New Caledonia Cruising Guide

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"I can't praise you highly enough for the absolutely marvelous job you have done with the cruising guide. It has taken some extraordinary effort. Can't help thinking about how ALL yachts visiting New Caledonia can be convinced that your guide is an absolute MUST. If they don't have it they don't know how much they will miss out." 

Captain Per Rold
S/Y Cecilie


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31.5m M/Y Black Pearl


superyacht twizzle review

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Captain of 57.5m
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"Wow its amazing! well done to you, its nice to see some one doing something properly!   Myself and my brother are surfers so your high res images of the passes are perfect for looking for surf." Bevan Carr

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"The Rocket Cruising Guide to New Caledonia is the most unsurpassed guide I have ever used."

Neil Anderson, Captain of the 173ft luxury adventure yacht MY Suri

MY Suri

Passages and weather windows to New Caledonia

Sailing or motoring to New Caledonia is an enjoyable experience so long as you pick the correct weather window and the vessel is seaworthy.

Picking the weather is easier than ever these days with long range weather forecasts and satellite imagery. But there is a knack to doing it.

My wife, Frederique and I have made these passages over the past 30 years we have been annually migrating between the Pacific Islands aboard the Moira.

90% of our passages have been relaxing, and pleasant. The methods we use are described in full detail on the cruising guide to Vanuatu and on the cruising guide to New Caledonia along with time-lapse images, month by month, of the weather patterns in the south Pacific. On the guides you will find complete details on ocean passages, where to leave from and when to go.

If you want to make "magic" passages get our cruising guides and go over the instructions. But meanwhile, here are some preliminarytips on how to make an easy and happy passage.

1. Don't leave until the weather window is right. This means getting ready to go well in advance of the expiration of visas or customs requirements and then being prepared to wait (as in ready to go today). Getting ready to go also means going to the place you wish to leave from (see below for suggestions on departure ports).

2. When you are ready and in position, start watching the weather by going to two or more of the long range marine weather forecast sites. There are 4 main models available, NOAA and the US Navy in America, IGES in Canada, and the European Model (GFS). Each of these give 5 day forecasts or more.

3. The US Navy NAVGEM site is very useful because of the range of weather maps you can see. Even better you can quickly compare the US model with the GES (European model). The map formats are the same for both of these major computer models. In addition, you can now directly compare the maps from several models by opening separate browser tab, and then moving from one to the other and see a 7 day animation of the weather patterns with each model. .

When you open the US Navy site you will see a security warning. This is because (I love it) your browser does not trust the security certificate issued by the US Department of Defense. Just click to proceed anyway. You will see a table with a selection of all the different map products. I click on the "all" radio button for " Previous 6 hr Precipitation Rate [mm] and Sea Level Pressure [hPa] ". You can also select other charts - like surface winds or you can see an animated loop of the maps..

When the maps start loading right click on the link in the upper left corner of the browser window that says "Compare: GFS Oceania" and select Open in new Tab. Now you can flip back and forth between the models.

Compare what the two computer models say for the coming 7 days. If they differ considerably, the weather is not predictable. Save or print both sets of maps (on a USB key if you are in an Internet Cafe).

4. After three days, download the same set of maps from the same site. Now you can compare what each model said the weather picture would be on the third day (from the maps you saved earlier) with what the maps look like after the prediction period has elapsed. If the predicted maps match the actual maps - the weather is predictable. If there are significant differences between the maps the weather is unpredictable - don't go.

5. Do this again after 3 more days. Now you will have an idea if the weather is predictable or not and which weather model is doing the best job of getting it right.

6. Watch for a 7 day prediction that offers winds from a favorable direction (you can go a long way in 7 days with the right winds). One model will be doing beter than the others, but the other models should be close. Again, if the models give a significantly different set of maps with one set saying the wind will be unfavorable - don't go.

7. When you see the right wind pattern for your trip and both models essentially agree - go immediately. Go as soon as you see the favourable winds on both models - even if you have only been watching the weather for 3 days. (We have gone immediately on the first day of watching the weather when the winds were looking good and both models agreed - but that does not happen often).

The Next Step - plotting the right course

Picking the right weather to go is one thing - but working out your route can be difficult because the chances are that the wind will change direction along your route. So what is the best heading when you set sail? And what is the best heading for the next day - and the next - as the weather system breezed by you and the wind direction changes?

Fortunately a new online sailing route weather planner will solve this complicated problem for you in a way that you could not do yourself without buying some really expensive navigation software. I am in the process of testing this online service myself and so far I have to say I'm really impressed. It is easy to use with plenty of tool tips to explain each step. Their tables and graphs make comparing different weather prediction models amazingly easy to do. You will want to use the service for your own local sailing activities but where it really pays off is for computing your blue water passage.

