November 30, 2023

Noonsite November Sailing News and Updates


Some tragic yachting incidents have been reported this month, two off the Iberian peninsula in the NE Atlantic. A Danish yacht was rolled in breaking waves off the coast of Portugal and all four crew perished, and a Polish yacht suffered an orca assault in the straits of Gibraltar which damaged the rudder so much the yacht sank. Thankfully all crew were rescued.

With passage season underway and many yachts at sea over the next few months, it’s perhaps timely to remind all cruisers the importance of having a float/passage plan and in particular, a boat safety equipment diagram, critical in an emergency situation so that all crew can easily find what is needed.

In our useful links this month are articles that are a good refresh as to what skills you need to practice in order to sail with confidence in heavy weather. Remember you can always heave-to to assess the situation and make sure to keep away from lee shores. Not only is it important to recognize your limitations, but that of your crew as well.

Sail safe, sail smart, safe passage,

Sue and the Noonsite Team

Previous newsletters can be viewed here.


A Fulfilling Cruising Lifestyle

What makes the cruising lifestyle so compelling and what keeps cruisers out there as long-term liveaboards? It doesn’t work out for everybody, but take a look at our Portrait of a Cruiser series to see the variety of people that have discovered a happy cruising life. “Green cruisers”, Austrian liveaboards Birgit Hackl and Christian Feldbauer, have taken part in the series and you can read their contribution here. Birgit and Christian were also recently published in All at Sea outlining keys to a fulfilling cruising lifestyle (tips they can share after 11 years of voyaging).

Passage Planning

Cornell’s Ocean Atlas, by Jimmy and Ivan Cornell, was first published in 2011. The main role of the Atlas is to allow you to check out wind conditions for every month of the year in any ocean of the world and thus gain an immediate overall knowledge of what you can expect at any given time of year. Changes in global weather patterns - some of which are extreme - made it necessary to publish an updated third edition this year. This is the kind of information you need even before you start actually planning a specific voyage, as it will allow you to decide straight away whether your plan is feasible.

Man Overboard

In our September news we talked about the importance of preparing and planning for a man overboard incident and what steps your crew might take to recover a casualty successfully. While getting back to the crew member in the water can be challenging, actually getting them out of the water and back on the boat, especially if unconscious, can be the hardest part of all. Duncan Wells (RYA instructor, features writer and author) developed the MOB Lifesaver and was delighted to meet a happy customer at the Southampton Boat Show who told him the device had saved his life. “I was racing on a boat when I was hit on the back of the head by the boom and thrown into the water. I was wearing a manual lifejacket and had bought a MOB Lifesaver which I attached inside the jacket. They got the boat back to me and boat-hooked the Lifesaver which they used to put over the boom and hauled me back on board. I woke up on deck." Read Duncan’s series of 4 illustrated MOB articles for INSIGHTS starting with Part 1 (which links to the other 3 articles).

Mooring Lines – Horses for Courses

When berthing your yacht safely in a marina, or to a mooring or pile, it can be confusing to know what type of line to use. This month Jimmy Green Marina have written a useful guide to choosing the right type of mooring line based on the type of mooring and length of time the yacht will remain moored. There are a number of factors to consider when deciding which type of line is best for the job.

Official Noonsite Ropes and Rigging Partner

Customs Build Mooring Warps

With Nine rope options to choose from, determining the appropriate mooring line for your yachting requirements may be a little daunting!

Jimmy Green Marine can help you to the right conclusion with objective information in our Knowledge Centre Articles.

Mooring Rope Selection Guide

Mooring Warps Size Guide

Mooring Warp Length and Configuration Guide


Cruising with a Canine Companion

Michelle, partner Ford and Izzy the Jack Russell have been sailing together for the past five years. They live on their Fountaine Pajot catamaran Athena with the “less is more” mentality – the more you have, the more you break. They call it “sailamping” (camping on a sailboat). In this INSIGHTS report, Michelle shares how she manages life onboard with a four-legged mate.

Michelle, Ford and Izzy have sailed the Caribbean, the East coast of the United States, crossed the Atlantic twice, gone through the Panama Canal and are now in French Polynesia for the cyclone season. They say they are sailing until they cannot physically do it anymore and if that takes them around the world – then it’s a bonus! In the future, they are planning to sail through the South Pacific to New Zealand and Australia.

For Michelle and Ford, having their dog “Izzy” on board is the only way to sail, but it does take extra work with the additional paperwork and costs. Michelle has a detailed blog about entering French Polynesia with a dog on board and the pre-arrival paperwork and tests required, which includes a very useful planning chart.

