed to Port Klang. Anchored in 9.5 meters at 03 03.94N & 101 20.08E.
This was a good run. Running up the Strait of Klang is incredible. The port is mindbogglingly busy. Defiantly worth seeing. The anchorage was secure and out of the way of any shipping movements. The current does run strong here, make sure your anchor is well dug in.

November 19, 2016
Day sailed to Bernam River. Anchored in 3.5 meters at 03 50.79N & 100 49.45E.
What a treat this place was. As you enter the Bernam River, a whole new world opens up and is amazing. We would like to go back here to investigate more. The entrance is however shallow, use high tide if you can. We did enter at mid to low tide and had only just enough water under our 2 meter keel.

Once inside anchor as close the bank as you feel comfortable. There is a lot of fishing boats moving here and they are huge boats. We had read that a few yachts had been hit here but we have no details. Again the current runs really strong so dig your anchor in well.

All the fishing boats have AIS’s on them and display the correct lights. This is the first time in Asian waters we saw this.

November 20, 2016
Day sailed to Pangkor Marina anchorage. Anchored in 6.5 meters at 04 12.59N & 100 35.67E.
This anchorage is fantastic. Follow the lead way points in. it is shallow and we are sure we skimmed in but once your closer to the island a hole opens up and seems quite large. We all anchored in that. Going in and out of the marina is easy by tender.

Day tours here to Ipoh, Kek Lok Tong cave temple and Kellies Castle and surrounds are a must see. Fantastic locations. Aeon shopping centre is only about 20 minutes down the road and well worth going if you need supplies.

November 25, 2016
Departed Pangkor anchorage and day sailed to Pulau Talang. Anchored in 8.5 meters at 04 25.37N & 100 34.65E.
A short run to this island. It’s very well protected and you can safely go between the mainland and the island. The run is worth it as it takes a few hours off the next day’s run. Talang looked very interesting if you’re a kayak paddler to go investigate. Very good anchorage.

November 26, 2016
Day sailed to Pulau Jerejak. Anchored in 8.5 meters at 05 18.57N & 100 18.24E.
What a treat this anchorage is. Its very well protected and a great location with regards to heading ashore. The bus service at Penang is fantastic and easy to work with. If you do anchor here go close to the main land as comfortable. At the time of our anchoring the government was reclaiming land and the enormous sand moving ships were moving in and out of this anchorage as they cannot go around the northern end of Jerejak (it’s too shallow). You don’t want to be collected by one of these giants!

November 27, 2017
Sailed to Straits Quay Marina anchorage, Penang. Anchored in 5 meters at 05 27.69N & 100 18.96E.
This anchorage while in a good location to the marina, is very exposed to the north, east and somewhat to the south. One day we had a huge storm come in from the north and quite a few boats dragged. We up anchored and went down to the Junk Anchorage (see Dec. 1 post).

Other than that it’s a great anchorage. The marina building is jam packed with shops including a good shopping center. Anything you want is here. Again the bus service is literally right outside the door and easy to get around Penang. Georgetown is well worth a few visits, loads to see here.

The marina is small but seems to accommodate many boats. There is a fair bit of movement in the marina so take that into account.

December 1, 2017
Moved to the Junk Anchorage, Penang. Anchored in 4.5 meters at 05 24.64N & 100 20.58E.
Due to large storm building and releasing its fury while we were out, we came back to a very messy anchorage and decided even though it was 1845 to move down to the Junk Anchorage.

Entering the anchorage at night is not advisable. It is full of unlit junks and loads of large commercial boats. Someone must be on the bow to keep watch. The only saving grace seems to be that the anchorage is right beside Georgetown and the lights on shore give you some idea of what’s ahead. If you can go up as far as you can to get out of their way. The bottom is said to be littered with plastic bags so ensure your anchor is dug in well.

Other than that, it’s quite a good location. A little ferry will come and pick you up off your boat if you like or you can find a place to leave your tender. We did not go ashore here so I can’t give locations.

December 2, 2017
Moved back to Jerejak Anchorage, Queensland Bay mall end up near Batu Uban Marina. Anchored in 6.5 meters at 05 20.64N & 100 18.86E.
We didn’t fancy spending the rest of the northerly blow at the Junk Anchorage, so we moved our boats back down to Jerejak. This time we moved right up to the marina just south of the bridge and this proved to be a great move. We rung the marina for permission to leave our tenders while we did more bus trips to Georgetown and the shops.

If you need to spend a fair bit of time in Penang this anchorage would be our choice. Its very well protected.

December 4, 2017
Day sailed to Pulau Bunting. Anchored in 6.5 meters at 05 52.27N & 100 19.88E.
This was the first time we saw ‘stick’ fads. They are everywhere so be careful, for some reason sometimes you can’t see them until your right on top of them. This proved to be a very good anchorage. Go as close to the bridge as possible for a better nights sleep.

December 5, 2017
Day sailed to Rebak Marina, Langkawi. 06 17.48N & 99 41.70E.
We had a great run to Langkawi from Bunting, sailing for 6 hours! We saw a whale fishing on the way in also.

We came in to the Langkawi group and motored all the way to the marina. At first we were not going to go to the marina but as we passed the cruise liner terminals a massive storm hit us bringing with it 40 knots making the anchorage outside the marina entrance untenable. We were lucky to get a berth at 1630 and ended up staying in the marina for one week.

Rebak is an island with a resort on it and the marina is a part of the resort. There is nothing else on the island to do. But you do have full access to the pool and dining areas. The food is ok. The management run a free water taxi service to Lanka Suka boat Club on Langkawi. From there you can either walk to a small village, hire a car or get a taxi to Kuah. Kuah is the capital of Langkawi.

As a point of reference we used two guide books and our paper charts:

  • Southeast Asia Pilot 5th Edition 2016 written by Bill O’Learly & Andy Dowden.
  • Sail Malaysia Cruising Guide written by Sazli Kamal Basha (Sail Malaysia coordinator) and Patrick Southall, from the sailing vessel Labarque.

Key personnel who are able to directly assist you.
Rebak Marina Langkawi
Mazrizal Othman
Royal Langkawi Yacht Club
Abdul Rahman Mahani
+604 966 4078 
+6012 408 9488
Telaga Harbour Marina
(front office)
+604 959 2202

+604-890 6521
Pangkor Marina Island
+6019 512 4088 (James)
+6016 550 4088 (James)
+6016 523 1800 (Akina)
Admiral Marina Port Dickson

+606 647 0888
+6011 1540 4006
 Puteri Harbour Marina, Johor
Syed (Araba)
+607 530 2791

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