Check it out on You will need to register and to get the full range of services you need to pay an annual fee. The free version won't do you much good for serious sailing. The benefits fof enjoying a comfortable, safe passage - and not breaking gear or getting injured by making an uninformed weather decision far outweigh the small annual fee they ask for.


Where is the best place to go from ?

This is not a major issue if you are heading to New Caledonia from Vanuatu or Fiji (normally a downwind trip unless you really mess up on the weather window planning).

When coming from New Zealand you don't have a lot of options, although it pays to leave from as northerly a port as possible because the passage to and from New Zealand is long and the weather can be extremely hazardous. So when you see that 5 day window open up you don't want to waste one of those days cruising along the coast of New Zealand. The further north you can get before your weather forecasts run out, the better. Generally this means entering and leaving from Opua in the Bay of Islands.

Sailing to New Caledonia from Australia and from New Caledonia to Australia offers a wider range of options - but, for us, there are really only two ports of entry and departure.

The best place to leave Australia for New Caledonia is Coffs Harbour in New South Wales. This will give you the least time at sea with the best chance of getting a good weather pattern for the crossing. Since customs and quarantine are located at the marina you can depart the instant the weather window opens. (This year we went to Noumea from Bundaberg with North to West winds 10 to 15 knots, sunny skys and full moon nights for the entire passage but this was a very unusual and welcome weather window).

Going back to Australia from New Caledonia head for Bundaberg in Queensland. There are several reasons for this.

  1. It is the shortest passage,
  2. The route is through the southern coral sea and avoids the often severe weather south of Fraser Island
  3. The entry is clear of reefs or other dangers
  4. Customs and immigration are at the Bundaberg Port Marina .




Download or order the very best cruising guide to New Caledonia right now and find the answers to all your questions about passages and weather windows to and from New Caledonia.



Call Richard 87 95 63 to purchase the guide directly from the author or purchase the guide from Chloe at Yacht Agent Noumea Ocean Services- her phone number, email and location are on the Noumea Ocean website.

Cruising Guide to New Caledonia DVD

Order the 2017 Cruising Guide to New Caledonia on DVD

Includes the companion Activity and Travel Guide.
Works on Windows (XP or later) and MacIntosh (OSX 10.7 or later).

This is an excellent gift for someone who plans on cruising, chartering, surfing, kayaking or diving in New Caledonia.

There is an extra charge to mail the DVD to an address that is not your billing address and they cannot be mailed to a mid-Pacific Island address, like Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga or Samoa.

Terms of Sale and Privacy Statement

Mailed to your Billing Address

Euro €125.00.

Mailed to a Transient Address

Euro €145.00.

DVD nautical guides to New Caledonia and Vanuatu

Special 4 Guide set:

Cruising and Travel Guides to Vanuatu and New Caledonia

If you are also planning to cruise Vanuatu, we have a special offer for all 4 guides that includes the New Caledonia cruising and tourism guides plus the latest Nautical Rocket Guide to Vanuatu and it's companion Travel Guide to Vanuatu.

There is an extra charge to mail the DVD to an address that is not your billing address and they cannot be mailed to a mid-Pacific Island address, like Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga or Samoa.

Mailed to your Billing Address

Euro €210.00.

Mailed to a Transient Address

Euro €220.00.


If you have a good fast Internet connection you can download your guides now.

After payment you will be transferred to a page with installation instructions and download links..

At the same time you will also be sent a receipt for your purchase and a separate email with the links plus detailed installation and activation instructions. You need that email to get the download and activation instructions and access to the online activation center so if you don't see it in your inbox check your spam box.

The links are only valid 48 hours so be ready to do the big downloads within 48 hours before making payment. You HAVE to use a download manager because these are big files.
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The downloader assures the download will be uncorrupted. Many people who do not use a download manager have problems and waste their time and mine with download issues. In the end they use a download manager program and have no problem. So do it right the first time, please, the download manager program does not cost anything and will greatly speed up the download for you.

Windows Download New Caledonia

Requires XP or later

Installation file for the cruising guide is 386MB and the companion Activity and Travel Guide 481MB - Euro €125.00.

Mac Download New Caledonia

Requires Mac OSX 10.7 to OSX 10.10.2

Installation file for the guide is 403MB and the companion Activity and Travel Guide 561MB - Euro €125.00.

Windows Download
Vanuatu + New Caledonia

Requires Windows XP or later

Installation files for the 4 guides to Vanuatu and New Caledonia are 220MB, 480MB, 386MB, 481MB - Euro 210.00

Mac Download
Vanuatu + New Caledonia

Requires Mac OSX 10.7 to OSX 10.10.2

Installation files for the 4 guides to Vanuatu and New Caledonia are 225MB, 494MB , 403MB, 561MB - Euro 210.00