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Old 07-25-2013, 11:23 PM   #1
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Default Hello from the South Island of New Zealand

We have done a bit of sailing and here is our story.
I am a retired Naval Officer, Royal New Zealand Navy (Korean War etc) and retired Master Printer and Publisher.
At 84 and 83 years we still cruising for 3 months each year logging 1500nm. Started sailing when I was 12 years old. At 16 years old I built a 6ft Tauranga "P"class sailing dinghy. Later owned an Idealong, Flying Fifteen, Westerly25, Cavalier32, and finally our Cavalier39 yacht "Avanti" which we have owned for 30 years. Margaret and I have logged 60,000nm together.

When under Naval training in UK I raced and cruised on the English and French coasts. In New Zealand waters from Dunedin I sailed 5 times to Stewart Island, twice to Southern Sounds (Fiordland), 25 times to Marlborough Sounds and circumnavigated the South Island (2 months) and the North Island (3 months). I have been sailing keelers on the splendid New Zealand coast for 45 years. Other return voyages with my wife include from NZ to Fiji, New Caledonia and Australia (2 years), and NZ to Tonga and Fiji (9 months).

We maintain Avanti at our own boat shed, wharf, mooring and haul-out rails only 160 meters from home. My interests are cruising, maintaining Avanti and writing.
In particular I am familiar with the South Island coast and may be of some help to cruising yachtsmen and yachtswomen visiting our magnificent islands.

My mooring at Careys Bay in the Otago Harbour is well sheltered and maintained with a depth of three meters at LW. As my guest I often make it available to visiting yachts with a displacement of up to 15 tons.
Fair Winds,
Bill McIndoe

Yacht Avanti, at Careys Bay,
Port Chalmers, Dunedin,
New Zealand.
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:23 AM   #2
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Well done to you both. My father at 87 is still sailing and I believe, it is his determination to keep setting goals which keeps him young. You seem to have a similar philosophy. I am inspired by people who keep doing it despite the advancing years.
Good on you!
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Old 07-26-2013, 11:06 AM   #3
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Well done Bill, both of you. My great-great aunt Shirley decided to finally retire at 94, she said she was saving up for her old age. I'll be in Lyttleton for a few months starting next January but a sail down the coast to Otago might not be a bad visiting option.
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:10 AM   #4
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Saturday 27/7/13

Greetings "delatbabel",
(Moderator of Cruising Log Forum)

Thank you for your kind words of welcome to the Cruising Log Forum which Margaret (an Aussie as well) and I much appreciate.
Delighted that you are paying NZ a visit in 2014 and that you might sail south to Dunedin in January.
As is our custom we depart (GWWP) from Careys Bay, Port Chalmers at noon on 2nd January 2014 for our 1500nm, three months return cruising to the Marlborough Sounds, Tasman Bay and Nelson area. This will be the twenty-sixth time we have made this cruise over a period of 42 years.
If you do decide to come south we will probably have left by the time you arrive in Careys Bay, but will be back about end of March

Suggested Plan:
I will give you the GPS position and description of my mooring which you may use for a period which we can discuss.
I have yachtie friends who could contact you after arrival.
When you get back to me I will give details of how to get in touch by phone.

Information:
The salmon will still be running in the Harbour - bring your rod. No license required.
Fuel by card, and water is available from the Fishermen's Wharf.
It is one km walk to supermarket, garage and other shops in Port Chalmers town.
It is 12km by bus service to Dunedin.
Up in Dunedin there may be berths at the Otago Yacht Club boat harbour which
you could decide on after settling in at Careys Bay.


Questions:
Where are you know?
What is your ETA New Zealand?
What is your ETA Port Chalmers?
How many aboard etc etc?
And do tell me where you have been.
How else can we help.

Best Regards

Bill McIndoe

www: mmmcindoe@gmail.com
We have email on board Avanti when away.

Yacht Avanti
at Careys Bay
Port Chalmers.
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:54 AM   #5
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Hi Bill,
Enjoy your cruise up to the sounds, looks like you and I might be there around the same time.

My current plans put me in Nelson about the end of December or early January where I will provision up and sit and wait for a weather window to get through the Cook Strait. Then it's a straight sail down to Lyttleton and I will berth up there for a few months. There will be side jaunts from there around to Akaroa and up and down the coast a bit. I've always wanted to get down as far as Otago Harbour but I don't have fixed times and crew yet so I'll let you know closer to the date.