More great info. at Cruising with Pets.

Cruising and shipping

across the Atlantic

After enjoying the Caribbean cruising season with favorable trade winds, the return to Europe presents challenges due to temperate climate zones with less friendly winds and sea conditions. Yacht owners often wonder how to safely transport their yachts back home. Luckily, there's a solution. You can safely ship your yacht on an ocean freighter in March, April, or May, aligning with the European summer sailing season. Sevenstar Yacht Transport departs from convenient ports like St. Thomas (USVI), St. John's (Antigua), and Le Marin (Martinique).

Joining a cruising rally across the Atlantic and shipping your yacht back home on an ocean carrier can make a big difference.

Download the map with rallies and shipping opportunities here.


The tiny Caribbean island of Dominica is creating the world’s first marine protected area for the endangered sperm whale, one of Earth’s largest marine animals. The reserve will allow sustainable artisanal fishing and delineate an international shipping lane to avoid more deaths of sperm whales, which have the largest brain of an animal species in the world and can grow up to 50ft (15 meters).

Papua New Guinea has announced two new Marine Protected Areas covering more than 1.5 million hectares in the New Ireland Province, in a major conservation effort for critically endangered sharks, rays, and turtles.


Japan - A Hot Cruising Destination

For many years, Japan was “terra incognita” on the world cruising map. Few cruisers came to Japan and those who did typically passed through quickly, south to north, on their way to Alaska/British Columbia. It was not a destination in its own right. However, since the global pandemic (and with the recent, dramatic depreciation of the yen), more and more cruisers are looking at this country as a place they want to visit. In this report Kirk Patterson, who runs Konpira Consulting for yachts, tells why Japan is now a “hot” destination.



Limited Places


Experience the Wonders and Diversity of Japan

From South to North

March 29 to June 1, 2024


Enjoy the Beauty, Culture, and History of the Seto Inland Sea

April 28 to May 27, 2024

For more information contact

Also, don't miss:

The Ocean Cruising Club

70th Anniversary Event

All cruisers welcome

April 26-28 2024


NZ based Peter Mott is Passage Guardian, providing a free service to recreational cruising yachts conducting coastal and ocean passages globally. Peter provides SSB radio skeds, satellite cover, communications with land based people, email support and safety guidance to vessels in need of some assistance. Peter is a retired Internet entrepreneur, experienced radio engineer, private maritime coast station operator and has been helping sailors for over 8 years. Above all else, Peter is a details guy, passionate about safety at sea. 


Just in time for all the boats arriving in NZ from the tropics, a complete set of NZ charts is now available at Bruce Balan’s free Chart Locker. Bruce says; “These charts are all zoom 13-16,18. Use them with the the zoom 8-12 NZ overview. Charts are divided by east and west coast for the North and South Islands. ArcGIS, BingSat, GoogleSat and Navionics are all available. We recommend loading the Overview and only the coast(s) where you are currently cruising. And don’t forget to use Chart Groups based on the type of file.”

While Haiti is not a spot for cruising right now with the entire country in crisis and no public services, International Rescue Group (IRG) and their 97ft sailboat “Zeepaard” has an ambitious plan to bring donated supplies to Ile a Vache. The boat carries much-needed medical supplies, used sails, a full marine mechanic workshop of tools, a genset with welding features, food, clothes, fishing items and much more. Details at Other sail-aid organisations assisting Haiti include Hopefleet and Kingsfleet who have provided a ton of rice, thousands of dollars in specially approved seeds for gardens and 200 Cholera kits.



503 Novembers ago, Ferdinand Magellan reached an unfamiliar body of water and named it Pacific, or peaceful. The sailors thought their journey would soon end, but it turned out that the Pacific is by far the largest of the world's ocean basins. Read more at NOAA’s Ocean Facts.

The November migration is well underway with yachts exiting the tropics just in time. The first “official” cyclone for 2023/24 was Cyclone Mal which sent a deluge of rain to Fiji mid-month. The season officially started on November 1st and will end on April 30, 2024, however a tropical cyclone could form at any time between July 1, 2023, and June 30, 2024, as shown by Cyclone Lola which formed in late October and affected Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands.

Reports from Savusavu in Fiji, a well-known cyclone refuge that normally has 100% occupancy during the cyclone season, are that only a handful of yachts have chosen to remain there this year. Possibly the recent spate of theft from yachts has had some influence. NZ cruiser Grant McNamara, who keeps his yacht in Savusavu, talks to Noonsite about his concerns over the increase in security incidents against yachts in Savusavu.

