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URGENT NOTICE FOR FRENCH POLYNESIA CRUISERS

We received an email from Chuck on SV Jacaranda regarding new and not so great changes for those cruising to French Polynesia. We’ve copied his email in its entirety here. This is information you definitely need if you’re headed that way. Sure glad we made it through there when we did.

If you have questions, Chuck’s information is at the bottom of this post.

The French Polynesia paradise is changing rapidly.  There are a number of locations with anchoring restrictions either already put in place or going to be put in place very soon. The anchoring restrictions are not the only thing happening regarding Yachties in FP.

The French Polynesia Yachting Association (AVP) is a group located in FP trying to help resolve these issues.  See additional information at the end of this post.

Press release from the AVP (Association des Voiliers en Polynesie)
–       Association of Sailboats in Polynesia –

The AVP is concerned about a recent evolution towards restricting the conditions of stay of sailboats in French Polynesia.

For the last few months, one has witnessed a whole series of constraints, prohibitions, even violent actions towards the sailing community:

–        In Bora Bora, total prohibition to anchor, even on sandy grounds (sole available areas in green on the chart below). Obligation to take a mooring for 3000 xpf/night, without any guarantee the mooring is safe, as proven in the case of catamaran “Archer” which broke its lines, suffered considerable damage as did the pontoon of the Pearl Beach Hotel it ended up against. The boat’s insurance had to cover these damages, but the moorings concession holder (“BBMS”) refuses to answer the boat’s insurance queries, and notably confirm whether he is insured or not. (as of 11/11/2019).

–       In Raiatea, several yachts were insulted, menaced, and in at least one instance attacked in the Miri Miri area. One of the catamarans (“Tao”) had its anchor line cut – while the owner of the yacht was filming the deeds. A police report was filed, but was not followed up by the Attorney General (as of 11/11/2019). The DPAM (Maritime Affairs Department has informed the AVP, without showing any legal documents to that effect, that in fact anchoring was illegal throughout Polynesia and that regulations were being drafted to confirm these prohibitions wherever required.

–       In Moorea, a “PGEM” will shortly be put in place (General plan for the maritime area):

o     Prohibition to anchor outside area defined by the PGEM.

o     Prohibition to exceed the quotas allocated to each area.

o     83 boats maximum allowed over the entire Moorea lagoon.

o     50% of these allowed anchorages will be well inside the bays (Cook and Oponohu) in 25 to 35m of water.

o     Most allowed areas are on the Northern side of the island, where the sandy areas are the smallest and where hence the risk of damaging flora and fauna are the highest and where the concentration of housing and touristic activities are highest.

o     48 hours maximum allowed in any one location.

o     Only 13 boats will be allowed on the Eastern side of the island, the only one likely to be accessible reasonably by sailboats coming from Tahiti for the limited 48h allowed. Moorea has over 50 resident sailboats on this side of the island, and Tahiti over 250 resident sailboats. These areas will be used by the sailboats from marina Vaiare in Moorea for their week-end outings.

o     These quotas will be reviewed annually unilaterally by the commission.

–        In Tahiti, the Taina area is due to be “evacuated”. Some 63 boats were there on November 4th, more than 80 in high season. Some are wrecks, but most are in perfect state, and are either transient boats, awaiting spare parts or on provisioning runs or boats parked there more permanently. This technical stop is absolutely indispensable for all boats in transit after a long passage. Taina is home to a marina (full), a fixed mooring field (full) and an area of tolerated anchorage, which now is being cleared.

–        The minister in charge of this issue proposes to relocate some of these boats to Taravao (on the Southern end of Tahiti, some 40 miles away!), perhaps in a new marina that may be built a few years down the road (!), and meanwhile in zones P2 to P5 below in areas without landing facilities, and in any case catering to less than 60% of the boats concerned.

o      P3,P4 and P5: No landing possibilities at all, less than 1.5m depth and already occupied by small crafts used as party boats.

o      P2: Vaitupa Bay, already saturated as shown in the satellite picture below.

