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Old 08-04-2015, 19:58   #1
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New Zealand to Tahiti Oct/Nov

Hi all, I am considering sailing from New Zealand to Tahiti in October of this year. The routing is based on World Cruising Routes PS67. Has anyone done this route at that time of year? I have sailed NZ-Cook Islands in May and and it was punishing. Cheers.
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Old 08-04-2015, 22:19   #2
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Re: New Zealand to Tahiti Oct/Nov

I am not sure what the law is now, but Tahiti used to want all foreign yachts out before cyclone season. If that is still their position, you might want to think of where you might go from there at that time of year.

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Old 08-04-2015, 22:27   #3
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Re: New Zealand to Tahiti Oct/Nov

If you thought that trip was punishing, you could be in for a LOT worse. This is the beginning of the Cyclone season. From the Tahiti traveler website;

The humid season -also called Rainy season- starts in November and ends in March. It brings mugginess, humidity as well as heavier and more frequent rains than in the dry season. During that season, tropical storms may occur. Winds can reach speeds of over 220 km/h and can eventually evolve to a cyclone, an extremely rare event though.
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Old 09-04-2015, 00:14   #4
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Re: New Zealand to Tahiti Oct/Nov

Thank you both. Ann T - The regulations have recently changed in Tahiti. Leisure yachts are now allowed to stay for a period of 36 months. Neptune - Thank you for your well informed advice. Having worked and lived in the Tropics for many years we are aware of the risks which is why I have asked the question. The 2014/2015 season was a 'minor' El Nino event which I believe/hope should lessen the possiblitly of a cyclone in Tahiti at the end of this year and the beginning of next... if the El Nino cycle doesn't change. Cheers.
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Old 09-04-2015, 02:26   #5
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Re: New Zealand to Tahiti Oct/Nov

I've know a couple of people who have done it, don't know what season though. Their biggest comment was that it was a long passage.... a long way east and then pushing north through the variable bit...

As you say, you can now stay for 36 months, and if an EU ( ? maybe just French) yacht you can stay forever...

I also met a French couple who have been in Tahiti 6 or 7 years ... if they reckon its a high risk year they just go up to the Marquesas for the Austral summer.

Hope this helps,
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Old 09-04-2015, 09:18   #6
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Re: New Zealand to Tahiti Oct/Nov

I remember that October 1st was the date to be cleared out of French Polynesia if you were a foreign yacht becuase it was the official start of cyclone season.
December and January are very wet months there with big storms that blow up with intense rain and wind.
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Old 09-04-2015, 14:43   #7
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Re: New Zealand to Tahiti Oct/Nov

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Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
As you say, you can now stay for 36 months, and if an EU ( ? maybe just French) yacht you can stay forever...
I understand the original post was more about the navigational conditions than the administrative ones, but just to clarify this bit as some subtleties are important and misconceptions are common :

- The maximum stay duration for a person is indeed variable : for French nationals unlimited, for EU citizens as well although they do have to do some paperwork after a 3-month stay (mostly to prove they have the ressources to provide for themselves and have adequate health insurance) and their permit is then valid up to 10 years I believe. Other nationalities may stay visa-free up to 3 months, and more if a visa was asked beforehand.

- Now this is the tricky part : any yacht can now stay in French Polynesia tax-free for up to 36 months indeed, BUT one of the conditions is that the yacht owner(s) and/or skipper are not French Polynesia residents or do not become ones during their stay. Now, the immigration authorities consider that if you stay in FP more than 6 months during any civil year, then you become a resident (having spent more than 50% of the year in FP...) This applies to any nationality, and is known to have been enforced especially among visiting Frenchmen.

- In effect, for those crews who are allowed to stay longer than the 3-month visa free duration, this makes it possible to stay in FP with your boat for six months and possibly up to one year without flying out/in : by staying the latter part of one year and the former part of the next. This whole situation is not something the Gendarmerie either knows well or checks. This is a matter enforced by customs (Douane), and they will report you to immigration (Police aux Frontičres) for the "residency" bit, thereby never giving you a formal definite answer on the subject... Making contact with the yachtie association AVP (AVP 4 Yachties' blog - AVP is a cruisers' association in French Polynesia, please contact us for any question about sailing around) to get the best up to date information could be sensible, and Noonsite is a good resource as well.

- Just to mention it, your boat could stay forever in FP too... provided it is imported ! The above only applies to avoid importation taxes, and the risk if caught out is to have to import the boat, which can be pretty stiff.
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Old 09-04-2015, 17:16   #8
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Re: New Zealand to Tahiti Oct/Nov

Thank you all again. I had not considered the Marquesas. I will do some homework on that. Thanks Ping. Belle-Isle the information regarding the stay was invaluable. Thanks so much. I will get on AVP also and have a look. Much appreciated.
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Old 09-04-2015, 17:51   #9
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Re: New Zealand to Tahiti Oct/Nov

Quote:
Originally Posted by CLady View Post
I remember that October 1st was the date to be cleared out of French Polynesia if you were a foreign yacht becuase it was the official start of cyclone season.
December and January are very wet months there with big storms that blow up with intense rain and wind.
I made landfall on Tahiti last June with a 30/40k easterly and rain with less than 2 mile vis... first land we saw was about 5 miles shy of the Papeete entrance.

'Trade winds' suck......
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Old 09-04-2015, 17:55   #10
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Re: New Zealand to Tahiti Oct/Nov

You're welcome.

Regarding the Marquesas, I can also vouch for this solution : we spent a good part of a cyclone season there, as I found it to be a good tradeoff. It's at the extreme limit of where cyclones can hit (look at the cyclones track on the OpenCPN Climatology plugin), and this would be in a very bad year (probably a severe El Niņo). Furthermore, the tropical depressions that can hit are never very severe. At the very worst you could expect something in the 45-50 knot range, but never anything like Pam in Vanuatu. And last, the Marquesas are not far from the Equator, and since the anchorages in the Marquesas are swell-prone, our plan was to cautiously monitor the weather and if something really serious was planned to sail off due North. Within 2 days, we would be in the area where the Coriolis force is too weak to sustain cyclones. Our assessment was that if the worst case scenario happened, it would be uncomfortable, but not dangerous and certainly nothing devastating. In the end everything went fine

Just to let you know as well, you could also plan to spend the cyclone season in the Gambier (a real favorite of ours up to now), provided it's not an El Niņo year. It's more risky than the Marquesas, but also at the edge of the cyclone zone, the water being cooler, and the lagoon there is well sheltered from the swell. Squalls and fronts hit there regularly with 50+ winds and the anchorage in Rikitea holds fine. The important thing there is to assess that it's not El Niņo, and if the water heats up too much, and if you are not comfortable staying there anymore, you can then move on to the Marquesas on a broad reach.
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Old 10-04-2015, 00:48   #11
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Re: New Zealand to Tahiti Oct/Nov

I can sympathise with that Ping. When the mountains of Raratonga broke out of the clouds after 28 days at sea there were very few dry eyes on the boat. Belle thank you again. You have been very gracious with your time. I had been looking for an anchorage in the Gambiers and somehow overlooked Rikitea. It is now tabbed in my South Pacific Anchorages. I did check out AVP and will join prior to heading over. Expect a PM from me later this year!
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