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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Hotspur, Fiji and a Cat 5 Tropical Cyclone




We've been super lucky over the years dodging hurricanes and cyclones. We missed Jimena in Mexico in 2009 when we ran north in our sailboat, Windfall. After destroying parts of the southern Baja, Jimena pin-balled just south of us and ran east to Guaymas and San Carlos. We never even saw a drop of rain. And we'd left La Paz just 6 months before Hurricane Odile hit in 2014, a Category 3. Other hurricanes and cyclones over the years struck well away from us, too.

When the maps tracked Tropical Cyclone Winston zooming over Savusavu we thought maybe we'd be lucky again. But it soon became clear that we needed to take Winston seriously. For the first time in almost 8 years of cruising, we took down our sails to prepare for a tropical storm.




The boating community was struck hard in Savusavu. Many of our friends ended up on the rocks. Some of the vessels can be refloated. It's a slow process, but one-by-one boats are getting pulled off.

Hotspur stayed on her mooring and lost a solar panel and a few other minor things. Otherwise, she's fine. Many moorings dragged. A few boats broke free when chafe gear failed.



Tropical Cyclone Winston was scheduled to hit on the evening of Saturday, 2/20. It made its debut before noon. Around 10:00a.m., the Westerlund (a large ferry) tried to squeeze into the anchorage. It hit two boats before reversing back out of the entrance. The crew actually went to several boats on moorings and asked them to move! The added chaos didn't go over well in the cruising fleet.





16 comments:

  1. And then what happened to the Westerlund?

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    1. The Westerland swung around to another bay and promptly grounded, from what we've been told. The captain is under investigation. He pulled this stunt before and was told never to try it again. One of the boats he hit dragged its mooring. Maybe because it was dislodged by the ferry? Nevertheless, hopefully this will never happen again. Really... a hurricane is coming and sailboats who have reserved and paid for moorings for the season are asked to move??? Insane.

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  2. So glad to hear that you are OK.
    Dan and Kate - SV Akupara

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    1. Thank you and keep those photos of your little ones posted! SO enjoy imagining kissing those sweet cheeks!

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  3. Sounds and looks like a chaotic experience. Glad to hear you are safe and that Hotspur faired well. Our thoughts are with all the folks there.

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    1. Thanks Jonah - you think you know it all and then nature happens. We were lucky!

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  4. Very glad to hear you are ok. At your leisure, would love to hear your words of wisdom for those yachts following in your footsteps to Fiji.

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    1. Great idea for a blog post, Dana. As soon as we get some of this mess cleaned up... Thanks!

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  5. Hotspur,
    I hope your boat and family are well. Congratulations on making it through Winston!!! How are recoveries of other vessels going? I've been looking online for any news on my boat, s/v Heritage but have yet to see any photos or videos with her in it. If per chance you come across her, a posted photo would be greatly greatly appreciated!

    Stay safe,
    -Heritage Crew

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    1. Hello Heritage Crew! Tomorrow I'll post photos of Heritage for you. The internet is sketchy, so if not tomorrow, the following day. Great to hear from you!

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  6. Good morning Jim and Carolyne,just discovered your blog and have read a lot allready.
    I was trying to find information about Winston.
    Oh sorry,it s me,humberto ,el holandes errante from the yacht Aloa 34,just in the entrance of the kreek.( of the diving gear )I allready figured out that Hotspur survived and my yacht as well.
    But the same as Heritage,I do not have any further info,about any damage or pics about the boat.
    If you have time left ( heard all you cruisers are very busy helping each other )
    I would allso appreciate very much some information about my boat .It seems to me a miracle that she is still there,I rented the last available mooring and thought it was the worst of all of them.
    The private mooring I rented before ,the owner conned me ,I paid for it for half a year.To avoid arguiing I just rented another one and see,just on that place most of the yachts went aground. That s destiny eh
    my mail is elholandeserrante@hotmail.com skype humberto0000 ( 4 zeros ) web www.nuriadevilanova.com regards ,good luck and thanks,hope to see you in about 4 months humberto

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    1. Hi Humberto - Jim looked you boat over the day following Winston. There was a little chafe... one strand on 3-strand line broke on the port side. Starboard line is fine. Otherwise, your boat looks great! I'll post photos for you and Heritage as soon as I can.

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  7. I've endured up to Category 2 strength wind while living right on the ocean on the coast of Washington this winter - in an RV... I can't imagine what a Cat 5 storm would be like in a sailboat! Glad you guys are ok!

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  8. Oh wow, I wasn't eve aware of this cyclone hitting Fiji until now. That is just terrible but I'm glad no people were killed.

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