Surviving a Cyclone on a Boat

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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