SURVIVING A CYCLONE ON A BOAT
The year 2020 will go down as many things, but I never expected to add two cyclones in one week to the hit list (Yasa & Zazu). Much less for it to be the same week we splashed our sailboat after being stranded for a year because of a pandemic. What a welcome back?!
I mean seriously, who needs fiction when you have 2020. I can’t make this stuff up!
We have worked like mad dogs, for three months straight, refitting our sailboat. “All we have to do is get in the water. We’ll take a break once we’re in the water.” These are the phrases we have uttered to ourselves repeatedly. Little did we know the initiation Mother Nature had in store for us.
On the cusp of burnout and well into a state of delirium we have recommissioned our boat and our sea legs all in one fail swoop. But dammit, we’re spending Christmas and New Years’ on the water!
We are floating once again, and the sea air is flowing through the portlights. All is not right in the world but at least it’s looking more and more familiar.
So much more could be said, commiserated (freaking generator), and celebrated (Jason got the dinghy up) but it’s late and I’m tired.
It’s been a wild ride unlike any other and it’s been made better because you were here. Thank you.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and wishing you the very best New Year,
Nikki & Jason
Hello Everyone! There is some debate about how we tied up to our mooring ball in this video and we wanted to clear up the questions.
Make no mistake, WE DID IT WRONG!
We attached to our crossbeam which is not meant for taking heavy loads (i.e. heavy winds/weather). We should have attached to our bridal (which is a pain the butt to attach to a mooring on our boat…aka, we were being lazy).
We underestimated Mother Nature. We based our preparations too strongly on the weather predictions. We did not follow that age-old adage: Prepare for the Worst and Hope for the Best!
We expected 30 knots or so of wind and a small tropical storm. The system sat on top of Vava’u for nearly 2 days while it built and formed into a category one cyclone (named ZAZU). Fortunately, we learned this lesson without any consequence. When the winds started building to 40-knots we knew we were under-secured to our mooring. We did man the helm and continuously checked our holding.
Once Tropical Cyclone ZAZU passed, in preparation for tropical cyclone YASA (a category 4 cyclone), we beefed up our holding to the mooring. Which we showed on our Instagram stories (@the_wynns) under the cyclone highlights.
Here’s what we did to beef up our holding in preparation for the big cyclone:
- Main Lines: 2 Lines run to the anchor bridal ring. 2 slacked lines run to the outside forward cleats with chafe guard.
- Backup: Large Anchor line tied to mooring chain (3 links below the shackle) attached at anchor bridal ring.
- 2nd Backup: Slacked lines to the crossbeam
We suggest if you’re preparing for a cyclone you should discuss techniques with your boat manufacturer and talk to the local boaters as they may have insight that’s worth consideration.
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Samuel K. Tennis
Were those the 25th and 26th cyclones of the season? Or in the South Pacific do they start off where last year left off? Would actually make more sense! Except that would mean there have to be as many “Z” names as say “A”, “E”, “M” or “P”…
good lord this bring back memories! In 2019 we were on a mooring in the Bay of Shoals at Kangaroo Island, Australia. At 5am the wind picked up and peaked at 50 knots with gusts of 60 knots. We had to start our engine and drive into it to ensure we stayed on the Mooring. I was filming the wind gauges and you can see our dhingy that was still in the water flying up in the air. Another boat was not so lucky and they clearly weren’t experienced sailors as they decided to drop their mooring and head out but were motoring side on to the wind which results in a huge amount of damage to their boat. They were very lucky to stay afloat! The winds were not predicted at all so it was high stress and we had to think fast!
Bottom of boat paint job looks great, (and cleaning) Have a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year. Look forward to more Wynn Adventures
Nothing like a fresh, smooth bottom! She moves at least half a knot faster because of it!
2 fish back in the water!! Such realistic cyclone prep – geez you guys are good!! 😎⚓️⛵️🏝
What’s your next stop? Good luck in 2021. Good riddance 2020
Awesome. Recommissioned. What is the name of your ship? New cats? Luck and happiness in the future.
