Cook Strait Crossing Robert, Peter & Geoff – 9 Dec 2016

Crew: Peter, Robert, Geoff.

The weather forecasts were looking promising for the sailing (dying southerlies) even though the days before and after were not good.Marine Forecast for Cook: Southerly 20 knots, easing to variable 10 knots around midday. Northerly 15 knots developing this afternoon, rising to 25 knots late evening. Sea becoming rough. Poor visibility in patchy morning drizzle.

The plan was:
0930 hrs Leave Chaffers
1200 hrs Arrive Sinclair Head (2.5 hrs at 5 kts)
1600 hrs Arrive Tory Channel (4 hrs at 5 kts)
1930 hrs Arrive Picton (3.5 hrs at 5 kts).

Graciela came down to the marina with us and organised coffees while we did preparations and safety briefing. Departed Chaffers Marina at 0940 hrs with very light winds and hoisted Main and #3 Genoa. Graciela got some nice shots of us sailing out. Interesting to note the post 14 Nov Kaikoura earthquake backgrounds: Photo #2, 61 Molesworth St being demolished, Photo #3 container terminal in disarray.

After motoring into the wind out through Wellington Heads and Chaffers Passage we headed west and were able to sail with the light southerly breezes.

Passed Sinclair Head at 1153 hrs doing 7.4 kts SOG with the tidal current helping us along. We noted the heavy fog up in the hills above Pencarrow as well as around the Makara wind turbines. We were accompanied by a small pod of dolphins as this stage.

We passed south of Cape Terawhiti (leaving the Karori Rip) at 1255 hrs and SOG dropped to 4 kts as we slowly sailed across the Cook Strait as the wind change to light northerly. As we neared Tory Channel Entrance there were three ferrys converging. Two coming out and one coming up behind us. We took bets as to whether it would beat us and slowed down to let us pass. Probably unnecessary though!

Passed close to Tory Channel East Head at 1541 hrs and cruised down the channel and rounded Dieffenbach Point into Queen Charlotte Sound at 1734 hrs.

Rounded The Snout and arrived into Picton at 1900 hrs. 30 mins ahead of schedule.

A great crossing with beautiful weather and calm seas – although we could have done with a bit more wind!

Total trip: 49.93 Nmi, Avg speed 5.27 kts, Time enroute: 09:28 hrs.

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