Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 24-06-2013, 08:12   #1
Registered User

Join Date: May 2013
Location: Mangareva, French Polynesia
Boat: Heritage West Indies 36
Posts: 513
South Pacific Cyclone Season Tactics

Hello there!

I'm planning on leaving Bermuda in November and heading through Panama into the Pacific. I've been to the Pacific before and loved it, so i'm planning on spending about 2 years slowly working my way from island to ialsnd. My question is what is the general consensus on the Pacific Cyclone season. I know some skippers haul out for the season and fly somewhere to find work, others go North and out of the cyclone belt. What are the other options? Are there any islands (or better yet, island chains) that offer good enough anchorages that i could hang out there for the season, or that get cyclones seldom enough that they're not really a problem? Are the weather forecasts good enough that you can see the things coming far enough in advance?

Any and all advice much appreciated.

Cheers!
__________________

__________________
DefinitelyMe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-06-2013, 10:23   #2
Senior Cruiser
 
Jim Cate's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2008
Location: cruising SW Pacific
Boat: Jon Sayer 1-off 46 ft fract rig sloop strip plank in W Red Cedar
Posts: 11,467
Re: South Pacific Cyclone Season Tactics

FWIW:

We have always used the "go South, young man" approach, sailing to either New Zealand or Australia in late November or early December and not returning to the islands until May/June at the earliest. Has worked for us...

There are relatively good cyclone anchorages in various island groups, but overcrowding is an issue in many places, and some boats (ours, for instance) have draft issues getting into some of the mangrove anchorages. (This is the one significant issue with deeper draft boats in this part of the world.)

Some folks enjoy leaving their boats in Fiji on the hard at the Vunda Point marina . Here the practice is to dig a hole in the ground for the keel and prop the boat on a bunch of tires. Some report great experiences, others not so much. There was some storm damage last year when a TC hit there, and for other years there are reports of insect and rodent damage, mold and other tropical problems. We've never been tempted...

Alternatively, one can go north to the Solomons or other islands which are too near the equator to be in serious cyclone territory. Nice islands to cruise, but bloody hot and humid in cyclone season. Or, obviously one can cross over into the N Pac and switch seasons.

Obviously your choice depends a lot on your own cruising style. If periodic returns to work are required father than continuous cruising a different approach works. Only you can tell!

Cheers,

Jim
__________________

__________________
Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II , lying Port Cygnet, Tasmania once again
Jim Cate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-06-2013, 10:55   #3
Registered User

Join Date: May 2013
Location: Mangareva, French Polynesia
Boat: Heritage West Indies 36
Posts: 513
Re: South Pacific Cyclone Season Tactics

Thanks Jim it's really great to hear from someone with first-hand knowledge to share. I have a friend that just returned to his boat having left it on the hard as you described. He tells me the boat might as well have been made of mould when he returned to it.

If you head to Australia or New Zealand how easy is it to get back East? Do you stay South to stay out of the SE trade winds or is that generally not a problem?
__________________
DefinitelyMe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-06-2013, 11:16   #4
Senior Cruiser
 
Jim Cate's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2008
Location: cruising SW Pacific
Boat: Jon Sayer 1-off 46 ft fract rig sloop strip plank in W Red Cedar
Posts: 11,467
Re: South Pacific Cyclone Season Tactics

Quote:
Originally Posted by DefinitelyMe View Post
Thanks Jim it's really great to hear from someone with first-hand knowledge to share. I have a friend that just returned to his boat having left it on the hard as you described. He tells me the boat might as well have been made of mould when he returned to it.

If you head to Australia or New Zealand how easy is it to get back East? Do you stay South to stay out of the SE trade winds or is that generally not a problem?
From NZed it isn't too hard to get as far east as Tonga utilizing a more or less rhumb line course. For islands further east, some folks sail eastward in the zone between the trades and the westerlies. Wx conditions there are "variable" and passages range from not so bad to pretty stiff. We haven't done it ourselves, so won't comment further. And of course, any N/S trans TAsman passage is likely to involve encountering at least one frontal system which can enliven the experience of visiting NZed.

