March 29, 2021
Noonsite March Sailing News and Updates
With Spring comes migration planning for Caribbean cruisers as hurricane season approaches. Even more so this year with the announcement by the National Hurricane Centre that it will begin Tropical Weather Outlooks for the Atlantic basin from May 15, two weeks before the official start of the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season on June 1.
World Cruising Club's ARC Europe rally from the Caribbean to Europe will go ahead as scheduled in early May for cruisers wanting to sail in company across the Atlantic. With entry restrictions still in place in the BVI, the start destination is likely to switch to Sint Maarten. Due to restrictions in the Azores, entry numbers are being reduced this year, so interested cruisers should contact WCC urgently to secure a place.

Just as many of the boats arriving in the Caribbean last Autumn were Covid-grounded, those planning to exit this Spring will face many of the same challenges. Quarantine on arrival as you move up the island chain has to be taken into consideration - in some islands as much as 14 days - plus the cost of testing in each new country. Careful tracking of the changing protocols is vital.
Puerto Rico as a staging post on the way north should not be overlooked. Its western and southern coastline offers lovely cruising as described by Joan Conover (SSCA) and José Mendez (Marina Pescaderia) in this round up of options for boats migrating north this hurricane season.

Heading south, Guyana, French Guiana and Suriname are all outside the hurricane zone and offer simple entry protocols.
To the west, Guatemala’s Rio Dulce is another popular choice for hurricane season, with a wide range of marinas to choose from and straightforward protocols. Honduras Bay Islands can be accessed with some patience and advance paperwork.
For the Caribbean remainers, options are limited. Grenada, always a popular choice because of its great cruising community and for insurance reasons, is filling up. Trinidad and Tobago remain closed. The ABCs are situated to the south of most paths of recent hurricanes, but cases are rising in Curacao and restrictions tightening up there.

The exodus from the Caribbean this year should not be as difficult for cruisers as it was last year. While options are limited, with advance planning and early departure, there's no reason why new cruising grounds, or at least a new base for some exploration inland, can't be found.

Wishing all our readers safe passage and fair winds.

Sue and the Noonsite team

Trying to find a piece of safety equipment on a boat can be critical in an emergency situation. In her first article for INSIGHTS, New Zealand sailor Viki Moore recommends having a Boat Safety Diagram on board, displaying it in a prominent position and ensuring all crew are briefed about its contents and location. A simple idea, but one that perhaps you haven’t yet thought of.
This month it’s Thailand up against Egypt. The Thai Government have extended the length of stay for visiting yachts from a possible 12 months to 2.5 years - great news for those heading to SE Asia in the future. Plus, the Thai Special Tourist Visa (STV) has been re-introduced until September, meaning yachts arriving in Phuket can get a visa on arrival (albeit at a high price tag).

The Red Sea Port Authority, however, have once again raised sailing permit (Port Clearance) fees this month from $60 to an incredible $930. Yachts currently waiting to transit the Suez Canal have no choice but to pay, although transits have been put on hold since March 23rd as a mega ship has been blocking the canal with its stern and bow stuck on opposite shores. Latest news is that a successful tow to Great Bitter Lakes is underway. A similar fee increase happened in 2019 and after 12 months fees were brought down to a more reasonable level. It is hoped the same thing will happen this time. For now though, fees to transit Suez are on a par with those for the Panama Canal.
Crimes against yachts in the Caribbean took quite an uptick in February, with clusters of activity in St. Martin (both the French and Dutch sides), Martinique and Antigua/Barbuda, as well as piracy off Dominica and Belize. Read the monthly summary by the Caribbean Security and Safety Net.
If you haven’t yet found our Cruising Resources library, then now is the time to start exploring Noonsite a little more. Easily accessed from the hamburger menu, we have pages covering life on board, cruising with kids, safety information, medical resources, insurance and much more.

