Exploring Equator-Asia


is an annual programme of yacht cruises designed to assist cruising yachts to explore and enjoy the cultural and natural heritage attractions of BIMP-EAGA.

      BIMP - Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines

     EAGA - East ASEAN Growth Area

Apart from the beautiful anchorages, beaches and spectacular scenery, these cruise routes are designed to introduce participating crews to the diversity of culture, wildlife, habitats, traditions and unique national characteristics of BIMP-EAGA

The programme and management of these Sail BIMP-EAGA events has been established to give cruising yachts the confidence to explore relatively isolated - but beautiful - areas of BIMP-EAGA. The support services available to participating yachts are intended to provide information, advice and helpful local area contacts, so yacht crews feel confident to undertake their journeys through these beautiful, rewarding but often less developed, regions.

The format of all Sail BIMP-EAGA cruises aims to give participating yachts the time to explore, relax and interact.  This is a  cruise-in-company, rather than a tightly structured rally schedule with set events.   The Sail BIMP-EAGA cruise routes are recommendations of where yachts might like to journey to see and enjoy the area, and in some places, to integrate local events, tours, attractions etc. Some places along the route will have more extensive local support services, repair workshops, air freight services etc, where local officials and our local areas contacts  can provide advice about places to explore, enjoy and visit; either ashore or along the future sailing route. 

Each Sail BIMP-EAGA cruise has a planned operating season.  Yachts can start and finish anytime during the season. 

To minimise congestion, competition for limited resources, environmental damage at anchorages, overwhelming local shore facilities and services, and supply/demand pressure on local prices, Sail BIMP-EAGA cruises are based upon cruising groups of 2 to 10 yachts (4 to 30 crew).

It is expected that like-minded cruising yachts will team up into cruising groups to embark on their Sail BIMP-EAGA journey, based upon their available start date, interests, speed of journey and expected finish date. A Sail BIMP-EAGA cruise will therefore begin when the cruising group is ready to begin, rather than at a set date/time. The Sail BIMP-EAGA office will help co-ordinate the start dates from different entry/embarkation ports, so cruise groups start about two weeks apart, to avoid congestion, competition for anchorages etc.  

The advantages of cruising BIMP-EAGA in small like-minded cruising groups include:

  1. Mutual self-support in the case of equipment failure, choosing anchorages, emergencies (eg: crew illness, boat damage etc).

  2. Group bookings to help reduce the price of shore services, such as tours, transport etc.

  3. The confidence to explore off the beaten track, to enjoy the less commercialised communities, islands, towns and anchorages.

Sail BIMP-EAGA has four principle cruise routes/programes:

  1. The EQUATOR ASIA cruise a four to five month event, from June/July to November, with stops in all four BIMP-EAGA nations. This is the principal event carrying the BETC's tourism marketing name for BIMP-EAGA EQUATOR ASIA and is the BIMP-EAGA Tourism Council's signature event. Takes advantage of prevailing winds along the route to allow yacht crews to experience the diversity of nature and culture in BIMP-EAGA.

  2. The Borneo-Palawan cruise an up to three month event, mid December-February or late January-April in the main scuba -diving season. Starts from Brunei, Sabah and Sarawak to take yachts up the west coast of Palawan (Philippines) during the NE/E Monsoon when winds and weather-shore normally create great sailing and cruising conditions.

  3. The Mindanao/Sabah-Indonesia cruise a three to four month event. Starting from Dakak in late June, yachts cruise the Mindanao coast for six weeks to Davao. Depart Davao mid August down the island chain to Manado. In Sabah, a start in Kota Kinabalu, Kudat or Sandakan brings yachts to Semporna by mid August before sailing to Manado to join the Mindanao yachts. From Manado, cruise to Sorong, and take either a northern route along the coast of Irian Jaya to Jayapura, or south through the Spice Islands to Saumlaki . Designed especially for yachts headed for Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.

  4. The West Borneo cruise a five week event, begins mid November & ends in Kuching by 20th December, linking Sabah, Brunei and Sarawak. Uses the fresh NE/NW monsoon to help push yachts south to attractions along the west coast of Borneo in time for Christmas/New Year in Kuching, or to cross to Singapore and Peninsula Malaysia.

