Maximum sustained winds were predicted to increase to nearly 100 mph as the center of the storm became more organized and passed between Tonga’s main islands late in the week.
Ian was expected to reach maximum intensity far from any land areas before dissipating over the cooler waters of the far South Pacific.
But an 86-year-old tall sailing ship on a world cruise was in the path of the storm.
The Picton Castle was en route to the Cook Islands after taking part in the Auckland Tall Ships Festival in December.
The crew on board tweeted that they were keeping a close eye on the storm.
Cyclone Ian Track
Satellite Loop Data: CIMSS