Sailing to Japan and the Setouchi Rally

As we prepare to head to the Philippines this week, we have been discussing our plans to sail to Japan. And they’re starting to come together…

We have been talking to the Director of the Japan Ocean Cruising Club, Mr Koichiro “KC” Ohno about joining the Setouchi Rally in 2021. Yes, we know, another rally, who’d have thought it?!

We reckon it will be a really useful introduction to sailing in Japan, allow us to understand a little about the culture and maybe give us an opportunity to meet local sailors. It will also give us a springboard to the short sailing season in Japan before we depart for the Pacific North West.

Just in case you’re getting confused about our itinerary (and we wouldn’t be surprised if you are!) this is how it’s looking…

  • Now to July – sailing in the southern Philippines and Sabah west coast.
  • July to September – Sail Malaysia Passage to the East Rally 2020 round northern tip of Borneo and back to Kudat and Kota Kinabalu.
  • October to December – all additions, modifications, upgrades and maintenance for SY Esper in preparation for Pacific crossing
  • January to May – back to Philippines and straight north to Japan, possibly via Taiwan depending on weather.
  • May – Setouchi Rally
  • June – Leave Japan for PNW*
    *If we think we haven’t had enough time to see Japan, we will stay in this part of the world for a year and depart for PNW June 2022. We will make the decision when we are there, it will be dependent on many factors. If we stay we’ll have the opportunity to visit S Korea as well as more of Japan. But it’s gonna be cold. Real cold. Haha!

The Setouchi Rally is small and relatively unknown to many sailors outside Japan. It is an incredible opportunity for cruisers in this part of the world to experience Japan with new friends and enthusiastic local sailors. Not many foreign sailors participate or even sail to Japan, but we think that’s all going to change.

The sailing takes place in what is generally reckoned to be the best sailing ground in Japan. Hundreds of ports, islands and opportunities dot Japan’s Inland Sea (Seto Naikai). This image shows the four main destinations in the 2020 Setouchi Rally…

Here are some links for the Setouchi Rally. It’s not too late to join this year’s rally, or why not come along with us in 2021?

Facebook Page

Setouchi 2020 guide

Setouchi rally introduction

We’re ridiculously excited about Japan and can’t wait to get there. But before we do, there’s a world of new encounters right here on our doorstep in Sabah and next door in the Philippines.

It’s good to have you along for the adventure.

Peace and fair winds!

Liz, Jamie and Millie xxx

Cover image by Jordy Meow from Pixabay


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4 thoughts on “Sailing to Japan and the Setouchi Rally”

  1. Wow, this is tremendously exciting. This is what I love about you two and your channel! I am so tired of seeing exactly the same content (same dolphins, same locations in the Caribbean, just different faces) from the other channels. Also, they rarely mix with the locals. I want to
    Learn about this world! Thank you for take me along. From India to now, you set the standard!!

    1. Thanks, Dan, we’re privileged to have you along with us and chuffed that you enjoy the interaction with the locals as much as us. Peace and fair winds!

  2. Do you think the, SARS-COV-2 Virus is going to have an impact on your plans.

    I don’t think either of you need worry, but what happens on land may reach you in the form of bans and or restrictions/exclusions. 🤔

    Have you heard anything from other sailors yet?

    Things may go fubar very quickly. 🙏🏼🖖


    1. Very important question.

      We are in Sabah (Borneo) right now because of Millie’s veterinary care, but my concern is that when (if) we finally get away for what remains of the season to the Philippines we may not be allowed to check in there. And just as bad, we may not be allowed to return to Sabah.

      At the moment Sabah has no Covid-19, probably because the state banned flights from China weeks ago. This has impacted Sabah’s revenue because tourism has plummeted and local people are being laid off as a result of it.

      If they decide to cut off all visitors we will be stuck here. Worse places to be, of course…

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