Click on this link to see a map of the events, and alternate route options available with some events:

It is expected that Sail BIMP-EAGA fleets will divide into smaller groups of 2 to 4 yachts to travel together. These small groups will provide a self-help capability for the inevitable yacht maintenance questions, give the advantage of group buying power when arranging shore transport, local tours, boat transport ashore etc, and help with the security of each other's yachts when some go ashore.

BIMP-EAGA has been identified as a key future bread-basket for SE Asia and the world. The wealth of traditional knowledge, the steadily emerging understanding of hidden genetic material, and the rich marine and terrestrial eco-systems, all contribute to this expectation. 

BIMP-EAGA  includes some of the largest remaining areas of rainforest in the world. A  repository of plants, wildlife and genetic material to help sustain future generations.

includes key environmental preservation regions - the Coral Triangle and the Heart of Borneo. Both have prompted scientists, national leaders and the business community to speak in a unified voice about the vital need to preserve and protect this incredible bio-diversity.

The Coral Triangle contains 76% of the known species of coral in the world and 37% of all reef fish species. 30% of Tuna caught in the world comes from the Coral Triangle.

Note: The Coral Triangle was recently extended to help protect the eastern South China Sea, including the west coast of Borneo.    

The self-sufficient nature of cruising yachts - with their own accommodation facilities and transport - will enable participants can enjoy venues, local communities, attractions and tours which are beyond established visitor experiences. This self-sufficiency will also give participating crews the opportunity to become pioneer visitors to the BIMP-EAGA Tourism Council's  Community-Based Sustainable Ecotourism programmes.  

In some areas, crews will have the opportunity to contribute to service projects that help further the BIMP-EAGA Tourism Council's goals of environmental and cultural heritage preservation.

It is expected that some aspects of the route, venues visited and local attractions will vary each year to allow local tourism organisations to highlight new developments, new member facilities, special celebrations, and local events. 

Sail BIMP-EAGA fleets will be limited to approximately 15 yachts and 50 crew. This will minimise the groups' impact on local resources, help streamline CIQ procedures, and facilitate access to smaller venues, or environmentally sensitive locations.  If additional yachts wish to participate, there may be two or more fleets, travelling approximately two weeks apart.

EQUATOR ASIA is the tourism brand name chosen by the BIMP-EAGA Tourism Council for the BIMP-EAGA region following an exhaustive market research and branding exercise conducted by GTZ and the Asian Development Bank, in support of the BIMP-EAGA Tourism Council. It was officially announced in January 2010 at the ASEAN Travel Forum in Brunei. The launching ceremony was officiated by Tourism Ministers from each of the four BIMP-EAGA nations - Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Sail BIMP-EAGA incorporates a number of themes in tune with the nature of the cruise routes, and the BIMP-EAGA Tourism Council's goals for tourism in  EQUATOR ASIA;

  • An educational theme.  The aim is to help Sail BIMP-EAGA participants understand the importance of the amazing cultural and environmental heritage within BIMP-EAGA, and to learn how their own activities can contribute to the protection and preservation of these important resources. Cruise programmes aim to incorporate opportunities to visit/learn/experience environmental projects, community tourism initiatives, plus contact with scientists and local people contributing to this effort.

  • An adventurous theme. By definition, an adventure is a step into the unknown, away from normal comfortable surrounds and predictability. An opportunity to test the limits of understanding, to challenge mental and physical capabilities, in circumstances that are new, different and undefined.  Experiencing an adventure is increasingly difficult in a modern, organised, structured world.

    As with any adventure, it will not be possible to precisely schedule all eventualities or to insulate participating crews from local circumstances. If it was, we would lose the adventure, the excitement of unexpected experiences and the personal rewards that come only from interacting with new places, different values and unique environments. Apart from the cruise schedule and participants, variables such as weather, boat maintenance, local characters and local culture will all play a role in creating the overall  experience. 
    Sail BIMP-EAGA does not aim to be a sterilised, pasteurised and homogenised travel experience normally available from the couch at home; by watching TV.

  • A journey of discovery. For most people, the diverse cultures and environment of BIMP-EAGA - and the way people have adapted to their circumstances - will be dramatically different to normal life back home. This journey will immerse participating crews in the challenges and occasional frustration of exploring, meeting, engaging, enjoying and learning. Not quite the challenges presented to Alfred Russell Wallace during his 19th Century explorations of the region, but definitely  not a weekend cruise, party and return to the comfortable predictability and stability of a normal Monday!

If you would like to add your contact details to our database to be updated with rally information, please email us for inquiries ....   


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