Crew: Geoff & Graciela
Forecast: Northerly 10 to 15 kts rising to 20 kts in the afternoon.
The previous night after stocking up on provisions in Motueka, Geoff had a chat with the local secretary of the yachting club about our plans to sail across Tasman Bay and transit French Pass. One small concern was that we may arrive at the pass too early for the slack water at 1850 hrs. He suggested that a good place to wait for the tide is Punganui Bay just south of French Pass where we would find a good anchorage and a TBCC club mooring. Great advice.
Departed Motueka Marina at high tide 0940 hrs. Called Marlborough-Nelson Radio on Ch. 4 to make our trip report. Beautiful early morning light and no wind at first as we motored into Tasman Bay with ‘Ernesto’ set to a heading direct to French Pass. The predicted wind arrived eventually and we turned off the engine and sailed with full Main and No. 3 Jib. Wind increased more and seas become a bit rough so we put first reef in the main for comfort, making good speed at 6.5 to 7 kts.
We watched the Spirit of Adventure also sailing across the bay and wondered if Gerard was on Master duties. Then great excitement, a large school of dolphins came and joined us. They ducked and dived around Halo and kept us company for ages. There must have been about 20 of them. By this time wind was getting up to 20 kts so we put a 2nd reef in the main as a precaution.
We arrived at Punganui Bay 1645 hrs. We tied up at the club mooring and we waited for the tide to turn at 1853 hrs according to the NIWA tables.
At 1832 hrs we left the mooring and motored over to French Pass. We made our call to ‘All Ships’ on Ch. 16 advising our intentions to enter the ‘narrows’. Two other yachts were transiting with us at the same time in the same direction so we were in good company. As we passed the narrows at 1851 hrs we noted that there was a some south-to-north current eddying around the lighthouse indicating the tide had already turned. We noted our SOG was 6.5 kts increasing to 7.5 kts as we came out the other side. No problems with eddys this time.
The northerly continued at about 20 kts as we sailed up Admiralty Bay with 2 reefs in the main (and no jib) arriving at Catherine Cove at 1945 hrs where we tied up at the Wilderness Lodge mooring.
A pretty long day and after a good dinner we both slept very well with Halo rocking around on the mooring in the choppy seas.
Total trip distance Motueka to Catherine Cove – 46.55 Nautical Miles.