Terri & Holly Nadeau
Merry Christmas! Thank you for sharing your lives with us. You two are so loved.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you both! Thanks for the awesome memories of 2020 — crazy covid-times. Stay safe, well and happy! Looking forward to seeing you again in 2021! Praying it’s a better year for everyone! God Bless you and keep you safe and sound! Merry and Happy Everything and thank you!! 💖🏝🦌🛷🎅🎁💖🥂🍾⛵️🙏🙏
Life does sometimes make you want to scream, doesn’t it!! But finally you’re at least back in your “home”. But 2 cyclones!! No one should have to go through that. Best wishes for a Merry Christmas. You deserve it!
Merry Christmas Jason and Nikki,
So happy to see you are safely back in the water….love seeing what you are up to and how life is a continuous learning curve! Enjoy your break- stay safe.. cheers to the New Year and new adventures. Hugs from both of us Stella and Jack🇨🇦
Time for a Sundowner, or three.
After all the work you did, you sure ended up with a beautiful boat. Talk about a baptism by fire. THAT is a shakedown cruise. Happy holidays, guys, welcome home (to the water). Enjoy your break, get some rest, and looking forward to next year.
Thanks for another terrific video. Welcome back to the awesome blue water.
Thank you for letting me see what it is like to live on the water while in a cyclone or two.
If your not a Mr. Fix-it, buy a boat, sail and live on it for some years. You’ll become a Mr. Fix-it.
Nikki, I am used to seeing you in the kitchen creating and concocting or at least making drinks but not so here.
You both have been through a lot finally getting to Tonga, readying Curiosity and now 2 cyclones. Break-time.👍😊😍.
Stay Safe. Be Well. Keep Smiling.
Thanks Alan! It has been quite a year and you’ve been here with us through it all. Thank you for that! We’re looking forward to getting back to familiar routines in 2021. 😘
Merry Christmas guys. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Here’s hoping that 2021 is better for all of us.
Scott L Arndt
You may have not know it at the time, but looks like Tonga was an important stop for you to do much needed maintenance on your boat. Now you are ready for the 2nd half of the world tour. Thanks
Diane M Silverstein
Wow. I am so engrossed in your adventures!! You’re inspiration to so many of us adventure seekers. Keep having a blast, stay healthy, happy, and safe. So glad you’re home again on Curiosity. Merry, Merry Christmas!
Scott L Arndt
You two are an awesome inspiration! Thanks so much
Lee (Oakham UK)
Hey Jason & Nikki, well that was a bit of a roller coaster instalment. So good to see you back in the wet stuff, the sense of relief is clear to see and it feels like some normality is finally beginning to return. And then before we’ve had time to warm our bagels in comes a storm, gone with the wynns nearly went off in the wind! Have a well deserved break, let’s toast 2021!!
Enjoy your break guys! The rest will do you good. Plenty of cold beer here in Sydney and we have an excellent mooring in the bush just Nth of Sydney at Bobbin Head. Sadly Sydney is just going back into lock down but I’m confident we’ll be all sorted by the time your done with NZ. You may be planning on AKL for the America’s Cup I’d imagine. That would be an absolute blast. April /May is an excellent time to be on the East Coast of OZ if that takes your fancy. Look forward to the Jan post. Cheers Gibbo
Great to see Curiosity is back in the water. Thanks for sharing your adventures in such an honest and informative way. I’m looking forward to seeing more in the New Year. Merry Christmas to you both.
So glad you made it through your first two Cyclones and so nice that “Curiosity” is back to almost normal. Great video and very informative as well. We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year to both of you. Take some time out for both of you and enjoy the time of the season and so glad you let us tag along. Stay Safe and have toast for us!
Love the video, stay safe and enjoy the rest of your holiday.
I was wondering if you can tell me what is the name of your iPad stand? I can’t find it on your gear page and it looks awesome to use while standing up.
Thanks in Advance
Hi guys, long term watcher, first time comment. Cyclone prep tips…..
Take your boom down if you can. Or remove the mainsail from the boom.
And while you were facing 70knots with a 100m lee shore situation if it was me i DEFINETLY would have had at least one engine just idling. In case. Charge batteries, make water, have a hot shower, and be ready in case suddenly all 3 anchor alarms go off ( yes have 3)
Also you had 2 points tied to the mooring ball. I would also have had a large single extra line going from the chain under the ball to a third fixed point on the anchor locker. Stronger than the bridle setup.
