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Old 01-06-2020, 01:15   #1
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Hardstand or Marina (Fiji)

I'm led to believe that the cyclone/storm season in South Pacific runs pretty much from November - March. One marina (in Fiji) I'm looking at are going to charge $ 500 a month for hardstand with 8 stands OR $ 355 per month for in-water berth.

I'm planning for 2021-22 and expect to arrive in Fiji at end of October 2021 and will be en route (at a leisurely pace) to Philippines.

My question is, would I be stupid to keep sailing through this "storm season" or should I berth up and sit in Fiji for several months?

If I decide to stay, is the extra $ 145 a month better spent on hardstand i.e is it considerably safer?
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Old 01-06-2020, 01:43   #2
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Re: Hardstand or Marina (Fiji)

Quote:
Originally Posted by cooper1991 View Post
I'm led to believe that the cyclone/storm season in South Pacific runs pretty much from November - March. One marina (in Fiji) I'm looking at are going to charge $ 500 a month for hardstand with 8 stands OR $ 355 per month for in-water berth.

I'm planning for 2021-22 and expect to arrive in Fiji at end of October 2021 and will be en route (at a leisurely pace) to Philippines.

My question is, would I be stupid to keep sailing through this "storm season" or should I berth up and sit in Fiji for several months?

If I decide to stay, is the extra $ 145 a month better spent on hardstand i.e is it considerably safer?

As you state cyclone season is Nov-Mar in the southern hemisphere. The Marshall's and Micronesia just north of the equator are outside of both the cyclone and typhoon belts.
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Old 01-06-2020, 03:17   #3
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Re: Hardstand or Marina (Fiji)

Will you be onboard?

If so and you are in the West, the river at Lautoka offers good security.
Substantial mangroves to run breast lines and no crocodiles.
Main road bridge is a short trip upriver from the shelter hole.

Get up river before the cruise boats block the main channel.
There is usually a couple or few days warning when an existing storm starts to track for Fiji.

If unattended

8 Acro props wont cut it on the hard as the ground turns to mush.
I've seen Acros get repurposed when a storm is approaching.
Digging a hole is a better storage solution.
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Old 01-06-2020, 07:19   #4
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Re: Hardstand or Marina (Fiji)

Yes, pits dug into holes are an option too. If I stick to the Nov-Mar shutdown, it's a long time to stay in one place and expensive to fly home plus pay rent for a pit.

The problem is you'd need guaranteed long spell of calmer weather if you'd to try moving on somewhere else, such are the vast distances between major islands.
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Old 01-06-2020, 08:45   #5
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Re: Hardstand or Marina (Fiji)

Six months is not long to stay in Fiji unless you stay in a marina or on the hard.

November to March is fantastic fishing, diving & sailing weather in the north & west of Fiji.

Relentless trade winds are gone with breeze from all directions every few or 4 days.

North can be wet but the West is dry away from Viti Levu.
Suva is humid.

Supply and services are the best in the region - excluding Aus & NZ.
Living is cheap if you partially emulate the locals.

Cruising is varied with some great anchorages off resorts, villages and remote islands.
Much of the cruising is in smooth or partially smooth water.

Cyclones are random and can occur any time even outside the designated season. I sat out a near miss in Pago Pago in May.

The early warning system is good and usually the developing system moves slowly (at first) so plenty of time to get out of the way.

Next destination is not so far - Port Villa 500 nm. Honiara another 500 from Santo then New Brittan anotheer 500 ish.
New Caledonia is 250 from Villa.

Even NZ is reachable on a northerly in 4-6 days and by day 3 you would be out of reach of any but the fastest moving system (e.g. Sue 1999 25kts )
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Old 01-06-2020, 09:36   #6
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Re: Hardstand or Marina (Fiji)

Superb information, thanks.

It sounds to me then that you can still sail all through that period but you need to only sail when the weather is pretty certain for 7-10 days? Also is anchoring possible in that period all the time, with hiding up a river in mangroves as a safety plan?

Getting back from NZ maybe more troublesome?

What average knots per hour should I plan for in South Pacific (May - Oct)? 5 knots? (Nov-Mar) 6 knots? Time sailing effects water, petrol and other supply levels?
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Old 01-06-2020, 12:21   #7
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Re: Hardstand or Marina (Fiji)

You should factor in the cost of haul out travel lift and power wash as well if you haven't already.
Plus there could be other things to do while hauled such a cleaning out the though hulls which get restricted with marine growth in those warm nutrient waters. That can interfere with cooling for engine, genset and refrigeration.
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