Vietnam sailing - Mui Ne
Apart from the Hong Kong to Nha Trang Race and a few intrepid cruisers, there has been very little activity for private yachts in Vietnam. However now an international yacht festival will take place in the central province of Binh Thuan, from January 15-18, 2011, Ngo Minh Chinh, Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism said on December 20.
Vietnam sailing - unusual local store
With the theme 'Ship, Sea and Sun', the festival will feature an exhibition and performance of 200 yachts, four music gala nights, a light show along with a welcoming gala, a series of gala dinners and a closing ceremony.
Additionally, two seminars entitled, 'Yacht manufacturing, marketing and trading' and 'Developing Vietnam’s maritime tourism trademark' will also be held.
The event is expected to attract 20 yachting teams from Russia, Australia, Holland, Sweden, the United States, France, Germany and Italy and is considered a stepping-stone to building Mui Ne bay into a regional yachting centre.
The organising board had planned to hold the event earlier, from December 8-11, but it was delayed due to bad weather.
The organizing committee worked with Department of Culture since August to promote the forthcoming event which will feature the yachts cruising from Ham Tien and Mui Ne to Khe Ga Cape and Hoa Thang beach in the Province.
The organizing committee has invited several foreign music bands to come to the Province to entertain guests. Admission will be free.
The country opened its waters up to cruising yachts and commercial charter activity in 2006 with the establishment of a Sunsail Base in Nha Trang. One problem of cruising in Vietnam is that boats must check in and out of each province having given an advanced itinerary - difficult to achieve without an agent.
Mui Ne - fine cruising possible, and now encouraged by Vietnam
The province’s 60-mile coastline encompasses 70 islands. With constant 8-15 knot afternoon breezes, clear calm waters and friendly locals, it has been a big hit with the yacht crews who have been there. Nha Trang is Vietnam’s premier beach resort town, with many hotels and restaurants ranging from the basic to luxurious – and provisioning here is easy.
Within the cruising area are several resorts. Seafood can be bought or bartered for at one of the hundreds of fish farms. The islands south of Nha Trang offer dozens of protected anchorages for any season and the diving in the Hon Mun marine park area is equal to the best in Asia.
North of Nha Trang is Vung Fang Bay, which is populated by many small islands and has a massive sand dune along its northern side. Hidden away here is Whale Island, an eco-friendly resort that has done much to re-grow coral destroyed by dynamite fishing. In the past, yachts have based themselves here for weeks to take advantage of the excellent nearby dive sites and perfect sailing conditions.
It is still early days for marine tourism in Vietnam and entry procedures can be time-consuming, if not overly expensive. The authorities do place restrictions on boat movements but are loosening up slowly and local pilots are no longer required on foreign-flagged yachts full time.