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Old 09-22-2012, 12:31 PM   #1
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Default Cook Strait

I'm looking at a passage on a boat from just north of Sydney to Christchurch (Lyttleton). The most obvious direct route is through the Cook Strait. Has anyone (I know there are some NZ locals on this board) sailed this recently that can offer some advice? Or should we just avoid it and go around the top? Time of year would likely be mid January.
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Old 09-22-2012, 04:33 PM   #2
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It's pretty much uphill all the way. See if you can get a peek at the relevent passage notes in Jimmy Cornell's World Cruising Routes. My father (86) is soon to do Hamilton Island to NZ.
Tough trip!
Best wishes.
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Old 09-23-2012, 11:07 AM   #3
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Yes, I realise the Aus->NZ leg is pretty much all uphill, I was after more specific information about Cook Strait transit west to east.
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Old 10-01-2012, 01:32 PM   #4
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A Kiwi from Nelson Bays here, The strait can be pretty miserable if the weather is wrong, but on the plus side you can anchor off the Abel Tasman park and wait for the weather to let you cross the bay and round the point into the marlbrough sounds if you don't feel up to dashing right through.

If the weather is good it's a cake walk through with a following wind, but being a gap between two mountain ranges, the winds and waves in the strait do get big and choppy at times.

You would get a lot more info on the local conditions at crew.org.nz - the online home of New Zealand sailing
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Old 10-02-2012, 01:30 AM   #5
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Thanks, that's the sort of information I was after. I have registered on the forums at crew.org.nz and so I'll ask there. So you think the worst part is crossing the Tasman Bay? I was actually thinking of a stop in Nelson so I'd probably pick a line from the Abel Tasman park about south east into Nelson and wait there for a good weather window. In addition I'd need to go to a clearing in port before landing so although anchoring off the park sounds good, before going ashore I'd need to clear in via Nelson or somewhere similar anyway.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:51 AM   #6
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Hmm, no, the bay itself is pretty calm, being protected by the Farewell Spit and the cape, but from what you wrote I thought you would be aiming on a shoot straight through, and down the east coast rather than run down to Nelson first.

Nelson is a Port of Entry, so you can pull in there after the Tasman crossing, check in with customs, stock up on the groceries and other chores before heading through the strait.

For NZ weather New Zealand Weather Forecasts is good. That is run by the Meteorology dept of the Victoria Uni of Wellington. I find them more accurate than the TV news!
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Old 10-02-2012, 01:57 PM   #7
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OK, thanks for the info, quite helpful. I've already got the metvuw site bookmarked.

Unfortunately it doesn't provide accurate forecasts 18 months in advance so as a general principle, subject to change as I get near the coast and pick up forecasts, what do you think of the plan of heading direct to Nelson across Tasman Bay, clearing in there, hanging out for a decent weather window, and then heading up past d'Urville island and into the strait from there. Stopping perhaps to duck into the Marlborough Sounds if it looks a bit hairy? Time of year would be mid January.

Is it worth ducking into Q. Charlotte Sound anyway and going out via Okukari? Or best head around the top so I don't have to play tag with ferries? Similarly French Pass inside the big island looks like it might save some miles at the expense of potential current issues, what would the local advice be?

Thanks,
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Old 10-03-2012, 07:47 AM   #8
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My experience around the sounds is powerboats and shore based SCUBA diving I'm afraid, so I haven't studied the currents much as sufficient Hp makes them if not irrelevant, at least less worrisome, I sailed up Kawhia harbour and around the Auckland/Coromandel area.

Currently I am in China, Chongqing on the Yangtze.

There are Picton and Nelson sailors on the crew forum who would know more than me. But from my rather sketchy grasp of local issues, for a sailboat I would suggest heading straight through the strait if you will be using sails, if you wish to use the sounds, for a first visit until you experience the winds there yourself, stick to motoring. The hills around the sounds make winds very changeable once you are inside.
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