The increase in the number of yachts since the rules of stay were changed 5 years ago has led to some degree of rejection from the local population. Some elected members of Parliament have indicated their intention to legiferate in order to prohibit the lagoon on the Southern side of Tahiti and thereby avoid the migration of boats towards this area, quite in opposition of what the Minister indicated. 

All existing infrastructure of the territory is saturated: Marina Taina, Marina Papeete, Marina Apooiti in Raiatea, , Yacht Club in Tahiti, Marina Vaiare in Moorea, Taravao, Raiatea mooring fields all full and will not be able to receive the yachts being removed following the prohibition to anchor.

The AVP points to the fact that the nautical tourism has been earmarked as a strategic component in the economic development of French Polynesia, towards which it contributes over 1.5 billion CFP today.

Aiming at increasing this contribution further, the government has chosen to increase the number of sailboats by lengthening the allowed duration of stay and by decreasing the import tax for boats to some 7% (June 2014).

However, against this increase, no new infrastructure has been put in place, leading to a significant concentration of yachts on anchor in all islands, and generating the relative rejection by locals today.

The AVP is a non profit organization founded and run by sailors, both transient and resident. Its charter includes:

–        Promote the image of the sailing community

–        Defend sailors rights

–        Educate sailors to all existing regulation and good practices, in particular environmental and cultural.

–        – Provide practical information regarding anchorages, infrastructure, suppliers and services to facilitate the stay of transient boats and the general well being of all concerned.

Contact:  http://voiliers.asso.pf
avp.tahiti@gmail.com
87 70 36 15 Arnaud JORDAN

Further information from Chuck
Currently AVP is the only group representing the yachties both French and International that is: 
1.  Attending the majority of meetings held by government agencies related to the sailing community.
2.  informing the general sailing folks that the meetings are taking place and where.
3. Summarizing the meeting and informing the sailing community.
4. They gather up all the incidents of issues in FP relating to the sailing community.
5.  They are also trying to gather any theft incidents, helping non french speakers submit a online police report and then helping follow up.
6.  The AVP have come up with a good practice charter and flag that will show the locals this boat has signed up to respect the lagoons, not pollute, etc etc.
7.  AVP has organized discounts with many marine vendors in Tahiti. Your membership card can pay for the membership in short order.

I could probably come up with more reasons to join if given more time.

In general AVP are the boots on the ground.  If not for AVP in many cases we would not have a clue what laws are being proposed and how they are being implemented.  Not speaking french we don’t listen to the radio or watch FP tv.

By having yachties join the number of boats they represent will gain more leverage in the talks to senior ministers.

HOW CAN YOU HELP WITH THE ISSUES IN FRENCH POLYNESIA – JOIN AVP >> For less than $17US your membership makes a difference.

How to join AVP https://voiliers.asso.pf/comment-adherer/

Additional write up by Totem
https://www.sailingtotem.com/2019/11/time-to-skip-tahiti.html

Safe Sailing

Chuck
Jacaranda

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The Sky Isn’t Falling

The tales from the grim reaper aren’t that bad. Yes for the last nine days Dazzler and her crew have had patches of weather and a few daily fixes. But in the big picture her crew has learned many things to better understand the whole sailing thing. Everyone has their favorite point of sail and we have ours as well. Our least favorite is having your ear pinned down trying to go as close to weather and as fast as possible. There has to be a level of comfort or the human body gets fatigued. Let’s face it, with a crew of two comfort is a big factor. We generally hove to to make the hot evening meal and that feels as if we are at anchor. Nice break from all the motion of the ocean and subliminal core exercises that Dr. Oz never told us about.

Dazzler and her crew have enjoyed watching her stretch out her legs and lean into the wind. For the last few days we have experienced a good point of sail with 15-20 knots of wind from the east with our coarse of 185°-194° true. The apparent wind angle has been about 70° apparent. Not a bad point of sail but when we add the 1.5-2.5 meter swells running out of the southeast the sea pushes back a bit. Since yesterday afternoon the wind has been coming straight out of the east and Dazzler has hit her glory. We have experience winds from 120°-90° true and she seems to be very happy. For a small heavy vessel she doesn’t give way too easily to the constant bullying of the sea so she holds line very well.