This month we are introducing our Routing page: While Noonsite does not have the resources to provide free routing advice, our heavily populated routing pages covering all the world’s oceans may just have the answer you are looking for. Over the years cruisers have taken time to provide useful notes on various cruising routes around the world, so dip in and make the most of this free resource. Feel free to add comments to routes you have already undertaken and send us tips for your recent ocean passages so that those following in your wake can benefit from your experience.
Noonsite Needs You!
2020 was a big year for Noonsite as the website turned 20 after two decades of serving the cruising community with comprehensive information for enjoying the world’s oceans. No one could have seen that the year would in fact bring far less cause for celebration and instead we would still be dealing with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic that has devastated the cruising plans of thousands. We are dedicated to continuing to help guide you through the COVID maze of border closures and restrictions as well as bringing you information that will inspire and facilitate your cruising plans, but wanted to remind you how you can get involved and support Noonsite too. Read how you can donate, advertise and contribute to keep Noonsite as the ultimate cruisers planning tool for many more decades to come.
We asked back in January for you to tell us where you are cruising this year (e-mail with your story). This Hungarian single-hander has made it all the way to Chile in the last 7 months:

“I’m Arpi Varga, Hungarian solo sailor and I started last year 21.07.2020 from Orebic in Croatia to sail around the World. Now I’m in Chile, with a zarpe for the Chile waterways, but I can’t land in Chile. I can get fuel, food and other supplies with the help of local people. You can follow me on my Facebook page.”
The BVI’s have bumped the opening of seaports from March 1 to April 15.

French Polynesia is definitely closed unless you have an imperative reason for stopping. Most applications are being denied. Boats arriving without permission are being allowed to re-supply and then must leave.

Fiji now has a second option for quarantine with Savusavu Bay approved to be a Designated Quarantine Anchorage for yachts arriving under the Blue Lane initiative.

Mauritius closed on March 8 with 6 cases appearing on the island, initially for one week but it is it still shut.
Excellent information session by Vuda Marina answering all your questions about coming to Fiji via yacht at this time via the Blue Lane Initiative (how to get approval, how long you can stay, how does the quarantine process work and many other questions). Total running time just over an hour. A great resource if you sail with (or are planning) to sail with your best furry friend.

The Cost of Cruising: Links to a variety of blogs, articles, podcasts and videos by liveaboards cruising in different parts of the world (and some circumnavigating) who have addressed this subject, recorded their expenditure in detail and given advice on hidden costs etc.

Boat Electrics and Essential Checklist by All boat owners need to have a basic knowledge of electrics, both to avoid problems and to stand a chance of dealing with one when it occurs.
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Having safely sailed over 3000nms across the Indian Ocean from Fremantle, Australia to Reunion Island, the next stop for Rob and Barb White on SY Zoonie was Richards Bay in South Africa. But to get there they had to cross the Mozambique Channel and the infamous Agulhas Current.

Experienced cruiser David H Lyman shares what he learnt about medical insurance options when cruising in the Caribbean.
Between September 2016 and the summer of 2018, the sustainable yacht “Ya” crewed by Peter Hoefnagels and Inge van Berkel sailed around the world without using fossil fuels, proving that even without diesel, petrol and gas it is possible to safely and comfortably sail the world’s oceans.

The last 12 months have brought unexpected changes to our carefully planned lives and for many the Covid effect has accelerated our goals and dreams. Unable to return to his boat in the Mediterranean, cruiser Paul Chopin has spent the pandemic planning the ultimate adventure - a circumnavigation. This is his story.
The beautifully written and illustrated story of how a man seeking adventure attempts to sail through both the North East and North West Passages in a single season in 2016.

If you are considering attempting the NW Passage this year there is plenty of free information on the web. The latest edition (2021) of Victor Wejer’s Periplus to Northwest Passage is now available on the RCCPF website as a supplement to Arctic and Northern Waters. Even if you have no intention of attempting the NW Passage it makes a fascinating read. The Polar Yacht Guide can also be downloaded from the RCCPF website - a voluntary code of practice for yachts visiting polar regions. Belgian sailing yacht Alioth made an excellent video of their 2019 transit of the Northwest Passage.
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