When cruising in the tropics there is inevitably a decision to be made come hurricane season. One can:
1) Clear out of the hurricane zone (usually between latitude 30 deg N and 05 Deg S). This is the least risky option but severely limits the cruising season as it allows only four to six months in the tropics before it’s necessary to clear out of the hurricane zone.
2) Put the boat in a safe harbor and cross your fingers. Option 2 carries some risk as the boat will be stationary and will require a fair amount of prep to be storm ready should a development occur. Selection of a well-sheltered location with a low probability of hurricane landfalls (based on past history) helps minimize this risk while enabling an easy continuation of cruising after hurricane season.
3) Continue cruising and hope that you will have enough warning and be close enough to a safe harbor should a storm develop in your area. This option is typically reserved for the brave and uninsured as storms can develop quickly and sailboats aren’t fast enough to easily get out of the path of a storm. Insurance companies don’t like this option and usually won’t provide coverage.
After careful consideration, we chose option 2) and decided to use the time to visit friends and family and enjoy the beautiful PNW summer. In late May, we finished our cruising for the season and docked Gadabout in a protected marina in the Puerto Vallarta area. For the next three weeks, we worked day in and day out preparing Gadabout for her summer break – washing and removing sails, maintaining winches and anchor chain, removing lines and canvas, cleaning the interior, strapping Engelbert H. (the dinghy) to the foredeck, and finishing small (and a few large) projects.
We developed a storm plan and secured the boat with extra dock lines.
We hired Juanito, a well-respected boat manager, to maintain and look out for Gaddy in our absence and booked our tickets home.
We have plans for a couple of “Year 1 Wrap-up” posts, so do stay tuned. And we look forward to sharing new experiences when we continue south in the fall. Thanks for being part of our adventure!