That way if it fails your still attached.
Always have extra levels of backup safety in case something fails.
I’ve learned the hard way:)
Also, next time, take down your soft covers blinds at the rear of the boat , over 70knts will destroy them.
And do a fresh water bulge pump test. Run 10 litres of fresh water into your bulges and make sure all the pumps do their job.
Also, tie Minion up laterally with extra lines. So wind cant blow it sideways. If you have to move because a drifting boat was about to smash into you, the dingy could be getting blown sideways and get damaged.
Great videos guys, love your work!!
Don’t let cyclones beat you up, id be very upset if you had to stop sailing due to storm [email protected]
Chat again soon!
John from Brisbane.
Oh, and I’m a marine electrician, need any help when your here call 0435649848
Congrats! Great to see you back in the water!
Thanx for sharing your struggles! I try to copy your attitudes through out our problems with our home on wheels, you’re both such an inspiration!!
Merry Christmas! May ‘21 bring us joy and peace!
A very happy Christmas and a better new year to all! Thank you for your videos.
As I was watching the peak of the storm, I wondered if I would have had the engines running in forward at idle to take some load off the mooring ball.
Glad it all passed without incident.
Great job on the boat prep! Love your adventures! Have a wonderful holiday! Goodbye to 2020, indeed!
Do not have to tell you but 71 knots of wind is almost 82 miles per hour!! Hang in there. This is just the start of the cyclone season. At least the boat is completely
re-fitted. Have a Great Holiday “Chiling” while here we are still isolating. Your videos are a wonderful diversion.
Merry Christmas you two and hopefully a safe and happy new year…
Greetings from Florida.. So glad to see you finally got in the water and made it thru the storms. Have been following your videos for about 1 1/2 yrs. I got hooked when I saw you sailing with 2 cats. I have 5 cats and there’s no way they would take to being anywhere near the water. Got pretty emotional when you had to leave your cats behind. Then really enjoyed it when you fostered that kitten. You guys make quite a team. Love your passion with every adventure you go on. Never realized all the work it takes with permits, etc. to go to each destination….I suggested to someone who just bought a sailboat that has sat for many years to start watching your videos to show how hard it is to refurbish one and get in the water. Watching your videos I find myself researching every place you go and LOVE when you are diving with whales, rays, etc. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a much Happier New Year! Can’t wait to see when you go to Australia and New Zealand!
My name is Sherry and I’ve been lucky enough to spend time scuba diving on catamarans for several years. I love living vicariously through your adventures. I can see my husband and I going exactly this. Nikki, I think you are adorable and I love your fashion. You guys have helped me focus on something beautiful during my landlocked life here in Illinois. Please share some recipes, your cooking looks scrumptious. Peace be with you two in 2021
Hey Sherry. There is a recipe tab on the sailing page of the blog, so check it out. Sadly for the rest of us, Nikki is one of those gifted cooks who can “wing it” with whatever ingredients are on hand and make a fabulous tasting dish, so she is mostly making things up as she goes along. I wish I had that talent!
Good video; glad to hear you stay in touch with your Fiji Friends and that they were all okay. I liked the short history lesson as well. Sounded sort of like an SV Delos crew intro to Neiafu.
Thank you for your continued weekly updates. We look forward to your videos each week. All the best to you both in the New Year!! Hopefully 2021 will be a year with less challenges for us all. Merry Christmas.
