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Old 25-08-2018, 10:52   #1
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Where Best in S Pac for cyclone season

Looking for advice, recommendations, any experiences to share: We are a 51í mono currently spending time between dock and anchor in Papeete, and anchor in Moorea, with long stay visas. We are getting comfortable w idea of delaying further significant westing until cyclone season (Dec-March) ends. But what until then? 7 moís of just hanging and waiting dockside seems wrong.
1) If we fly to states for family things that are going on, what is best plan/place for leaving boat unattended? (What if a 3 mo absence?)
2) If we want to do some regional sailing, exploring, keeping an eye on weather, how far is too far during cyclone season, before we risk getting caught out? (This is asked based on local advice that Tahiti hasnít had a hit since early 80ís and even that was minor, I.e. if Tahiti/Moorea is ďhomeĒ base can we safely venture as far as Bora Bora (or?) and still get enough warning to get safe, or are we going to just get stuck at the dock for 4 moís?
Thank you!
S/V UnMundo
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Old 25-08-2018, 13:08   #2
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Re: Where Best in S Pac for cyclone season

Weather pattern in the SP have been a lot more unpredictable in recent years with more intense storms developing in areas rarely saw storm development. The paths of these storms may also have become more complex. Wherever you choose, good communication and access to weather and a contingency plan are a must and, if choosing not to sail away from the storm's path, a robust mooring arrangement away from other boats. At present, my pick for cyclone season would be Vuda in Fiji.
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Old 25-08-2018, 14:30   #3
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Re: Where Best in S Pac for cyclone season

You can generally get pretty good warning for tropical storms; meteofrance's meteorologists are as good as everyone else's. It would depend on what systems you're using. Their MSL's will show the lows developing, and you can track them. Sometimes such storm development is erratic.

You could go to the Australs, they're a lot further south. You could take the southern route to NZ and/or Australia.

Many options, really. Some people in the SP go north to get out of the cyclone belt, towards the equator. Your choices will depend on the kind of environment you enjoy. New Caledonia is reported to be nice in cyclone season, but marina space is scarce for a named storm, and you must have insurance to pay for damaging the marina before you are allowed in. There are places where people can go to sit out cyclones, way more options for shallow draft vessels, though. We have always come south for cyclone season. In Australia, we go a long way south. ;-)


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Old 28-08-2018, 11:15   #4
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Re: Where Best in S Pac for cyclone season

Thanks both!
Our current thinking is to continue to roam around Tahiti and Moorea, venture to Huahine and Bora Bora before much longer, keeping an eye on weather as the Ďseasoní gets nearer, and hunker down in a safe lee bay when and if something starts this way (maybe Cooks Bay at Moorea or Port Phaeton bottom side of Tahiti). Of course this Ďplaní doesnít take into account any notion of flying home and leaving the beast unattended, which still has attraction, so trying to further figure out.
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Old 28-08-2018, 15:42   #5
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Re: Where Best in S Pac for cyclone season

From what I've been hearing, there will not be marina space in the Societies for your boat, so, to stay, you'd have to give up your trip to the US, and Cook Bay is open to the north, so Port Phaeton is probably a better bet, but fetch is the problem you'll have to solve. I have never been to the Australs, but I am pretty sure they get cyclone "leftovers", and I do not know what their facilities are. I do not think you'd find somewhere to leave the boat there, but I don't know for sure.

Probably, your easier option is to decide whether you want to visit the intervening island groups, Cooks, Niue, Tonga, Fiji, and then NZ. There will be somewhere in NZ you can leave the boat, and picking the islands up again at Fiji or New Caledonia should not be too difficult. If your vessel is insured, your insurance may not cover you if you leave it in the cyclone zone, it is worth a look to find that out, before you make up your minds.

You've left it kind of late, but something might turn up. Good luck with it.

If I were to offer advice, I'd say go to NZ. To me, that is the safest, most conservative option. The back story here is that one time, I was in the States, and Jim in Mexico, when a cyclone came to the Sea of Cortez. Alone, Jim had no one to help him, and he actually had to leave his spot in a hurricane hole when other skippers put out so many extra anchors he no longer had swinging room. He went out elsewhere, where it happened there were only 6 boats or so, and more experienced (and maybe smarter) skippers were anchored, and they all worked together, with similar enough strategies. One tends to imagine oneself alone in these situations, but there are usually others you don't know and due to language difficulties, you cannot communicate well, especially under stress. Anyhow, that's why I advise NZ. From there, you can work eastwards as far as you have the desire for, to pick up closer to where you left off from. It will not be "easy", for your boat is not a weatherly design, but most everything can be done, just takes more tacks and time.

Good luck with it.



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Old 28-08-2018, 20:20   #6
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Re: Where Best in S Pac for cyclone season

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoTies View Post
Weather pattern in the SP have been a lot more unpredictable in recent years with more intense storms developing in areas rarely saw storm development. The paths of these storms may also have become more complex. Wherever you choose, good communication and access to weather and a contingency plan are a must and, if choosing not to sail away from the storm's path, a robust mooring arrangement away from other boats. At present, my pick for cyclone season would be Vuda in Fiji.


Not my experience, but a friend always left her boat on the hard @ Vuda marina with the keel down in a trench, hull resting on tyres. Very popular method there for cyclone season so booking early is important.
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