One of the things that I’ve been working on for the last several years is learning to fine tune Dazzler’s sail plan and balance. Constantly adjusting the different sails and noticing how they affect the relationship with regards to how hard the autopilot is working. Currently her sail plan for the above mentioned wind and swell pattern is a double reefed main, fully deployed staysail and the jib let out to the shape of a high clew yankee (About an 80% sail). As she leans into the wind we have been enjoying 6.0-7.0 knots per hour. I must say it’s quite nice compared to those close hauled bone jarring wave crashing times at the helm. She runs smoothly at this wind angle and obtains great speed as we are starting to make up a little time on our passage.

As luck would have it, we are expecting a low pressure front to move across north island New Zealand on 9 November and our scheduled date of arrival is 8 November. So, making up as many miles along the way to ensure we arrive on the eighth of November is important. And who knows what challenging circumstances may rise up to our delight. By the way Neptune that wasn’t a challenge. LOL

The weather is decidedly colder here at 26° south than in Fiji. Granted Fiji had its share of cloudy cool days as well. But Fiji is coming into its cyclone season and summer months now. So is New Zealand for that matter. We were told how warm it was last season by the local Kiwis, but to us 69° and 72° was butt ass cold. Kiwis are walking around in shorts and barefoot and we are all bundled up like we’re going on an arctic adventure with Sir Edmund Hillary. I guess the term of winter or summer is all relative to the thickness or lack of thickness of your blood.

Dazzler is 32 years young and still has a great spirit for bluewater sailing. I try to stay on top of all the preventative maintenance, but issues such as a water lift muffler are something I’ve never experienced or even heard of before. Perhaps they have a service life. Perhaps there is a way to check their condition. Without internet, I can’t search that issue. Rest assured when we get to NZ we will look that up along with where to get a good quality replacement.

Yes that list of projects for New Zealand is growing every day. Six months of sipping drinks with little umbrellas has its price. It’s called Maintenance! Nothing is free in water world! Cruising anywhere and living your dream is not free. Not necessarily money, but your time and labor as well. You could do as some do and have the attitude of deferring maintenance or you can stay on top of it by fixing things when they present themselves. I myself like to even outsmart those pesky things and fix them before they become an issue. In some case those simple projects grow because you find other issues when you’re fixing the first one. For example changing Dazzler’s oil before we left Fiji and finding a nut from one of the shaft flange bolts under the engine. At least we dodged that bullet.

So you see, while I’m sitting here on the morning watch screaming in a southerly direction towards John’s Corner at 7 knots, I am enjoying the relationship we all share. You know the one between Dazzler, crew, the sea, the wind and paradise! You may not think 7 knots is that fast, but for those armchair sailers or those custom to the yacht club bar stool it’s faster than the 405 in West Los Angeles at rush hour but a hell of a lot more fun.

Until next time catch us if you can. Cheers!
Captain Dan

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Cut, Cut! Stop Rolling!

I’ve spent the past two days searching Dazzler from stem to stern and still can’t locate the tiny hidden cameras. This has led me to believe that either they are some microscopic feats of engineering that are undetectable to the human eye or that we are not in fact part of some evil psychological experiment. If the ladder is the case then I can only assume that we have surely been involuntarily cast in some aquatic themed Twilight Zone episode. I think I can even hear the music drifting over the sound of the sea as I write. Dododo…dododo!

Why would a perfectly sane (well somewhat sane anyway) sailor believe this? Well, let’s just recap the past 24 hours shall we? You already know everything up to that point and honestly I think that alone would prove my point but let me add some fuel to the fire of madness in my head so that you too can join in the delusions that presently afflict my muddled brain.