Biosecurity reporting requirements for yachts arriving in Australia will change at the start of December with the launch of a new electronic pre-arrival report (PAR). This new online one-stop-shop for all documents will greatly streamline the entry process for visiting yachts.

Island Cruising NZ has acquired the Down Under Rally, in a move that marks a significant expansion for the New Zealand based rally organiser.

Having sailed from the Caribbean over the last 2 years, cruiser Shawn Dear was disappointed to arrive in the Solomons, receive a warm welcome but then learn that pilfering from yachts was common, requiring extra caution with boat gear and security. Read his report here.


For cruisers planning to head to South Africa from Reunion Island, well known South African weather router and Noonsite contributor Des Cason has some sound advice for making, what can be, a tricky crossing.


Over 200 yachts have registered with OSASA for entry into South Africa already this season. World ARC recently arrived in Richards Bay and the Grand Large World Yachting Odyssey is due soon. One of OSASA's key functions is liaise with government to promote the cruising industry in South Africa. Vital to this is the gathering of information about the economic contribution of cruisers to the local tourism and maritime sectors. When departing South Africa, you can make a huge difference by completing the OSASA Exit Survey.


If departing South Africa soon for St. Helena, remember that December to March is Whale Shark season there. The Port Control in St. Helena now have a new central e-mail address to which all correspondence should be addressed:

Namibia yachting season begins in December. Yachts should note that pre-notification to authorities is requested, and while there are no clearance fees, there are after hour fees, so time your arrival carefully.

This year Brazil is proving a popular destination for many cruisers after leaving South Africa. There are no entry fees (unless arriving out of hours) and the lengthy bureaucratic procedures are starting to be eased with a new Nautical SAC opening in Salvador, offering a one-stop-shop for simpler and quicker clearance.

Yachts arriving in Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands - either in preparation for an Atlantic Crossing or just to cruise the islands - are reminded to take extra care when anchoring due to the presence of the West Africa Cable System (WACS) Submarine Cable. Also be aware that a record number of migrants have made the treacherous boat journey from Senegal in West Africa to the Canary Islands this year, according to reports from regional authorities.

Bank of St. Helena Tourist Card

Virtual Card Payments for St Helena Island and Ascension Island visitors

Here on St Helena, we are majority a cash-based society when it comes to our visitors. At present, International Cards are only accepted in a small number of establishments, including a cash advance service with us at the Bank of St Helena to withdraw money from international cards. There are no ATMs on the island.

Previously, our visitors have either travelled with sums of cash or visited the Bank to draw from their international accounts upon arrival or when needed. There has not been an alternative service – until now.

Bank of St Helena has this year introduced the Tourist Card, an innovative solution to paying for goods and services around St Helena and Ascension using a virtual bank card, available on a mobile device through its own App. Using this virtual card, visitors can tap into the island’s local card payment service known as St Helena Pay, a service available at over 70 establishments in Jamestown and more around the island, as well as 12 locations on Ascension Island.

How to Apply

Step 1 - Complete application online through a secure banking system

Step 2 - Download the Tourist Card App

Step 3 - Load funds on to the Tourist Card (currency used is GBP)

Step 4 - Start spending on St Helena or Ascension, check bank balance and top-up through the online portal

Step 5 - Unload funds from the Tourist Card upon departure (no fees apply)

For more information and to apply visit our website

Caribbean Sea:

The Caribbean influx is about to begin with yachts descending from North America and approaching from Europe. Over 250 boats are crossing the Atlantic with ARC rallies right now. The first boats in the ARC+ fleet are arriving in Grenada as this newsletter goes out and the first ARC boats should make landfall in Saint Lucia in the first week of December. All ARC news can be found here. The OCC are tracking member boats that are southbound to the Caribbean, many of which are taking part in the Salty Dawg Rally.

Customs and Immigration are now on site at Christophe Harbour Marina, St. Kitts, for the yachting season, open 7 days a week.

There has been a procedural change with Customs in Antigua. While visitors can continue to use eSeaClear for Customs clearance prior to arrival (which has been used successfully for the last 12 years), they can also use the alternative SailClear if they prefer (this system is used by the majority of Caribbean countries). At the end of the season, typically May/June, Antigua Customs will make an assessment as to which system works best for them.

Jolly Harbour, Antigua, Leeward Islands

Jolly Harbour Marina & Boatyard is gearing up for a busy season, so sure to make your dock reservation in advance to secure your slip in the marina.

Special discounts apply for transatlantic crossings.

Our new fuel tanks are now in place, fully commissioned and ready for supply on demand.

