Cook Strait Crossing – Wellington To Waikawa 30 Nov 2017

Crew: Geoff, Murray, Grant.

Forecast Cook: Southerly 5 knots easing to variable 10 knots this evening. Sea slight. Southerly swell rising to 1 metre. Poor visibility in patchy drizzle this morning.

We decided to do the Cook Strait crossing on Thursday 30th Nov for the Wineworks Race on Friday 1st Dec as forecasts were all consistent in predicting a perfect dying southerly for Cook. Grant and Murray met Geoff at Chaffers 10 am. Eduardo flew to Picton on midday the same day.
Wellington High Tide on 30-Nov 2017 was 1426 hrs, 1.6 Mts. To arrive at Sinclair Head 1 hour before HW Wellington, ie 1326 hrs we planned to depart Chaffers at 1100 hrs. (See Waypoints Plan below). According to the plan Halo will arrive 8.15 pm at Waikawa if we average 5 kts over the trip, however we expected to make better time with the tidal flows.

We cast off from Chaffers Marina at 1025 hrs. Very calm conditions, almost no wind so we motored across Wellington Harbour and out towards the Heads. Hoisted the Mainsail after passing Point Halswell and continued motoring into the southerly passing through Chaffers Passage at 1140 hrs. Once we cleared Wellington Heads we turned east and with a brisk 10 kts southerly hoisted the No. 2 and set sail for the Mainland!

Past Sinclair Head at 1235 hrs and averaged 7 kts SOG through a very calm Karori Rip clearing Thoms Rock at 1300 hrs. Sailed across Cook Strait at 5.5 to 6.5 kts.

We noticed the Straitsman ferry coming behind us and despite appearances we calculated with the AIS tracker on OpenCPN that they would beat us to the Tory Channel Entrance. We then received a polite call on Ch. 18 to “the sailing vessel about to enter Tory Channel, do you want to enter first or let us pass?” We acknowledged we would alter course to port to let them pass to our starboard. Once they had entered Tory Channel we started our engine and followed them in at 1600 hrs recording up to 9 kts SOG mid way through the entrance.

With no wind in Tory Channel we motored the rest of the way making good speed with the incoming tide, passing Dieffenbach Point at 1720 hrs. Called Eduardo and advised our ETA of 1820 hrs approx which proved to be spot on and Eduardo was waiting for us at our Waikawa Marina berth taking a couple of photos of our arrival.

We then joined the other contestants for the Pre-Race briefing in the Waikawa Clubrooms and then retired back to Halo to enjoy the delicious beef curry that Graciela had prepared for us. Early to bed (Eduardo slept on the deck under the fly sheet) with the alarms set for 5.30am start for the Wineworks Race tomorrow!

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