Yesterday was a truly delightful day on the sea. We had amazing winds and the swell was just right. The sun came out to warm the air a tad and we were sailing across the open ocean with a certain assertiveness that comes from being truly confident that you finally have your whole world under complete control. Both Captain and mate were beaming with pride as Dazzler cut through the swells with determination and grace. The white foam of the ocean splashed high above her bow as she plunged into the sea in her typical dramatic flair. Yes, this was the most perfect day of the seven we’ve spent on this roller coaster passage from Hell. Smiles were abundant and hope was in the air.

We performed our expertly choreographed passage routine like true professionals switching between watch and naps, food preparation and mealtime. Finally as the sun began to dip low in the sky I too looked toward a night of slumber in my warm and cozy bunk. I confidently left Dan on watch in the cockpit. The winds had dwindled so he had put on the engine to keep us moving at a good rate of speed. We were still trying to make up time that was lost over the past couple of days and there’s still that pesky low pressure system we’re racing to New Zealand.

I slept soundly with the crashing waves thundering away against Dazzler’s stout hull and when I said my prayers I thanked God for a glorious day without so much as a simple problem…err challenge as Dan refers to them. Before I knew it Dan was waking me for my normally scheduled watch. As I began to stir I asked him why I thought I heard the engine go on and off several times. He told me he’d tell me when I got up. That “Oh holy hell” feeling washed over me like the tsunami that hit Sri Lanka years ago but just then I remembered my pledge to try to keep a good, can-do attitude about these “challenges” so I crept out of the bunk and let Dan begin explaining the newest hurdle in our race to New Zealand.

It seems once again we have no water exiting Dazzler’s exhaust. Cue the music …. dodododo dodododo. “How can this be?” I calmly question. “I’m not sure.” He replies. “But I will figure it out and fix it. Don’t worry. I’ll fix it.” He goes on to tell me that we are sailing nicely and don’t need the engine right now so he’s going to get some sleep, have me then get some sleep and when the winds begin to die he will clear out the lazarette (almost as bad as emptying the quarter berth) and he will go down and fix it. With that he kisses me goodnight and retires to the bunk for some well earned rest.

I, in the meantime, gather my watch materials and snacks and head to the cockpit. After completing my instrument and sail checks I sit beneath the dodger where it’s out of the wind and a bit warmer. I gaze out to the ocean and as I do it dawns on me. I’ve absolutely zero emotional response to this news. I’m not mad, frustrated, frightened, sad….nothing. I’m completely devoid of all feeling whatsoever. I guess it could be called being at peace except for I just wasn’t feeling anything at all. It was odd to be sure but I kind of liked it!

I think I’ve finally resigned myself to the fact that there is nothing I can do about any of this. I certainly can’t diagnose and fix the problem. I believe in Dan and his ability to do so wholeheartedly so I just need to sit back and let Dan and God do what they need to do. The rest of my watch I hardly thought of the issue at all.

I wake Dan at 0400 for his watch and make him coffee as usual. We’re sailing along at close to seven knots and we have following seas which is making it a very nice and somewhat speedy ride. Once he’s clipped in on deck with his go juice I head to the bunk. I’m hoping to sleep well because I know he’s going to wake me in a few hours so we can tackle our newest challenge.

Several hours later I hear the Watch Commander alarm go off. The beeping goes on just a little longer than normal so I wait…it continues so I jump out of bed calling for Dan. As I race up the companionway stairs he’s nowhere in sight. My heart is driven into my throat like a shot from a pistol as I climb higher to get a look on deck. My head swings right then left. In the light purple haze of the dawn I finally see the dark outline that is Dan standing on the starboard deck holding onto some line as he’s tightly gripping the handrail on top of the dodger. Dazzler is healed over close to 30° as she’s slicing through the sea at top speed in the 20+ knot winds that are blasting our port quarter. There’s white water splashing up behind the dark figure and then the Watch Commander sounds its 130 decibel alarm. In the confusion I forgot to reset it.

