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Old 19-03-2009, 12:01   #1
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Cyclone Phobia - Backward Thinking

Landlubbers are always telling me how dangerous it is to go cruising. After all, the cyclones and hurricanes are going to get you. You will be dodging cyclones as you sail the seven seas. Their negative cyclonic fantasies make me either into an idiot or superhero as I sail around the world.

Was I denying reality sailing around the world on a small yacht? What are the cyclonic facts of our circumnavigation?

Cyclones = Zero, Zip, Nada in eleven years.

The naysayers with their negative cyclonic fantasies are guilty of backward thinking.

When I went cruising, I sailed away from the cyclones and hurricanes. When you are out cruising, cyclones are usually an optional experience. If you live in Florida, hurricanes are not optional. They happen every year, and if you keep your yacht in Florida, hurricanes will be a problem.

But if you are cruising, you don't need to be in Florida during hurricane season. You can be in Trinidad, the Galapagos, French Polynesia or a thousand other cyclone free destinations around the world.

So this is my advice. Don't let the backward thinkers and landlubbers steal your cruising dreams. The only proven way to escape cyclones and hurricanes is to go cruising and to sail where there are no cyclones.

Flee offshore while there is still time. You don't have to suffer the same dismal fate as those living in Hurricane Land.

Thay's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

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Old 19-03-2009, 13:38   #2
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Very true, Dave. The only hurricane my boat has experienced was Hurricane Isabel. The boat was (securely) tied up in her slip at our home on the Bay in Virginia at the time.
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Old 19-03-2009, 14:35   #3
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While I agree with your sentiments Dave I honestly believe that what these naysayers are really reacting to… are the “storms” one can get in open sea. (During any season)

They talk about Hurricanes since that is what they see on the news and movies.

However, the chance of experiencing Heavy Weather is a reality of extended cruising and offshore passages.

I believe the planning a yachtsman like you does to properly set up his boat and crew to handle those conditions shows a healthy “respect” for the sea, which many landlubbers will never be able to view as…. an acceptable risk of an independent thinker.

You can’t change their perception and they will either pity you, or worship you, ... for pursuing that self reliance.

For those contemplating a cruising life, Ignorance breeds either; “Fear or Complacence” and neither has a place on board a well found yacht.

Those who can not personally come to terms with those weaknesses are better off remaining on shore, but like you I encourage every person to at least try.
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Old 19-03-2009, 14:35   #4
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But if you are cruising, you don't need to be in Florida during hurricane season. You can be in Trinidad, the Galapagos, French Polynesia or a thousand other cyclone free destinations around the world.
Hi Dave ,

well we made a calculated risk to come into the Cyclone (Hurricane) area during the last part of the season to get a head start on the Great Barrier Reef. We decided to come to the Whitsundays that has some reasonable storm protection.

Now we are looking at our second cyclone in 2 weeks!!!!

So yes you are right.

One of the side effects of these 2 systems is 2 weeks of crappy weather! We havent had a snorkel since the day before the first one. Now we have gale force winds, yesterday and for the next 3 days and then we get the second cyclone!

I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt we will never be sailing in a cyclone season. There is no way I'm taking the chance of hitting 100 knots at sea.

So for our month here we will have had less than 2 weeks good cruising and enough extra heart beats that are not necessary to our life

Mind you, we have also learned a hell of a lot!

Mark
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Old 19-03-2009, 14:56   #5
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[quote=MarkJ;266261]Hi Dave ,

well we made a calculated risk to come into the Cyclone (Hurricane) area during the last part of the season to get a head start on the Great Barrier Reef. We decided to come to the Whitsundays that has some reasonable storm protection.

