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Old 22-02-2014, 00:07   #1
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Tahiti as a first sailing ground ?

Hi folks, i'm interested in buying my first boat, my preference would be to get one in Asia and then spend a few years cruising here. I haven't managed to find anything suitable yet but have seen a boat in Tahiti that i am very interested in.

Thing that concerns me is that it probably isn't a great place to start sailing your first boat or am i wrong ? (I am not a novice, done some courses and about 8000NM so far on other peoples boats)

The next groups of islands ars a few hundred miles away - Fiji/Tonga,etc, and i can't stay in Tahiti forever so would have to move out after a few months (Especially for the cyclone season).

I would be sailing single handed and don't want to tackle the oceans by myself yet !!

I am right in my thinking or am i worrying about nothing ?
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Old 22-02-2014, 02:45   #2
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Re: Tahiti as a first sailing ground ?

Don't worry, get crew.. (wish I had time.. )
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Old 22-02-2014, 05:24   #3
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Re: Tahiti as a first sailing ground ?

I sailed in Tahiti for a month, back in the 80's. It is beautiful, but you need to have some sailing skills, and be able to read the waters. I don't know how it is now, but I would be very concerned about going it alone, with out some history of being on a boat when you are in coral ridden waters. A bow watch is critical. The ocean is much easier. With very few exceptions, the ocean won't get you, it's the hard edges that will. Don't give up the plan, alter it to get a bit more experience, or a crew mate.
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Old 22-02-2014, 13:42   #4
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Re: Tahiti as a first sailing ground ?

Tahit and Moorea are very benign sailing areas as long as there is not a tropical cyclone in the offing. Winds tend to be moderate and the weather almost always delightful. The passes are well marked and the bays deep and easily navigated unless you want to venture into quite shallow waters. Even then, it's easy to gunk hole if you have someone at the spreaders to read the water color and spot coral heads. The Tuamotus can be a challenge because of their low profile on the leeward side. GPS has pretty much done away with the navigational issues that garnered them the 'Dangerous Archipelago' moniker, however. Navigating inside the lagoon takes some vigilance but still doable for a single hander if you stay in the channels and don't wander too far afield. The Marquesas are also a delightful group of volcanic islands with similar sailing conditions to Tahiti though the anchorages are not as protected.

The southern summer, November to April can bring some nasty weather especially in a full blown El Nino period. Plenty of protected anchorages and good holding so not as quite as bad as other areas. We were there at the beginning of an El Nino and experienced only one spate of bad weather from a tropical depression. We were tucked snugly deep in a Opunohu Bay on Moorea. Even though winds were reported as a steady 50k at the height of the storm, we were secure and comfortable throughout. The following year, with the El Nino fully developed, was not so benign. They experienced 3 full blown cyclones with hurricane force winds. Still the cruising boats seemed to make out okay, not so good for the local's roofs, however.

To sum it up, Tahiti is a great place to get your sea legs with a number of Islands and Island groups to explore in mostly ideal conditions.
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Old 23-02-2014, 07:35   #5
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Re: Tahiti as a first sailing ground ?

Thanks for the info. I was hoping you would tell me i was crazy and i could then forget about it !!

More thinking...........
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Old 08-03-2014, 10:18   #6
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Re: Tahiti as a first sailing ground ?

I was in Tahiti the same year as RoverHi and his lovely wife, and will tell you a good way to navigate, IF YOU PROMISE NOT TO LAUGH! I had both British charts and French charts, but after going into many of the less traveled passes, I started using what the cruisers refered to as local knowledge. POST CARDS! yes airial photo post cards of the passes that all of the tourist shops were full of. They gave a much better idea of how the pass looked than a black and white chart. They were not a substitute for charts but in addition to charts. It was kind of a laugh among the cruisers, but they were a big help. If you have 8K miles behind you, Tahiti should not be too difficult if you are cautious, and plan well. I spent 13 months in FP and loved every minute of it. I am bucket list age now, and going back (under sail) is way high on the list. Best of luck to you. _____Grant.
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Old 12-03-2014, 17:01   #7
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Re: Tahiti as a first sailing ground ?

I second what roverhi said.

Also, use satellite images as your modern post cards Info on a free program for satellite image navigation linked here.

Electronic charting on Estrellita: SAS Planet & OpenCPN ~ SV Estrellita 5.10b

And finally, why not get a long stay visa and do your first year of cruising in French Polynesia. Spend cyclone season in the Marquesas or Gambiers...then continue on the next year when you have some sea miles on yourself and your new boat.
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Old 12-03-2014, 19:17   #8
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Re: Tahiti as a first sailing ground ?

Tahiti and Moorea are not so hard to cruise. Pick your weather and you can easily add Huahine, Riatea, Tahaa and Bora Bora.

The big question is if the boat has the import duty paid. If not it can only stay in French Poly 18 months before leaving or paying the tax (Not sure but I think it's 30%).

If the duty's been paid, you'll only have to worry about yourself. Americans/Canadians get 90 days on tourist visa or you can apply from your home country for 180 days on a long stay visa.

I would spend a couple hundred dollars on an agent to look into the status of the boat before buying in FP.
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Old 13-03-2014, 09:23   #9
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Re: Tahiti as a first sailing ground ?

Not to be contrary to Nakias helpful response but...

Long stay visas for FP can be one year long and renewable. We are on one right now. Just check 'more than one year' on the application. The rest of the materials submitted stay the same.

The status of the boat for taxes should be clearly stated by the broker and the broker/seller should have the Papeetization (tax) paperwork if it has been paid. I wouldn't think you would need an agent to find out, although perhaps when buying?
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