By all means give me the details on your mooring and I'll take you up on your kind offer.

Perhaps you could drop by this page here and fill in some details:

Dunedin - a Cruising Guide on the World Cruising and Sailing Wiki
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Old 08-06-2013, 03:48 AM   #6
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Hi delatbabel,

You must be sick of my coastal guide ramble, but once I started writing the Nelson to Dunedin guide I was determined to give you the whole voyage. My Margaret has disappeared across to Oz to visit our son and family in Sydney and then her sister in Adelaide for two weeks. I am delighted to be at home writing and living on baked beans on toast. Actually she has left me a fridge full of casseroles and other goodies so really I am well fed. I can eat and do exactly what I like when I like. I was going to take the casseroles and Avanti out on the Harbour and anchor for a few winter nights. But if I can't get the echo sounder performing properly soon the casseroles will all be gone.

NZ EAST COAST GUIDE: CAPE CAMPBELL TO AKAROA

When clear of Awash Rock, on the east side of Arapawa Island turn slightly to port and set course for Cape Campbell. If conditions are rough or it is blowing SW take a big curve into Cloudy Bay to stay between the 30m and 50m line, out of the deep water, and to obtain shelter from any southerly swell coming up the coast. Cape Cambpell will give you shelter to within 2nm.
The black and white, horizontally stripped tall lighthouse is built on a low peninsula with a background of shingle cliffs. Not easy to see.
It is important to calculate the Cook Strait tidal flow. Strong tides run in all this area and especially in the vicinity of the Cape and on the coast furthers south. Consult the Central NZ Cruising Guide for this information. Shepherdess Reef projects 1.5nm from the Cape. Have safety clearing courses prepared using paper chart, echo sounder, radar and plotter. There is a large isolated boulder upon which the sea breaks that marks the approximate seaward end of the reef.
It is nice to go with the current.

Double Cape Campbell and set course south down the Marlborough coast heading for a position 5nm off Kaikoura Peninsula.
Position yourself inside the 100m line at a distance of about 4nm from the shore. The waves are smaller in the shallower water. If you get into too shallow water, where the bottom is rocky, there is the danger of crayfish pot lines and buoys. To avoid them stay 5nm clear of Kaikoura Peninsula where the water is too deep or the bottom unsuitable for them to be laid. Avoid moving within 5nm of Kaikoura in the dark.

When you have doubled Kaikoura sail down the coast then do a big sweeping curved course into Pegasus Bay to stay out of the deep water i.e. do not set a course straight for Le Bons Bay across Pegesus Bay. Banks Peninsula will then give you shelter from the southerly swell.

I seldom go into Lyttelton Harbour probably because when in this position I am heading home.

If you think it time to anchor for a rest and a cook-up I can suggest four options:
(1) Pigeon Bay on the north side of Banks Peninsula, is the second bay along to the east from Lyttleton Harbour. Entrance is easy and it is 4nm up to the anchor position close under cliffs on the point at Holms Bay, to obtain shelter from the SE through to N. There is nothing there except you. It is rather nice but it is not on the rumb line and does take you out of your way
GPS Position: 43° 40.48S
172° 53.37E

(2) Le Bons Bay on the north east corner of Banks Peninsula. The entrance is easy. Go 1.5nm up the bay and at the turning position (shown below) turn 90° to starboard. Anchor in what I call Yellow Buoy Bay in position (shown below) as close to the cliffs as you dare. If you close the little rocky point that forms YBB and the southern entry point of Le Bons you will avoid the incoming swell. You may see a small yellow buoy which identifies that you are in the right place. I lay an anchor parallel with the shore and a limiting anchor out to the SW in case the wind comes in from the south. If calm I can haul the bow round to face the incoming swell sneaking round the point to reduce roll. There is plenty of water. Although a bit rolly this is a worthwhile stop-over to cook a nice dinner, relax and sleep. It is another 5 hours (26nm) round and into Akaroa.
Le Bons is not suitable in E or SE winds

Turning point: 43° 43.84 S
173° 06.22 E

Anchoring position: 43° 44.04 S
173° 06.25 E
(3) Keep on for Akaroa. In the morning sun the Banks Peninsula cliffs are dramatic. In the afternoon they are dark and threatening. To avoid the seas stay close to the cliffs. Watch for the occasional reef off the points. Look for Pompys Piller, a handsome lump of rock.