Jason and Nikki:
Wow – amazing and informative report this week. I learned a lot again from your detailed information. What is generally becoming clear to me is that much of the mechanical / electrical systems repairs I have done for years on cars / motorcycles / trucks / my house will absolutely come in handy on the yacht. I expected this to be the case, but, with each new report from you, the evidence is mounting that I can use that experience to maintain the systems on the yacht. So happy to be immersing myself in this information, and having your reports as litmus tests / examples / coaching / training for the future voyage and adventure is enormously beneficial for me, and I am certain, all of your followers. I used Google Earth to find the bay you are anchored in, and have marked as primary destination for cyclone season, 2022. I intend, according to current plan to arrive there by mid-summer 2021, adjusting for official cyclone season, weather, etc., pull KITTY HAWK ashore at the same yard you used, and do repairs / refit / hull repaint then. “The Plan” is becoming more secure; the foundation is almost ready. I may adjust where I acquire HAWK in September 2021; as hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean will be in full swing, I am beginning to think about locating a yacht at San Diego, and departing there following training and provisioning in January 2022. Weather, and other “unknown unknowns” will drive the schedule, not “get to Vava’u – itis”. Anyway, that’s the latest from North Texas – I am still well, quarantined by choice at home, and riding this infernal plague out I *think* with a measure of divinity and humility. Proof again, that man’s arrogance regarding his ability to control nature is a significant and deadly misconception. I think of you often, share your reports and videos with friends, and we are still rooting from the bleachers for you. I am committed to my illustrated course of action. Will keep you advised on progress. In the meantime, Merry Christmas / Happy New Year – here is to better times ahead, and great admiration for you. NEVER BE DEFEATED. If you need something, or I can help you, let me know.
Merry Christmas Nikki and Jason.
So many mixed emotions in this video! Glad your introduction to cyclone season was uneventful! Stay safe!
Wish you were here with us but you can’t always get what you want.
Love you and miss you so much! Glad you are back in your happy place! 😊💋
I know you are glad they are back home on the water. And that they came through this so well. Watching all the good they do through adversity, I also know how proud you are of them.
Looks like you both survived another first!! Great video, too!! After such a year as 2020 has been, I hope that 2021 is a little more mundane! But however 2021 presents, I know that you two will make the best of it as you always do! Here’s to a more stable and fun filled new year and Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night (without cyclones) ! 🙂
So glad you are finally back in the water.
Happy Holidays and take care.
We really have enjoyed your videos over the years! From land to sea!
Merry Christmas from Dallas, I just love your attitude towards every situation you encounter. Nothing seems to bring you down. 2021 will be a grand year as we experience and appreciate life once again.🎄🍾🎊
Matt in Laramie
Thanks guys. I get to live a whole nother life through you.
So happy to see the splash.
Very good, “Confidence, clarity and a sense of purpose are all things that need to be established, and re-established, daily.”
Congratulations on the splash, I kinda got a little emotional too, great job.
You guys are living the life I dreamed about when I was a kid growing up on the water in south Florida in the 50s. I now live on a ranch in a remote area in the Pacific NW and at age 75 I confine my adventures to putzing around in the boonies in my airplane.
Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year with no cyclones or eeeeeevil viruses
Merry Christmas and Happy 2021.. May the happiness and joy of the season follow you into the New Year. Safe travels
Great update – thank you.
If the strain on the mooring gets too much for your nerves, you can always try motoring slowly ahead to take some of the strain off the mooring lines – as long as the props remain in the water !
Hope you get some relaxation over Christmas and the New Year.
Hey guys, the boat looks fantastic! Probably better then when you first bought her. Also, thank you for always showing the true ups and downs of sailing life. I love that you two film and show exactly what it takes to own a vessel like Curiosity and keep your floating home maintained and ready for anything. It has been a tough year for everyone, and Jason, I love your comments on being resilient and to never give up, and to keep going. I am going to record that segment, and watch it every time I’m struggling with something and want to give up!
You two are such an inspiration to me and I look forward to every video.
Merry Christmas to the two of you and nothing but the best adventures to you for the New Year!
Merry Christmas Nikki and Jason! How will we top 2020? ?! !
Be safe and have fun!
Merry Christmas! Really glad you guys are back in the water and safe after a cyclone scare. I may have missed something if you already mentioned it… but I was curious about the new black coating on the bottom of your boat.
Are you going to do a video on that process? Did you do it yourselves?
Being a new land based fan to your channel, I love your videos and what you do. Here’s to a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you both. Much love from north central Alabama, where it is cold and rainy and trying to act wintery!
Merry Christmas and happy NEW YEAR.
It seemed slightly ironic that you hauled out because of cyclone season and then turned around and splashed during cyclone season. Hope you get the generator fixed before 2020 ends. May you have Fair winds & following seas come 2021!
you guys are my favourite weirdos 🙃
I hope the holiday season brings you peace, joy and lots of rest. (and a break from cyclones!)
I need a coffee for this one!
Merry Christmas guys!
Looking forward to the video! Just let me grab my coffee first.