5 Ideas to help you sail the South Pacific

#coronavirus : Traditional cruising routes have been interrupted with new entry requirements and border closures

So what do you need to know to plan your 2021 season? There’s a confusing mix of information out there, so we’ve taken a look at the entrance requirements, routes and other ideas we have to make your cruise a reality…

1/ Things are opening up!  You can sail your own boat to the South Pacific, see our country by country status list below

2/ Do a long term boat rental in French Polynesia.  Flights into and out of our region are open and there is no quarantine, join us in Tahiti for the start of your blue-water cruise.

3/ Buy your boat, ready in the cruising waters of your choice.  Not all regions have easy flights in and out, but Tahiti does, so buying here means you can cruise here.  The process of buying and selling is straight forward and the market remains strong.

4/ Have your new boat delivered to French Polynesia.  There are lots of reasons that this makes sense, both financial (ex VAT) and with the current cruising logistics.

5/ Have you thought of sailing to Hawaii?  This is a great option to loop back towards the North American continent and so avoid the country closures that are a reality of the western Pacific.

South Pacific Routes, what’s open what’s closed

5 Things to help you sail the South Pacific

RED = Southern Route – the classic sailing route from Pamana across the South Pacific

1/ The South Pacific from Panama to Australia : Cruising Status

Good news: Things are opening up!

Of course, we say this with reserve, rules and regulations are changeable at the moment.  So we’ll give you a rundown of what’s possible now (30 September 2020) and encourage you to contact us (contact@sailtahiti.com) as well as consult organisations like the South Pacific Sailing Network and Noonsite to get the most up to date information.

1/ Panama – OPEN: international flights have opened up, and yachts are allowed entry with a 14-day quarantine period.  While you’ll not be able to enjoy cruising the San Blas for the moment, you can transit the Panama Canal.  Get in touch with the Shelter Bay Marina to help you with your exit requirements – our information says that boats needing zarpes (exit documents) with confirmation of their next port of call have been successfully processed.

2/ Galapagos – OPEN : Sea borders have been reopened in Galapagos and all yachts are have been allowed to enter since July 31, however the use of an agent is mandatory much as it was before.  Check out Noonsite to be sure you know what the Galapagos require, they have many rules associated with protecting their unique biosphere.

3/ French Polynesia – OPEN : Air-borders have been open since July 15, yachts are allowed entry but must register with the Maritime Authorities and fulfil testing and/or quarantine measures.  Details are again on Noonsite and of course you can contact us with your questions or our partner Tahiti Crew  (tehani@tahiticrew.com)

4/ Cook Islands – CLOSED

5/ Tonga – CLOSED

6/ Fiji – OPEN : But airports are currently closed.  Yachts can enter by following a defined process and using an agent.  Contact our partner Vuda Marina (info@vudamarina.com.fj) for full details.

7/ Vanuatu – CLOSED

8/ New Caledonia – CLOSED

9/ Australia – CLOSED

10/ New Zealand – CLOSED : unless you have some important refit work planned to the value of 25k USD.  For bigger boats needing work, this is an option, but for regular cruisers this might be more than you budgeted in maintenance and upgrades to your boat this year!

Cruising the Galapagos

San Cristóbal Island – Galapagos : swimming with seals

Fakarava South Pass French Polynesia

Fakarava South Pass – Tuamotu, French Polynesia : UNESCO World Heritage Site

2/ Sail from Panama to French Polynesia via the Galapagos

This is the classic milk run, and even though the administration has become a little more complicated, its still doable.  See above the cruising status for the islands of the South Pacific and get planning!

3/ Long-term rental in French Polynesia

French Polynesia has 3 large charter fleets and a couple of smaller ones.  All offer tarifs for long-term rental, but their boats are not generally set up with all the equipment needed for blue-water cruising.  At Sail Tahiti we offer long-term charter with boats set-up for autonomous cruising.  The advantages of choosing this option is that you have the freedom of the blue water experience with out the stress and financial risk of putting your capital in a boat

3/ Buy your boat, ready in the cruising waters of your choice.

Of course, we are a little biased about pre-owned boat sales here in French Polynesia.  We know that we have a lot of excellently equipped cruising boats available (see details here) and that buying in this region is straight forward.  Available yards and experienced surveyors, no hidden taxes on boat sales, and boats are allowed to cruise for 2-years on a temporary entrance permit.  If you wanted to keep your boat here longer, at 7% of your boat’s value French Polynesia has one of the lowest import taxes we know of.

4/ Have your new boat delivered directly to French Polynesia

There are many reasons why this is an excellent choice.  Not only is your boat directly in a fantastic cruising ground, but there are good financial reasons for basing your boat outside of your home country.  David is our specialist, get in touch for a more detailed discussion (david@sailtahiti.com).

Sail Tahiti are dealers for Excess Catamarans, Corsair Marine Trimarans, Seawind Catamarans and Rapido Trimarans.  We can of course give you everything you need to know about choosing, kitting out, financing and commissioning and delivering your boat to French Polynesia.

Learn more about these exciting brands here >>

John John Florence’s trip to Palmyra on SY Vela

Freydis 49 in Hawaii after her crossing from French Polynesia

Freydis 49 docked in Hawaii after her crossing from Tahiti

5/ Looking beyond the 2021 season: Have you thought of sailing to Hawaii?

Once you’ve completed your cruise in French Polynesia, we certainly hope that those countries to the west of us will have opened up.  If they haven’t, you still have some great options to continue cruising if that’s what you’d like.

The route north from French Polynesia takes you through the line islands with some incredibly beautiful and largely unexplored territory.  See John John Florence’s trip to Palmyra (we’ve linked the video so you can sail along). You can also take a look at Jim and Jurga’s trip from Tahiti to Hawaii on their performance catamaran, which they purchased from Sail Tahiti in 2018.  They sailed directly from Tahiti to Hawaii in January 2019 and then on to Seattle later the same year.  The route map above gives you an idea of how you can reach the North American continent.

Whatever your plans, if you want to know more about the South Pacific and sailing, don’t hesitate to contact us.

contact@sailtahiti.com | +689 87 24 28 75 or +689 87 32 88 45