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The cyclone season and the precautions to take

The West Indies are situated in the path of cyclones, however it is important to know that  cyclones of class 1 and class 2 generate strong but « manageable » winds ; cyclones of class 3, 4 and 5 are phenomena of extreme power.

Cyclones are very rare, and there is enough advance warning to enable the necessary steps to be taken.

Precautions to be taken during the cyclone season

The cyclone season starts on the 15 July and finishes on the 15 November, however the peak of the season is the 15 August to the 15 October.

If you are on board.

If you intend to remain on board your boat and to sail, the season does remain very pleasant for sailing, however it can be disturbed by tropical waves and tropical depressions

Remember that there will not be violent cyclones below 10° North, and the nearer one sails south towards this limit, the lower the cyclone risk. It is therefore advised, during the height of the cyclone season, to sail in the Southern part of the region, so that in the event of an alert, you can quickly sail south to seek shelter, that is to say, sail to the south of Antigua..

Never take the risk of being trapped in the trajectory of a cyclone : flee to the South, if the trajectory of the cyclone is already high – however, in 2004 the cyclone Yvan demonstrated that a very violent cyclone could reach 12°.

If you are not on board

If you must leave your boat in the region during the cyclone period, we only recommend two alternatives :

1 – Boat out of the cyclone zone:

The islands of Trinidad and Venezuela offer some attractive possibilities for keeping a boat on land or in the water during this season. Beware  - Grenada is not outside the cyclone zone (Yvan 2004) and is not equipped to face another cyclone. If you are not on board

2 – Boat in the cyclone zone:

Out of water in a specialized yard. The southern  yards (Trinidad, Venezuela) are secure but carry restraints, increased supplementary charges (plane tickets), English speaking environment, situation eccentric compared to the West Indian arch.

Increasingly yards between St Martin and Martinique offer secure solutions and it is certainly a good compromise between ease and security, especially for catamarans (very stable on the ground)

boating cruising sailing powerboat sailboat trawlers outboards dinghy

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