From Oz we have limited ourselves to visiting NCal, VAnuatu and the Sollies (so far). After some experimentation we've found that for us the best method for getting east is to leave from Southport when there is an east coast low off of Sydney or thereabouts. This usually give you two or three days of W'ly quadrant winds during which you get as much easting as possible. Then as the wind backs to the SE one has a nice close reach to Noumea or southern Vanuatu. One memorable passage we had the wind aft of the beam all the way to Pt Vila... thought we were dreaming! Anyway, starting out that far north means that any fronts that cross the Tasman will be fairly weak if they catch us out... plus you avoid the seamounts near Lord Howe.

Hope that this helps...

Cheers,

JIm
__________________
Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II , lying Port Cygnet, Tasmania once again
Jim Cate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-06-2013, 11:34   #5
CF Adviser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Boat: Custom Van De Stadt 47 Samoa
Posts: 3,754
Re: South Pacific Cyclone Season Tactics

Quote:
Originally Posted by DefinitelyMe View Post

If you head to Australia or New Zealand how easy is it to get back East? Do you stay South to stay out of the SE trade winds or is that generally not a problem?
You stay south, about 38-40S. It's similar conditions to going east at 40n in the North Atlantic, but perhaps a bit more variable wind conditions. We have done nz to Australs, and its certainly doable but rather harsher than tropical passage making.

The cyclone risk is very low in eastern Polynesia - Easter, Pitcairn, marquesses, gambier, australs. It's also some of the most spectacular cruising in the pacific. You could pretty safely spend a whole season exploring there. And there is a haul out yard in the societies as a back up.
__________________
estarzinger is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 24-06-2013, 11:39   #6
Registered User

Join Date: May 2013
Location: Mangareva, French Polynesia
Boat: Heritage West Indies 36
Posts: 513
Re: South Pacific Cyclone Season Tactics

Hmmm, i like that idea. Don't really fancy tackling the Southern Ocean and i've been to Pitcairn and French Polynesia before. Spectacular is an understatement! Think i'll go that route the first year, maybe drop in to NZ the second :-)
__________________
DefinitelyMe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-06-2013, 15:49   #7
Moderator
 
JPA Cate's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: aboard, cruising in Australia
Boat: Sayer 46' Solent rig sloop
Posts: 10,712
Re: South Pacific Cyclone Season Tactics

While you're dreaming, looking at charts, take a look at Anaho Bay on Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Is. It was once reported to us as a place where one might be able to sit out a cyclone. Can't vouch for it, because we have conservatively got clear out of the cyclone belt for the season. Also, you might have to arrive after Nov. 1 to be allowed to stay the whole season in "Outre Mer", the French affiliated South Pacific. That part is worth checking out carefully.

Ann
__________________
Ann, with Jim, aboard US s/v Insatiable II, in Oz, very long term cruisers
JPA Cate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-06-2013, 16:25   #8
Registered User
 
Albro359's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Elyse is in Fiji
Boat: Amel Super Maramu 2000
Posts: 510
Re: South Pacific Cyclone Season Tactics

We've done Vuda Pt on the hard. The trick is to have a caretaker look after your boat. We used a guy called Bahross. He would come every day and open up the hatches, clean off any mould / moisture or what have you. When we came back to Fiji in April the boat was perfect inside.
Also done the run to New Zealand twice..first time from New Cal..960 miles took 6 days, left with a NE wind from under a low that was heading to Vanuatu.
The other time left Fiji for NZ, 1250 miles, motored 74 hours due to no wind, it was like a lake out there.
The sea between the south pacific islands and NZ is hardly the Southern Ocean...sure it can get a bit hard at times, but if you pick your timing its easily doable, dozens do it every year AND you get the advantage of being able to cruise in NZ in the summer !
__________________
See you out there ....... Alan S.V. Elyse
now http://svelyse.weebly.com
older http://voyagesofDIVA.weebly.com
Albro359 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-06-2013, 18:33   #9
CF Adviser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Boat: Custom Van De Stadt 47 Samoa
Posts: 3,754
Re: South Pacific Cyclone Season Tactics