Now we are looking at our second cyclone in 2 weeks!!!! "

Be interested to know how you calculated the risk, as all the early indicators pointed to this being a fairly active cyclone season, not one I would have gone north on.
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Old 19-03-2009, 15:34   #6
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Be interested to know how you calculated the risk, as all the early indicators pointed to this being a fairly active cyclone season, not one I would have gone north on.
The indicator put out by BOM showed a normal season.
I've worked in Cairns for 6 years following all the cyclones from Cooktown to Townsville.
Comming up for the last month of a 5 month season.
Coming to an are with 2 cyclone rated marinas and a good cyclone anchorage.

The marinas turned out to be not an option as one is rated only to Cat 1 (Hamilton) and a few of the boats left Hamilton to come to where we were! And Able Point Marina wont take people unless they have full comprhensive Insurance which we don't.

We would be within 2 or 3 hours of a safe anchorage during our whole time in the cyclone area.

They are reasonable calculated risks for me.

Next time I would probably go to Cairns where there is vast mangrove lined deep creeks in Trinity inlet, but we wanted to do the Whitsundays as a prioroty so we can spend more time on the GBR before Darwin in July.



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Old 19-03-2009, 16:14   #7
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Quote:
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While I agree with your sentiments Dave I honestly believe that what these naysayers are really reacting to… are the “storms” one can get in open sea. (During any season)

They talk about Hurricanes since that is what they see on the news and movies.

However, the chance of experiencing Heavy Weather is a reality of extended cruising and offshore passages.

I believe the planning a yachtsman like you does to properly set up his boat and crew to handle those conditions shows a healthy “respect” for the sea, which many landlubbers will never be able to view as…. an acceptable risk of an independent thinker.

You can’t change their perception and they will either pity you, or worship you, ... for pursuing that self reliance.

For those contemplating a cruising life, Ignorance breeds either; “Fear or Complacence” and neither has a place on board a well found yacht.

Those who can not personally come to terms with those weaknesses are better off remaining on shore, but like you I encourage every person to at least try.
You are probably right. I suspect most Landlubbers think of storms as hurricanes, whereas most sailors and wannabe cruisers worry about getting caught in storms at sea with less than hurricane force winds .

During our circumnavigation we encountered winds to fifty knots on only three occasions, and our catamaran did fine since there were non-breaking seas, and we simply slowed down with a drogue or stopped with a parachute to deal with prevailing conditions.

We sailed in season and avoided black holes where bad weather is fairly routine. As long as you don't sail in cyclone season, and you avoid the black holes like the Gulf Stream, the Agulhas current, the Tasman, and the like, the odds are much in your favor that weather won't be a serious threat to your yacht on an extended voyage.

I am afraid of cyclones, and that's why I sail when and where there usually are no cyclones.
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Old 19-03-2009, 16:29   #8
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Mind you, we have also learned a hell of a lot!

Mark
The five years that I lived in Puerto Rico offered great opportunities to learn the care and feeding of a yacht in storm conditions. My Westsail 32 weathered lots of tropical storms and near misses by hurricanes. In one particularly active ten day period, we had a succession of three closely spaced tropical storms. You learn a lot from those experiences, but the biggest lesson was to sail the boat to a destination where cyclones are not a problem. Cyclones and tropical storms get old really fast
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Old 19-03-2009, 17:53   #9
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So for our month here we will have had less than 2 weeks good cruising and enough extra heart beats that are not necessary to our life

But is the butter still melting?
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Old 19-03-2009, 22:10   #10
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For those contemplating a cruising life, Ignorance breeds either; “Fear or Complacence” and neither has a place on board a well found yacht.

Those who can not personally come to terms with those weaknesses are better off remaining on shore, but like you I encourage every person to at least try.
I hope a new sailor contemplating the cruising life would not let the initial fear stop them. Certainly when I have been faced with what I considered fearful situations, I did not give up and swallow the anchor. Fear is quite natural and not a weakness. It is a natural God given device to open our eyes and process a situation. True, level headedness needs to play into any fearful situation. I do agree that complacence is a character defect which tends to tie us to the living-room watching the world pass us by on the 6 o'clock news.
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