Storm Preparation – Hurricane Plan
Obtain weather forecasts and track the storm’s position and movement. Try not to rely on one source of information. Wear a life jacket and issue one to all on board, making sure they put them on. Work out the best track to sail (the safe/dangerous semi-circle – see below). Get some sleep before the storm arrives, if you can.
If you are cruising in a cyclone area during cyclone season, ensure you understand the usual behaviour of the storm within your location. Analyse the best track to sail should you be caught in a cyclone. Note that in the northeast of Australia, cyclones generally move in a south-westerly direction before curving towards the south or southeast (but there are no guarantees).
This picture is based on cyclones in the southern hemisphere. (Cyclones spin clockwise in the southern hemisphere, anti-clockwise in the northern hemisphere.) Therefore, the dangerous semi-circle of a cyclone is to the right of an approaching cyclone path. This area has the strongest winds and it is the direction the cyclone is expected to move.
To evade a cyclone: In the southern hemisphere, if you are in the navigable semi-circle, keep the wind on your port quarter and manoeuvre away from the cyclone. If you are in the dangerous semi-circle, keep the wind on your port bow and try to manoeuvre away from the vortex.
Remember, no part of a cyclone is safe. It is just that in the navigable sectors you have a better chance of escaping the path of the vortex.
For a more detailed explanation – see our book Cruisers’ AA (accumulated acumen) (ebook or hardcopy) (follow links at top) – which includes in-depth descriptions/advice on: Basic preparation:, When a cyclone warning is issued:, Personal preparation:, Detailed preparation:, Cockpit:, Below decks:, Safety:, Storm surge:, Tropical Revolving Storms, Cyclones, Hurricanes & Typhoons,