(4) If everyone is bright eyed and bushy tailed carry on south to Taiaroa Heads, the entrance to Otago Harbour. If the weather is OK it might take 36 hours from Le Bobs entrance to Taiaroa Heads.


AKAROA:
Akaroa is one of our favourite places. It nearly became a French colony. The French influence and descended families are still present. It is charming and you do not need to speak French. Google it. Easy entry day or night, 0.8nm wide. Lighthouse at the Heads and entry leading lights Co 330°(T) Big tourist ships frequently anchor in the harbour in the summer season and take the passengers ashore in their own boats. They go to sea for the night heading for their next port. No shallow water areas accept further up. Can be heavy swell at the entrance especially when southerly swell meets ebbing tide.
Look for Hector Dolphins. Lovely creatures who will visit if you play Beethoven.
Consider when anchoring:
(1) When it has a mind to the SW wind can blow your socks off. Watch the Bossa hill (half way up the south side of the harbour) for telltale wisp of streaming vapor. If you see that you have 10 minutes to take shelter.
(2) Because of the occasional strength of the southerly the moorings in French Bay and Childrens Bay have big concrete weights and heavy chain. Be careful that you don't hook something with your anchor as happened to my. It took six helpers and half a day to free it. Now I always rent the Akaroa Cruising Club mooring. Ring Brian Little, owner of Akaroa Garage?? who handles it for the Yacht Club.
(3). Best Anchorages for the Southerly:
Robinsons Bay and Takamatua Bay, the next bays after Children's Bay
The Club House is a marvel for such a small but active membership. They are mainly keen racers and only a few cruising boats. Sight the large white lighthouse in position 43° 48.7S, 172° 57.4E. The clubhouse is immediately on its eastern side.The club mooring is the closest to the end of their long jetty. It is heavy and rather short. Be ready to put a rope through the mooring eye and back to your winch to get the eye up to your fairlead. I then tail it with rope or chain to make it longer and stop snubbing if there is a swell.
Water is available on the Club jetty but being shallow you may need a bit of tide. From the east side of the wharf you pick up a buoyed mooring aft and with your rope attached to it, run in to the wharf, secure forward and drop back a little and tension the stern line. The hose from the reel is passed over and you are in business. If you secure to the wharf without the stern line you will be either tide or wind rode.
The Stevenson Room is a special room for visiting cruising yachties with shower, washing machine, dryer, coffee arrangement, book exchange etc. Look out John Milligan (yacht Swift Cloud) the Barman or other member who will guide you through all this including access to the club front door etc. The Bar opens during race days and at other times - check it out.

The fuel pump on the main Town Wharf is also available to yachts. Inquire at the Tourist Booking Office on the wharf. Be careful to sort out where you can berth for fuel so as not to get the tourist boat operators nickers in a twist. There are landing pontoons but the Town Wharf is high - ship size. Water is available but you may need your own hose here and a big tap fitting.

Akaroa is really two towns separated by an esplanade. For the best food shopping walk around the esplanade to the northern part of town. Or more fun go in your dinghy the 625m further on from the big Town Wharf to the smaller northern wharf. In the main street do your food shipping at the Four Square food market and the butchers shop; visit the post office; find and talk to the silver artist painting a picture on his silver easel. Visit the Captain Frank Worsley Museum. He was Shackleton's captain in the Antarctic expeditions, starting in 1914 and was a local lad. Walk up to the old cemetery, high above the dinghy sailing yacht club and read a few stones. The place is full of history. In the north end of town and up the valley find the Herb Garden and pay a visit.
At the south end of town is the best fish and chip shop in New Zealand, a baker, general store (needle to an anchor), touristy clothing shops, lots of bar/restaurants and accommodation. It is a fun tourist town. In the summer they have visits from about 70 big cruise ships a year. They anchor out in the main part of the Harbour.

Ocean Currents and Tidal Streams:
There is an irregular 0.8 knot ocean current running north up the coast. It is driven by westerlies blowing across the southern Tasman. It runs north for 8 hours and south for 4 hours because it is effected by the ebb and low of the tides on the coast. Sometimes the current is not flowing but the coastal tide then flows 6 hours each way.
Have you got a copy of The New Zealand Tidal Atlas? It gives you the tidal story, but not the current component.

I do not recommend Timaru for yachts unless you have friends there or local knowledge.