As Dan steps into the cockpit I reset the alarm asking what is going on and why the hell he was on deck without me being up. He tells me the jib sheet got ripped right out of his hand and he had to go get it. He says he needs to walk it back around deck. I suggest that maybe we could wait until the winds die a bit and it gets a tad lighter out. He agrees as he tosses the line into the cockpit. Having been in a deep sleep before being rousted by the incessant beeping of the Watch Commander I was not dressed to be outside. It was cold and damp and I needed more clothes. I went below to curl up in our thick Sherpa blanket in the bunk for a few minutes to get warm before I got dressed.

This would probably be a good time to tell you that we have a hard and fast rule on Dazzler. No one, including the Captain, is to go on deck without making the other person aware that they are going there so they can keep watch. It’s a good safety rule and one that my dear Captain has been known to break. In an emergency such as the line taking off and him needing to get it I can understand and forgive him. That said, what happens next was not one of those times where I could just look the other way.

I’m in the bunk warming up and all of the sudden I hear an out of the ordinary sound above my head. I stop and listen a bit harder and realize it’s footsteps. “Are you freaking kidding me?” I gasp as I go back up the companionway. As I do I see the winds have jumped up to 24 knots. We’re screaming through the water as I look toward the bow and there is Dan on the port side restringing the sheet around the deck.

Remember that feeling of nothingness I had on watch? Well let’s just say all feeling has returned and the emotion that immediately rears its head is pure anger. “What in the hell are you doing on deck without telling me?” I scream above the wind and waves. “We have rules damnit!” You think the wrath of a woman scorned is bad…try a woman at the edge of her sanity on a boat hundreds of miles from shore as the love of her life is on deck breaking one of the most critical safety rules of all. It’s not a pretty sight and one that would strike fear in the hearts of the most macho of men.
Dan returns to the cockpit explaining that he yelled down to say he was going on deck. No! Just no! We have had this discussion many, many times before. If you don’t get an acknowledgement you must assume your message was not received and act accordingly. I’m furious and he knows it. He doesn’t say another word as he clips in and sits down. I storm down below to cool off a bit.

The thing is we never let an argument linger. It’s not worth it and we both know in the end we’re still going to love each other and be together when it’s over. I leave Dan to consider his actions for ten minutes or so then return to discuss what happened. Certainly he tries to defend himself but when I turn the situation around and put me out on deck he realizes that I am probably right and apologizes. I apologize for yelling and just like that everything is good between us again. Just as it should be.

Now we still have the issue of the exhaust to deal with but we’re sailing along at six to six and a half knots so we don’t want to slow down. No, we’ll wait until the winds start dying off and then tackle that. It looks like that will be later this afternoon so we go on about our normal routine.

Mother Nature provided us with some beautiful weather that allowed us a rather spirited sail today running as high as 7 knots with kind and somewhat mellow following seas. It certainly helped us to make up some lost time. Alas around 1700 the winds and seas started to settle down and we knew it was time to get working on the exhaust repair. Dan went on deck to drop the sails and I started praying this would be an easy fix.

With the sails down and the boat slowed to about a knot Dan cleared out the lazarette and went in to see what else had gone wrong. He ended up pulling out the exhaust lift silencer unit. We found a large crack in one of the elbows. Dan filed it down with the dremmel and we used the Minute Mend epoxy to repair it. I’m telling you this stuff is amazing! With this repair we used the last of it but will definitely be buying more in New Zealand.

After an hour and a half of floundering while he worked on the exhaust we were ready to fire the engine. It took several minutes but eventually we had water coming out of the exhaust! I’m sure we don’t need to tell you what a joyous moment that was for us. There was lots of shouting and a few high fives! Of course a few praise the Lords were in there as well. Within 2 hours we were up and running again.

What we hope for now is that the repairs last for at least three more days. We just made the turn near John’s Corner and are now headed toward NZ. Our hope is to arrive just ahead of the 25 knot blow that is expected on Saturday. Nothing like sliding in at the last possible moment.

As for this episode of the Twilight Zone let’s just hope the producers haven’t decided to make it a two parter. I don’t think these two battered old salts can endure much more. Dodododo Dodododo.

Until next time…
Jilly & Dan