Cook Strait Crossing Kaipakirikiri to Wellington – 31 Dec 2021

Crew: Geoff, Malcolm, Phil.

Cook Forecast: Southerly 15 knots, turning northerly 10 knots around midday and rising to 20 knots in the afternoon. Sea becoming moderate. Long period southerly swell 1 metre.

The Plan: Crossing Cook Strait back to Wellington. For an Easterly Crossing we need to leave Tory Channel two hours after tidal stream commences setting East. The NIWA table shows the tidal stream begins setting East at 0800 so we needed to be heading out of Tory Channel at 1000 hrs.

We all slept well after a relaxing night at anchor in lovely Kaipakirikiri Bay and got up at 0700 hrs to have breakfast, remove the stern line, secure the dinghy and prepare the boat. We cast off from the mooring at 0800 hrs and motored-sailed up Queen Charlotte Sound around Dieffenbach Point into Tory Channel. At 0945 we did the ‘All Ships’ call on ch. 16 and prepared to transit the Tory Channel entrance dropping the jib and making sure all hatches were securely closed.

Phil did a great job on helm negotiating the big waves and whirlpools as we passed through the entrance without any problems.

Once we cleared the entrance and entered Cook Strait the seas calmed down. The light southerly breeze wasn’t enough to sail so we had to keep the engine going with just the main hoisted.

The breeze eventually died out at around 1100 hours as we motored along in the flat calm, glassy sea. Not a common sight on the Cook Strait!

Eventually the nice northerly arrived at about 1230 hrs and we were able to hoist the No. 2 jib and turn off the motor. Bliss!

The northerly wind continued increasing to about 20 kts and we sailed past the Thoms Rock way-point at 1230 hrs doing about 8.5 kts SOG and then entered the choppy conditions of the Karori Rip. We passed Sinclair Head and continued at a good speed sailing past Island Bay and Lyall Bay.

The grandkids Isabelle and Max were able to see us in the distance and commented that it looked like Halo was going very fast! We rounded Palmer Head at 1346 hrs and dropped the jib to motor-sail thorough Chaffers passage keeping a close eye on the chartplotter to follow our planned route.

After some wet and wild sailing through Wellington Heads we eventually rounded Pt Halswell and cruised in to Lambton Harbour. Geoff called Maritime Radio on ch. 16 to close the Trip Report. We dropped the sails and docked at our berth in Chaffers Marina at 1530 hrs.

Total distance travelled 48 nautical miles

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