To enter Oamaru Harbour needs local knowledge, but I can give you an idea. Go into the Bay immediately to the north of the Harbour. Come back up close to the Holmes Wharf breakwater. Nip close round it's end and you are in. Don't believe any transit marks until they are verified by a reliable local. Call a fisherman up on Ch 62. Choose an anchorage, holding is good. The town is fascinating and worth a visit.

My next and last communication will be Akaroa Heads to Taiaroa Heads and up to Careys Bay. Then I will have to get on with being a Cruising Wiki contributor.
Best regards
Bill McIndoe
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Old 08-07-2013, 11:16 AM   #7
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Hi Bill,

I've started pumping your information into the wiki, thanks for all of that it will be most useful in my upcoming cruise.

I haven't gotten to the information above yet but I will read through it over the coming weekend and post it up to the wiki.
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Old 08-08-2013, 05:31 AM   #8
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Hi Bill,

Everything as far south as Oamaru is in the wiki. I have to say it had never occurred to me to make Oamaru a stop in NZ, I may have to pay it a visit while I'm there. I look forwards to the next installment. Meanwhile you can follow the links from the New Zealand page in the wiki to find all of the information you provided so far.
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Old 08-11-2013, 09:52 AM   #9
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Default Latest Section of Cruising Guide - Akaroa to Port Chalmers, NZ

Hi delatbabel,

Here is the last section Akaora to Careys Bay of my Cruising Guide Nelson to Port Chalmers. I really burbled on to give you an idea of the whole voyage. I am not sure if it is suitable for Cruising Wiki or not. Perhaps you could guide me on this problem. Having just finished it after all that sweat, makes it difficult for me to butcher my baby, but I don't mind at all if you butcher it. My problem is I love the anecdotes and asides that give it warmth and colour.

Preparing the 150nm Passage and Departing from Akaroa for Port Chalmers:
Carefully study the weather forecasts seeking a 32 hour window with wind direction from west through north to east. It is not pleasant to be battling a southerly front over the last 20nm of the voyage.
Depart 09:00 from Akaroa Township. This will probably be a 32 hour passage in the summer months with the 60% likelihood of NE or NW wind.
You are entering the part of the country were the southerly winds and the northerly quarter winds battle for control. Get a feeling for the transit of the high pressure ridges moving across the Tasman Sea from Australia and the depressions coming up from the Great Southern Ocean, passing close to Tasmania. The Lows then cross the Tasman Sea fighting with the Highs for territory over New Zealand.
The TV1 weather forecasts give realistic graphics of the weather map. Every day at 18:55, I watch it and draw a sketch map so I always have a picture of it in my mind. I also memorize the weather map in the Otago Daily Times so I can follow the changing patterns. At home I have a glass roofed room from where I can watch the clouds in the sky and their movement. Thus I train myself to constantly be aware of the weather around me.
There are no newspapers or TV reception at sea but aboard Avanti I have my own SSB weather fax receiver to get the maps no matter where we are in the world. If I am within range I may receiving data through my Hot Spot router. I will receive MetVUW wind and barometric maps on my iPad. Voice forecasts also come in on VHF and SSB but to be any good for me I have to write them down in a code that I have devised. Otherwise there are just too many bits of information to mentally piece together to get the picture. Only on Maritime Radio are forecasts spoken slowly enough to be useful, the rest gabble. If you want details about only one area that can be remembered. If you are sailing the coast for several days, moving through two or three meteorological areas, then you need to record in writing the details of fronts, isobars, lows and highs and their relative movement to your vessel's changing position.


Leaving Akaroa Harbour stand on to seaward to clear the reef off Timutimu Head, on the southern side, and then set course 219°(T) across Canterbury Bight for Taiaroa Head 150nm to the south. If the tide is ebbing and there is a southerly swell running into the Harbour there will be a heavy swell at the entrance. Watch here for floating detached bull kelp. Appreciate the high and colourful vulcanic cliffs on either side.
At sea there may well be a 0.5kt current, generated by the westerlies in the Tasman Sea, flowing around to the south of Stewart Island and through Foveaux Strait and up the coast. If the current is running it will be effected by the tidal stream and will run 8 hours to the North and 4 hours to the south. If there is no current the tidal stream will run 6 hours each way. There is a note on the chart that warns mariners can be set in towards the Canterbury Bight beach (see story at end).
With Timaru abeam you are forty miles off the coast which is below the horizon. Looking across the Canterbury Plains you can see the Southern Alps 100nm away. When off Ashburton on a clear day you can see Mount Cook (3,754m), New Zealand's highest mountain.

