Every year, hundreds of boats transit the South Pacific,

The frequency of cyclones in the South Pacific based on Australian Bureau of Meteorology data. Copyright

leaving from ports in North or Central America. By the end of the cruising season, each boat has to decide where they feel safe to weather out the South Pacific cyclone season. The most common strategy is to reach New Zealand or Australia by the end of October or early November.

While sailors from some countries, notably the French, have been staying year-round in the South Pacific for decades, the idea is catching on with a growing minority of cruisers from other countries.

In general these boats take one of three strategies:

1) stay inside the hurricane-affected zone, either moored or cruising near a hurricane hole;

2) take the boat north outside of the cyclone zone; or

3) take the boat east outside of the cyclone-affected zone.

Livia L. Gilstrap is a live-aboard voyager with her partner Carol Dupuis aboard their 35-foot Wauquiez Pretorien, Estrellita 5.10b. They have spent two seasons in the South Pacific without leaving the tropics, and while researching our options we came across a great deal of seemingly contradictory and misleading information from fellow cruisers, experts and cruising guides. The question of “what is safe enough” is something that must be answered individually.

Read Livia’s analysis at Ocean Navigator Magazine.

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