^^

The comment about the southern ocean was not directed at the "normal" routes between Nz and tonga/Fiji/new cal, but rather at going east from NZ back to Polynesia.
__________________
estarzinger is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 24-06-2013, 18:41   #10
Registered User
 
Albro359's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Elyse is in Fiji
Boat: Amel Super Maramu 2000
Posts: 510
Re: South Pacific Cyclone Season Tactics

Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
^^

The comment about the southern ocean was not directed at the "normal" routes between Nz and tonga/Fiji/new cal, but rather at going east from NZ back to Polynesia.
Fair enough...but 38-40S is about where you go to about 155W before heading up, so not so far south.
__________________
See you out there ....... Alan S.V. Elyse
now http://svelyse.weebly.com
older http://voyagesofDIVA.weebly.com
Albro359 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-06-2013, 21:47   #11
Registered User

Join Date: May 2013
Location: Mangareva, French Polynesia
Boat: Heritage West Indies 36
Posts: 513
Re: South Pacific Cyclone Season Tactics

Thanks very much this is invaluable advise. Given the experience that a friend of mine had recently (Phil Worboys, Saber 34 called Magic, currently somewhere near the society islands. Superb guy if you have the fortune to run into him) and the feedback that you've given me i think i'll avoid hauling out if possible. I really like the idea of spending at least one season in New Zealand as i've never been there.

40 South sounds great if it's anything like 40 North in the Atlantic, though of course in the Atlantic you have the warm Gulf Stream there. Presumably you want to stay round about where the south equatorial current heading back East having hit New Zealand meets the colder Easterly current coming up from the Antarctic (and more the former than the latter!)? Great, i'd previously thought that getting back East from NZ would be a cold, wet, miserable ordeal! Glad to hear it's not as bad as all that.

155 West...... right about level with French Polynesia - perfect!
__________________
DefinitelyMe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-08-2013, 03:48   #12
Registered User

Join Date: May 2011
Location: Philippines
Boat: custom 42' catamaran
Posts: 269
Re: South Pacific Cyclone Season Tactics

Since no one else mentioned it, The Philippines has several places to hide from Typhoons - my catamaran went through Sendong in Tombobo Bay in southern Negros with no problems and just moored with an extra line to back up my bridle. Carmen and the Cebu Yacht Club on Cebu are OK. Both Puerto Galera and Subic on Luzon are supposed to be safe - but Luzon attracts Typhoons for some reason. Davao has a yacht club on Samar Island and it is far enough south that one rarely hears of Typhoon activity. Not too far away is Malaysia and Thailand which may be safe as well.
__________________
Bruce626 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-08-2013, 03:59   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 4,963
Re: South Pacific Cyclone Season Tactics

Take a good look at the Marshall Islands, had some wonderful experiences there.
__________________
robert sailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-08-2013, 04:34   #14
Marine Service Provider

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Cook Islands Rarotonga
Boat: Hudson 50 and Formossa 51
Posts: 82
Re: South Pacific Cyclone Season Tactics

i run two charter boats in rarotonga ,"hudson 50" formossa 51 " we have a haul out trailer and usually pull out about dec , we havn"t had a cyclone for 5 years , been a few close calls but been lucky
__________________
bizzy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-08-2013, 06:14   #15
Registered User

Join Date: May 2013
Location: Mangareva, French Polynesia
Boat: Heritage West Indies 36
Posts: 513
Re: South Pacific Cyclone Season Tactics

What's the cost of the Raro haul-out? I'd love to hang around there for a few months. I was there back in 2002 on board the Picton Castle. You might be familiar with the ship?
__________________

__________________
DefinitelyMe is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:19.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.