As long as the weather is kind and you have chosen your departure time wisely to correspond with a weather window the passage across Canterbury Bight can be a lovely sail. In a position 40nm off Timaru, to your east is the Pacific Ocean, dark blue and sparkling, stretches empty 6,500nm to Chile. A hundred miles inland to your west are the snow capped Southern Alps, running NE/SW the full length of the South Island parallel to the coast. The Alps form an intriguing backdrop to the Canterbury Plains which are out of sight below the horizon.

Warm and Gusty Westerly:
A westerly wind comes towards New Zealand moisture laden from the Tasman Sea. As it rises up the western slopes of the Southern Alps the air expands, cools, reaches dew point resulting in heavy rain on the western side of the mountains. As the now dry air goes over the tops it descends on the eastern side and is compressed, becomes warm and accelerates over the plains as a typical gusty foehn wind.
If you see lenticular clouds aloft there may also be strong winds that come down at 45°. You will not see it coming. A knock down or two will sort out the sailors from the boys. In these conditions reef the sails to the gusts; down below snooze on the lee side and snib all the cupboard doors.

This knockdown happened to me on two occasions. Once when clearing Akaroa Heads and once 40 nm east of Timaru. Down below the woodwork still bares the scars from when the improperly secured, barograph in its wooden case, hurtled across the saloon, bounced off the table, hit the lee locker and fell in the lap of a sleeping crew who was lying on his back. No need to worry the barograph was perfectly all right but the hole in the table still reminds me of this strange weather phenomena. And my crew member did recover.

A lenticular cloud is a dark, isolated, cigar shaped cloud about 6nm long. In cross section it is lense shaped hence "lenticular". There will be several of these stretching back towards the mountains. It is indicative of wave shaped winds in the vertical plane, where the cloud forms at the top of the wave, and they are stationary. A well known inland Otago example is the "Taieri Pet" which is often seen east of the Taieri River near Middlemarch. It is created by the west wind formed in a wave configuration as it passes over the parallel mountain ranges of the Raggedys, Rough Ridge and Rock and Pillar. If you live under it and the westerly wind is blowing you would not get much sunshine. It sits there casting a long stationary shadow. In Middlemarch the Taieri Pet is just another local character along with the schist rocks all over the paddocks, the Taieri River full of trout and the Rock and Pillar Range covered with winter snow.

The NE is the prevailing summer wind and that is the one that you are looking for. Hoist all plain sail and set course 218°(T) for Taiaroa Heads. You will probably notice the current running north at 0.5 kts. But it is not always there. It depends on the average conditions in the Tasman. If you can see by the weather map and forecasts that a southerly will develop or a big swell Is already running up the coast, close the land to gain shelter from the Otago Peninsula. Do not be afeared of closing the coast. there are few hazards and the waves are smaller. Note isolated Fish Reef lying SE 1.5nm off Katiki Point.

The Friendly Sou'westar:
The southwest wind is dry and steady. Not the wind you want for going south. You can do short boards into shore and long boards out to sea. It also brings the sunshine, the fronts with strong winds and rain. I love the excitement of the sou'westerly. But not when I wish to sail south. If voyaging south the old adage was to depart early on a dying southerly. You would go to sea and beat or motor against the last of the wind. it would then die and you would motor for a while till the freshening northerly came away to complete the journey under sail.
Today we have more scientific systems for predicting the weather but it is part of a mariners toolkit to know the old skills, practice them and compare the result with the forecast from Met Service and MetVUW sources. Aboard I have a barograph, thermometer, weather fax, an anemometer and my seaman's weather eye which all help to assess the conditions and their possible outcome. I also have SSB and VHF radio and a computer with a hot spot (router) with which to gather weather data.
The procedure is to gather and study your data and your assessment before you sail. Make the plan and depart when it is prudent. On this part of the coast there is no shelter and only the man-made harbours of Timaru, forty miles off the rhumb line, and Oamaru are useful.

The Nasty Easterly Wind:
The easterly wind is not common and does not last long. It is on its way to blow from a different direction. When it does stay in the east it brings with it unpleasant easterly sea for which we have no landmass shelter on the east coast. The generated sea will often be a cross swell with the resident southerly swell which brings lumpy conditions.

