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Old 25-05-2016, 11:09   #1
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Anchoring on the windward sides of the Leewards

Hi folks. I'm planning a trip to the Leeward Islands (Fr. Poly) and I'm hoping to get some wisdom from the community on anchoring spots, and mistakes to avoid. My daughters and I are hoping to do some kitesurfing from the boat, so I would prefer to anchor in places where that's possible -- meaning exposed to the wind, on the edge of shallower sandy areas.

Are there conditions in which its a good or bad idea to anchor on the windward side of that lagoon, on the sand flats in the lee of the motus?

In other words, what should I know before choosing to anchor at the blue X's in this diagram? Or should I plan for more protected moorage? Any good or bad experiences you can share would be helpful. Does the Maraamu sneak up on you in the night and create problems?

Thanks for sharing,

-Jay

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Old 26-05-2016, 11:22   #2
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Re: Anchoring on the windward sides of the Leewards

Bump.

Any ideas here folks? Anyone care to share a story about getting surprised in unprotected lagoon moorage? What goes wrong? Ever come to grief due to the Maraamu?
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Old 26-05-2016, 11:35   #3
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Re: Anchoring on the windward sides of the Leewards

Have you considered anchoring in the SW or NW ends in he lee of the island and then just paddling out to kitesurf or using the dinghy to get there? Seems intentionally putting your boat on a lee shore anchorage may not be the best choice.

GL.
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Old 26-05-2016, 12:02   #4
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Re: Anchoring on the windward sides of the Leewards

Thanks Stu. that's the kind of frank opinion I was looking for. I just have a hard time evaluating how risky it is down there, having never been.

Yes, I've certainly considered it anchoring in a protected area, and using the dinghy, but the logistics are more complex doing that, and it limits the areas that I could target for spending the night.

I wonder if being in the lee of some of the barrier islands would be enough protection. If those spots don't seem good, I may need to consider temporary daytime anchorages, and then moving somewhere protected for the night.
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Old 26-05-2016, 12:59   #5
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Re: Anchoring on the windward sides of the Leewards

Yes. Not all the islands have such anchorages. Bora does. I think Huahine does not. Raiatea/Tahaa do, but we did not use them there.

You anchor as you find fit.

You want to avoid getting your (----) on the coral, the shallow, or the beach, if/when the wind drops off at night or when it reverses. E.g. second anchor.

The white water is shallow. You can only go there in a shallow mono or else in a cat. The sand may be very thin, it is lose and gives no holding. There is a shelf underneath and you may drag in a heavy puff. A heavy anchor with the biggest flukes area and plenty of chain give you more time to react.

Basically you go, you explore and you anchor as you like. Avoid coral heads and wind shift problems. It is not too tidal and you can often reverse under power or sail when you touch. You will have one person on the spreaders or on the bow HIGH. Quality polarized glasses and the sun high and not ahead.

Remember you may have to re-anchor or leave in the rain and dark - anchor so that you have at least one easy escape path to an alternative easy anchorage.

Learn to use gps anchor drag alarms and depth instrument alarms.

It is fun, we will go again when we can.

b.
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Old 26-05-2016, 13:07   #6
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Re: Anchoring on the windward sides of the Leewards

bump!

You mean like this?

Bora.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 27-05-2016, 16:03   #7
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Re: Anchoring on the windward sides of the Leewards

Great advice. Thanks b. Totally excited. How rough do the lagoons get in a big southeasterly?
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Old 27-05-2016, 16:09   #8
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Re: Anchoring on the windward sides of the Leewards

I imagine it would matter how good the protecting reef is. A good substantial reef ought to be ok. OTOH, I've been blown out of not so good protection in the Caribe a couple times. one example might be the Tobago Cays, great protection and I've been in there in 32-38 steady winds... flat water. The windward side of Antigua (for windsurfing!) didn't work out so well though... That sketch of yours looks pretty well protected.
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Old 27-05-2016, 16:51   #9
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Re: Anchoring on the windward sides of the Leewards

Hi Jaylonius
As a fellow kiter who has not been to fp yet, but based on experience in New Caledonia, I can offer this advice.
The problem with anchoring for kiting is you obviously want to be where the wind is strong and steady. This is also often the exact wrong place for anchoring safely or at least comfortably, especially in areas with high islands.
Personally I would not ever anchor off an exposed lee shore in strong winds and waves or chop. If you did this sort of thing I would suggest a day anchor and move to better shelter for the night. Depending on the setup there can also be opportunity for anchoring off the leeward corner of a motu for example, where the wind is good enough and you can kite out to the more exposed areas. Ideally you can find a small beach area on the corner where you can dinghy to, which makes the kite launching a lot easier!
As I say I've not been to fp, but I've seen plenty of footage that shows there are some amazing kiting setups there, maybe particularly in the Tuamotu atolls. I'm sure once you're there you will figure it all out and have an awesome time!
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Old 27-05-2016, 17:13   #10
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Re: Anchoring on the windward sides of the Leewards

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaylonious View Post
Great advice. Thanks b. Totally excited. How rough do the lagoons get in a big southeasterly?
E and SE is the regular direction in the Societies. It does not blow. I would say from nil to max 15 knots, on average; only occasionally beyond that. We were in el Niņo year, maybe the wind gets stronger in a non el Niņo year, I can't say.

The strongest blow we had was a wind reversal while at Huahine. We anchored in the lee and the the wind became W and SW for a time so we were caught with our back to the "beach" and facing the white blue, the fringe and then the huge rollers and most impressive nimbuses rolling in with rainy squalls. I think it was sustained 20 gusting 25 with, maybe very brief peaks of 25+.

We anchored at Bora with nearly full fetch of the lagoon and it was flat, maybe 2 ft waves at max.

At Huahine with the wind reversal we got blown off the white blue patch and the distance to the fringe is about 1 mile. Again it was nearly flat, less than 2 ft.

When the lagoon is very wide and deep you can get into trouble if you get a reversal at night - there are heads and you cannot safely get out in the dark. Ideally you do not want to be sitting too close to the fringe - I would say not less than 2 cables. We always deployed two anchors so when the wind changed we were moored almost the Bahamian way - far from the fringe and not snagging on the heads. It takes some time to set up and collect but makes for bulletproof sleep at night.

You WILL LOVE it.

Cheers,
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Old 27-05-2016, 17:41   #11
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Re: Anchoring on the windward sides of the Leewards

My advise to to you would be to at all times consider the safety of your yacht first and foremost. Everything else other than your yacht comes secondary. I would anchor in the lee of the atoll and make my way to the windward side (if really required). Most of this atolls are quite low and this means that when you your kite is up, you should have sufficient wind even in the lee of the atoll.
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Old 29-05-2016, 15:02   #12
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Re: Anchoring on the windward sides of the Leewards

Great tips folks. Much appreciated.
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