Already accepting cradle reservations, which are in high demand and limited supply for the 2024 summer season, so book now to avoid any disappointment. Insurance is available locally.


Reserve your slip now

North Sea and Baltic

Baltic Sea ports are still reeling after being lashed by Storm Babet at the end of October and suffering the worst storm flood since 1872.


Grupo de trabajo Orca Atlántica [GTOA] have a database with more than 1000 orca sightings around the Iberian peninsula since 2020. They were the first organisation to start collecting data about orcas interacting with yachts off this coastline and continue with their efforts. This month they have been monitoring several groups of orcas that are entering the Strait of Gibraltar from the west and southwest, parallel to the African coast and have determined navigation areas that are low risk for sailboats transiting through the Straits. The GT ORCAS mobile app is available to receive or transfer information and you can also send reports to the Cruising Association.

The Gironde Estuary, a majestic waterway in southwest France, holds both challenges and marvels for sailors. In the first of this two-part series, Imray Commissioning Editor William Thomson shares how he found his way with Imray through this gateway to the iconic Canal du Deux Mers, that connects the Atlantic with the Mediterranean.

Red Sea

With Red Sea transit season kicking off next month and running until April, Wade Alarie (admin for the Red Sea Passage FB group) has sent Noonsite an update on the latest situation for those making the passage. The current conflict in the Israel/Palestine area, continuing unrest in Sudan and the ever-persistent conflict in Yemen is making cruisers cautious and numbers making the passage currently are lower than previous years.

In Egypt, there has been significant investment made to the marina at Ismailia (mid-way in the Suez Canal), making it an excellent place to stopover and visit Egypt if you decide you want to face the clearing-in fees.


Makatea - an island of upraised fossilised coral in the Tuamotus and the only one of its kind in French Polynesia, is an overnight sail from Papeete. NZ cruisers Kristin Percy and Rupert Wilson stopped over en route to the Tuamotus and report on a warm welcome for visiting yachts.

They found several moorings and some basic facilities, but it was the history of the island that they found so intriguing. Once a centre for phosphate mining, the island’s boom ended in the late 1960’s, leaving behind ruins, a disused railroad track and old machinery, now intertwined with the jungle. The underground labyrinth of partially submerged caves and excellent cliff climbing makes this an adventurers’ paradise.




Sailing the Viking Route Across the Atlantic

CCA Essential Passage Guide to the Viking Route: Includes Faroes, Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland & Labrador

Put simply, to follow the Viking route takes you from the east coast of the US, across the top of the planet via Newfoundland, Greenland and Iceland, back down to Europe via the Faroe Islands. Or indeed, the other way round. The Guide provides essential information to sailing the northern transatlantic route, an extraordinary series of ocean passages interspersed with some astonishing coastal cruising.

Created by members of the Cruising Club of America (all very experienced high-latitude sailors), this guide is the first of its kind as it follows a specific route and is not a general Arctic waters guide (of which there are several). Editor Bill Strassberg comments, I feel that the guide presents a good mix of high latitude specific skills and safety and seamanship information, with routing data and harbor specific details that together, will make for safe passagemaking and memorable, fulfilling, stopovers.”

How to get more out of Noonsite

While the majority of Noonsite continues to be a free resource, there are some ways you can get more enhanced viewing and more involved with the site:

Become a Member:

Starting from just $2.99/month you can benefit from enhanced access to key areas of Noonsite via our membership program. Your subscription will help keep the site on the web as part of a growing community of supporters. Our free membership is available to all but does come with a ‘fair use’ policy limiting access to country formalities each month. Enjoy unlimited access to all country formalities via our Basic Membership for just $2.99 a month, which also gives you the Noonsite community map, where you can view at a glance marine services worldwide, ports of entry and post your favorite anchorages. Noonsite's Premium Membership gives offline access to port and country formalities information to use when on passage. 

E-mail us with updates and reports:

Send us your detailed cruising reports and experiences around the world to publish on Noonsite and share with the community. Help us keep Noonsite accurate by feeding back any port updates or experiences of first-arrival in a new country. Any cruising-related questions are welcome, contact the noonsite team directly at

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Join our nearly 3000 followers for notification of site updates, new cruising reports and news and other cruising-related tweets we find of interest.

Find Crew with Ocean Crew Link

Need crew? Want to find new sailing buddies? Then visit Ocean Crew Link, the only crew connect website specifically for ocean voyaging.

Add your boat and opportunity and it will be emailed to over 11,000 sailors worldwide. If you want to find a boat, then hop aboard as we have over 150 active sailing opportunities open all the time.

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