Approaching Taiaroa Heads:
Rising above Palmerston, Pukitapu is a sharp conical hill, topped with a prominent tower, originally built in the days of sail as an aid to navigation, making it easy to identify. As you come within sight of the hills behind Dunedin the tops of the hills on Otago Peninsula, to the east, are raised. The eastern part looks like two islands but are really Sandy Mount and Mount Charle, hills on the Peninsula. They all merge and when within 8 miles you will sight Taiaroa Head lighthouse.
Locate the prominent Fairway Beacon in position 357°(T) from Taiaroa Head Lt 1.3nm. There are no hazards out here, except hitting the beacon, which is tall and hard. Look over on a bearing of about 220°(T) and you will see a gully in the cliffs that is full of white sand on Split Beach. Captain Cook described it as "remarkable" (meaning worthy of note). In front of it is Lion Rock marked on your chart. It is comforting to see something you can identify and fun that our Capt James Cook saw and noted both these features.

The Entrance:
At the entrance to Otago Harbour the Taiaroa Head lighthouse is a collector's piece and any lighthouse museum would give their back teeth for such a gem. It is built high on the headland with an enviable 270° sea view. The light covers 135° guiding ships in to the port and warning passing traffic of the dangers. The next lighthouse at Cape Saunders, 9nm further south, guides shipping passed the eastern most extremity of Otago Peninsula.
Leave the Fairway Beacon to starboard and close the lighthouse to one mile and you will see the 0.8nm long South Mole on the south side of the entrance. From there you can see into the entrance and on a bearing of 187° the Directional WRG light.

Steam into the entrance between the north end of the mole and Taiaroa Head leaving the mole to starboard. Run in on the Dir light perched on a small headland ahead. When inside you will sight the red port hand piles and the green starboard hand piles. At green pile No 7 the shipping channel swings to starboard into the Cross Channel.
Steer 283°(T) and follow the channel staying on its starboard side. Two miles ahead is a orange light low on the shore which when in transit with green pile 13A on bearing 283° will lead you up the Cross Channel. If you wish to meet a big container vessel coming the other way just stay on the transit because that is where he will be.
The channel then curves to port and soon you will be abreast of Pulling Point. On the port bow you will sight the three container cranes bearing 240(T) 1.4 nm indicating the container terminal. Following the piles up harbour you will sight the Fishermans Wharf in Careys Bay.

How to Find My Mooring:
My mooring at Careys Bay lies to the west of the Fishermen's Wharf, at Port Chalmers which is 6nm up the Otago Harbour from the entrance at Taiaroa Heads. If possible make the passage up the deep and well marked shipping channel in daylight. There are one and a half container ship movements per day. It is the half ship movement that is worth a look.

Approach the Fishermens Wharf at Careys Bay to within one hundred meters and turn 90° to starboard towards my boatshed which is unpainted tin with painted teal coloured double doors and my 30m long wharf. Pass a moored unnamed concrete Hartley RORC32 sporting an overall, blue anti-seagull netting cover. You should be close to my mooring which is the only 700mm round white-painted buoy. There is a smaller yellow pickup buoy on a 5m rope attached to the actual heavy mooring pendant coming through the middle of the buoy. Drop the heavy rope eye splice over your bollard and your done. The mooring was serviced a year ago. Then give me a ring.
Mooring Position: 45°48.42S. 170°37.5E
Land line phone: 03 472 7258

Notes: Avoid maneuvering on the shore side of the buoy. My slip incline extends out in that direction. There is plenty of water for a yacht with a draft of 2.5m to swing and it is well sheltered.
You can land on the little beach immediately on the north side of my boatshed. Pull your dinghy up on the grass. It is 160m walk around to the Pub and bus terminus. You can also row in to the landing pontoon in Careys Bay, immediately on the west side of the Fishermans Wharf. The Pub is 100m away from there if you can make it that far.

A lot of this Coastal Guide is for your entertainment and edification and would have to be edited if it were to go into Cruising Wiki. Also watch out for my idiosyncratic spelling. Reading it back it seems too chatty and anecdotal.
Anyway I have had a go. Now I must get on with hard facts for Cruising Wiki.

Best Regards and good voyaging,
Bill McIndoe
,


Murder - and Hasler Self Steering
An unrelated story from the past.

