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What are the options for keeping your boat in French Polynesia during the cyclone season?

By Nikki Puttergill - with links from noonsite — last modified Nov 02, 2017 09:40 PM
Nikki of Sail Tahiti – Brokerage and Sport Boats, offers her thoughts on what options are available if wanting to spend the cyclone season in French Polynesia (with links to noonsite information on each place).

Published: 2016-08-18 23:00:00
Topics: Weather
Countries: French Polynesia

What are the options for keeping your boat in French Polynesia during the cyclone season?

Autona, Marquesas - courtesy of SV Totem

We’re a couple who cruised to Tahiti from France, sailing the Med, Brazil, Caribbean and now French Polynesia.

French Polynesia allows foreign boats to stay for up to 3 years, without incurring customs duties. We love it here and want other cruisers to know that there are several options to keep their boat in French Polynesian waters to get the full benefit of this beautiful region.

A key concern for cruisers are cyclones.  So what are the options for keeping your boat safe?

The first thing to know is that Tahiti lies on the limit of the South Pacific cyclone region.  Due to this you can insure a boat that stays in Tahiti during this period because the risk is quite low (from the end of November to the end of March – the reverse of the Caribbean hurricane season).

There are several options to keep a boat in and out of the water. 

Dry dock and storage options:

MMS Services in Hiva Oa, Marquesas
This boatyard is completely outside the cyclone region and can take monohulls and multihulls up to 25 tons. 

Apataki Carenage in Apataki, Tuamotus
Further east than Tahiti, again lowering the cyclone risk, this yard takes mono and multihulls up to 20 tons, although it is a more remote yard.

In the water:

Papeete Marina, Tahiti
Located in the centre of town, with a very good set-up of pontoons, electricity, water and other services. Normally they have space here during cyclone season. 

Marina Taina, Tahiti
Near the Tahiti airport, this marina is popular with superyachts all year round as well as lots of local boats. Limited space in their marina so advance booking is needed, however there are plenty of mooring buoys. 

Port Phaeton, Tahiti
This land locked lagoon is on the South West coast of Tahiti on the south side of the isthmus joining Tahiti Nui to Tahiti Iti. It is a hurricane hole providing excellent shelter for cyclone season on your own anchor, even better if your boat is the right size for haulout at Tahiti Nautic Center.

You can also keep your boat in the Leeward islands, although they carry a higher cyclone risk.

Raiatea
There are 2 marinas in Raiatea although space is limited and advance reservation is possible for residents only.
There is also dry dock storage at Chantier Naval des Iles S/Vent and Raiatea Carenage Services.

Costs

For an idea of prices, dry storing a 37’ boat will cost in the region of 300€ per month, with approx. a 300€ charge for haul out.

Keeping a boat in Papeete Marina during low season (cyclone season) is 1000€ per month.

Keeping a boat on a mooring buoy in Marina Taina, on a long-term contract, is approx. 200€ per month (but I wouldn’t choose this option to leave a boat during the cyclone season without paying someone to oversee it for me).

Nikki Puttergill
Sail Tahiti – Brokerage and Sport Boats
www.sailtahiti.com
If you have any questions regarding any of the details provided or about facilities in Tahiti, please do contact me on nikki@sailtahiti.com

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AmyEAlton
AmyEAlton says:
Nov 01, 2017 10:06 PM

When dealing with cyclone season, remember to check with your insurance. Our insurance requires us to be north of 8 degrees for coverage, which excludes Hiva Oa and Apataki.

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