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Understanding South Pacific Weather
Last updated: Dec 2011

We are pretty experienced cruisers and feel comfortable normally interpreting our own weather.  However, our familiarity was with the Caribbean�Northern Hemisphere�weather.  We were a little stumped when we first launched off from mainland South/Central America for French Polynesia.  (We still have trouble remembering that everything�s backwards when weather systems pass).

Several really good sources of instructional material on South Pacific weather exist.

1.    Bob McDavitt�s �Mariner�s Met Pack for the Southwest Pacific� ISBN 1-877197-08-04 published by Captain Teach Press, Auckland, NZ.  Though Bob is located in NZ and his weather focus is mainly the western portion of the South Pacific, his instruction manual covers a lot of useful information for the South Pacific in general.  Purchase online: Waypoint Books or Bluewater Books  or BoatBooks from NZ. If you can�t find it, email Bob at

2.    Jim Corenmans �Letters from the South Pacific� originally published in the late 1990�s in Latitude 38 Magazine.  Copies of this series of articles are floating around among boaters, and might be found on Latitude 38�s website.  Jim had a great article on understanding South Pacific weather that is still really helpful to newbies entering French Polynesia.

Download from here: JimCorenman-SouthPacificLetters.pdf 

3.    David Sapiane�s Weather for the Yachtsman.  I think I downloaded this document from the Pangolin site:

or the Pacific Puddle Jump Yahoo site.  It is an 11-page Word document dated June 2008, with a bunch of good information on terminology and understanding weather for the South Pacific.

4.    Some practical tips on planning a passage can be found here:

5.  The Hacking Family has a great circumnavigation website, and their South Pacific weather page is here:

6.    Check the Pacific Puddle Jump �Files� section on Weather, there are usually some good, updated documents there.

7.  Bruce Balan from s/v Migration wrote a great article in the Feb 2011 Latitude 38 entitled "Fair Weather Sailor - Pacific Weather Simplified"  You can find the article here:

South Pacific Weather Sources - At Sea

South Pacific Weather Sources - Internet