Russell heads for Chile:
On a voyage north from Port Chalmers to Akaroa in our previous Cavalier32 "Lenticula" with our two sons, Alastair became ill. Timaru was 40 miles away to the west and the nearest port. Fearing the worst I turned towards it and on arrival found a berth (which we were later chased out of). A public New Years party had been organised on the park at Caroline Bay. It was pouring with rain but with hundreds of others we turned up in our cheerful yellow heavy weather gear, rode the dodgems, eat hot pies and watched the final touches being made to huge bonfire. A house like structure had been built out of railway sleepers and wharf timbers and then filled with old tires. Alastair had recovered by then especially when the bonfire light up the night sky.
Still pouring with rain the bonfire was light and it was spectacularly successful. There was good fireworks display and then we had a murder in the pedestrian tunnel. Something about a youth stabbing another on a bicycle. All told a worthwhile visit.

Which Way Akaroa?:
Leaving the next evening I set course for Akaroa. Russell, my brother-in-law, was three
miles ahead in his Narani. My Blondy Hasler wind driven self steering was doing fine. Russell turned slowly to starboard until I was sure he was heading for Chile. I supposed he knew what he was doing. It got dark and there was nothing to be seen except Russell's lights disappearing over the horizon still heading for South America. During the middle watch Margaret came down and shook me. "Bill! I can hear waves breaking and I can smell beach." I leapt up top and we both understood what had happened. We were heading straight for the steep shingle beach of Canterbury Bight and could hear the waves breaking and the shingle rushing back and forth. I disengaged the self steering, started the engine and turned the yacht away.

Oops!
After some discussion we sorted out that the wind had backed from north east to north west. We had slowly altered course because the wind driven self steering had followed the new wind direction and nobody noticed. Russell was not heading for Chile at all. He was still steering the correct course for Akaroa. We had slowly altered course to port heading straight towards the beach.
That incident and several others, when the Hasler steering put us unexpectedly about, convinced me that when in pilotage waters the boat had to be steered by a compass, not by the wind direction. Although I retained the Hasler wind steering system I did install an electric Autohelm unit which always steered by compass. When we purchased Avanti our Cav39 in 1982 I found the Hasler was too small for the boat.

You Must Have Two:
Because I believe all self steering system will break down I always have two units installed aboard. With the yacht too big for the Hasler I now have an Autohelm 6000 operating and and an Autohelm 4000 on standby. If you do not have appropriate self steering you can not go cruising. Having owned all the Autohelm types in various sized yachts (i.e. 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 6000 and 7000) I know now what the numbers mean. It indicates how many miles you will get out of an Autohelm before it breaks down (joke). Actually I really think that the Autohelm 6000 is an excellent unit. I have had it for 18 years and it's performance is exemplary, especially downwind, the most difficult course for any self steering gear to operate, and is ptruly amazing.
Lesson: (1) You need at least two self steering systems to cruise with assurance.
(2) If your self steering systems are all electric you may need photovoltaic panels or other methods of electrical generation.

Only Another Story
Regards
Bill McIndoe
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Old 08-12-2013, 03:33 AM   #10
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Great stories, Bill.

I will do some paste-up to the wiki this evening, after a bit of judicious editing of course. I'd really like some more info on the other South Island ports -- have you ever been to Invercargill (or Unvurcarrrrrgll as the locals seem to pronounce it)? I went to Bluff once for the oyster festival, a great time was had by all except for the oysters who didn't seem to get much out of it. I take it that you can't actually get a keelboat into Invercargill harbour (new river estuary or whatever they call it) and you need to go in to Bluff instead -- I'm intrigued by that floating island port they have there.

There was a good story in Cruising Helmsman magazine a few months back of a couple that had cruised Stewart Island by way of Tasmania -- a few hairy weather stories there. I must dig that article up again and have a read.

In terms of self steering, I have 3. Autohelm S2 attached to the hydraulic pump on the rudder, Autohelm 4000 wheel pilot (too small for the boat really but it seems to work OK), and aries wind vane. I hand-steered a Cheoy Lee 36 half way across the Tasman once after both wind vane self steering and electronic wheel pilot broke down. The wheel pilot motor was not adequately waterproofed and died after the first wave broke into the cockpit. B****r that for a game of soldiers I thought. I actually repaired the wind vane but the wheel pilot was RS.
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