Ward Island with Clark Family - 3 Mar 2019

posted 13 Jun 2019, 23:00 by Geoff Head   [ updated 12 Oct 2019, 21:57 ]

Crew: Geoff, Louise, Nick, Lucas, Chelsea


Saturday Fun Sail and Raft-up - 18 May 2019

posted 13 Jun 2019, 20:19 by Geoff Head   [ updated 13 Jun 2019, 23:33 ]

Crew: Geoff, Peter, Colin

Forecast: Northerly 15 knots, rising to 20 knots gusting 30 knots late morning, and to 25 knots gusting 35 knots this afternoon. Sea becoming rough this afternoon. Cloudy periods.


Cook Strait Crossing Picton to Wellington - 21 Feb 2019

posted 26 Apr 2019, 21:14 by Geoff Head   [ updated 27 Apr 2019, 03:57 ]

Crew: Geoff and Graciela

Forecast: Wellington Marine: Northerly 15 knots. Rising to northerly 20 knots gusting 30 knots by late morning, and to 25 knots gusting 35 knots about the south coast this afternoon. Morning cloud, then fine spells. NIL warning for COOK. 

We had a couple of relaxing days in Picton during which Geoff was able to do planning for the Cook Strait Crossing. The goal for Easterly Crossing is to leave Tory Channel two hours after tidal stream commences setting East. The NIWA table shows the tidal stream begins setting East at 1122 so we needed to be heading out of Tory Channel at 1322 hrs. Based on previous trips we should allow 3 hours to sail from Picton to Tory Channel Entrance.  The weather forecast for Thursday was strong northerlies, not much swell but rough seas. It was predicted to get worse over the next few days so the decision was made to go for it. Geoff changed the mainsail rigging for number 1 and 3 reefs, checked the storm jib was ready, checked the dinghy was secure, fuel tank full and we were good to go!

On Thursday morning after final checks of the forecasts (and a final coffee!) we set sail from Picton at 0950 hrs, logged our trip report with Maritime Radio, and motor-sailed into the headwind up Queen Charlotte Sound avoiding the ferries, then turned right at Dieffenbach Point into Tory Channel. We arrived at Okukari Bay near the Tory Channel entrance and waited for a while to be sure the tide had turned. After calling 'All Ships' on ch. 16 to announce our intentions we motor-sailed through the entrance at 1300 hrs with the mainsail triple reefed and #3 jb rigged but not hoisted. The turbulence was manageable and the tide had obviously turned east as our speed over ground was over 11 kts as we passed the gap between West Head and East Head.

After clearing Tory Channel we hoisted the #3 jib and set the course to 130 degrees (true) aiming to be about 3-4 miles from the coast when passing Karori Rip to avoid the worst of the rip.  Two other yachts left Tory Channel just ahead of us and I was curious to see they sailed on a course much further south than us. I even wondered if they were going to Cape Palliser.

The northerly increased to around 25 kts and with the possibility that it could keep increasing, we dropped the #3 jib and hoisted the storm jib. Even with just the storm jib and three reefs in the mainsail we were ripping along at 9-10 kts in a broad reach. The boat felt good but we were pleased not to be over powered.

As we approached the southern edge of Karori Rip the sea become very rough. It was manageable though, as the wind and the tide and the seas were all running more or less in the same direction as the boat. Also the swell was not as big as we have experienced on previous crossings. 

Once we passed Sinclair Head at 1530 hrs and turned NE towards Barrett Reef Buoy it was a different matter as we crashed our way though the waves at around 5 kts motor-sailing through the Heads into Wellington Harbour. We noticed the two other yachts which were heading towards Baring Head had now tacked into the Heads well in front of us.

We arrived back in Chaffers Marina at 1815 hrs, elated to have completed another Cook Strait crossing safe and sound, although rather wet!

Total trip distance 52 nautical miles, elapsed time 8.5 hours. 


D'Urville Island - Ship Cove - Picton 18 Feb 2019

posted 11 Apr 2019, 21:13 by Geoff Head   [ updated 12 Apr 2019, 01:11 ]

Crew: Geoff, Graciela

18 February - Catherine Cove to Ship Cove

Forecast: Southerly 18 kts easing to south-westerly 15 kts.

We woke up in the morning at Catherine Cove to the wind and choppy sea which hadn't abated from last night. Rather than row the dinghy ashore we called the Wilderness Lodge and told them we would pay for the mooring via internet banking. No problems. Departed at 1030 hrs. Called Marlborough-Nelson Radio to log a trip report. They suggested that when we arrive at Ship Cove we should close the TR on Ch. 1.

By the time we had left Catherine Cove and reached Clay Point the weather had cleared nicely. Perfect blue skies conditions, calm seas and 13 kts of tail winds. We connected up 'Ernesto' and set the course for Cape Jackson with full Mainsail and No. 3 Genoa. Put the fishing line out with the spinner trailing behind us. Ever hopeful!

We now understand how the tides work at Cape Jackson. When tide is coming in to Picton it is current is flowing east to west at the cape and vice versa. See image below. High tide in Picton today was at 1449. 

As we neared the cape we noted a few other boats travelling in the same direction and our speed over ground was averaging 7 kts so that was a good sign we had it right. We passed the gap between Cape Jackson and the lighthouse at 1343 hrs with no problems at all except for a large powerboat called 'Bellarosa' cutting in at high speed between us and the cliffs. Rather dangerous I thought and I waved to him to slow down but he just gave me a cheery wave back. As soon as we had cleared the point and entered Queen Charlotte Sound our speed slowed down to 5 kts as we hit the outgoing tide from Picton.

We sailed down to Queen Charlotte Sound towards Motuara Island. As we neared Ship Cove at 1500 hrs we saw 'Bellarosa' again, this time tied up at the club mooring. We slowly approached the boat and noted that they didn't have a club pennant flying. Geoff politely asked them how long they would be there as we wanted to stay the night on the mooring. The response was "Oh we'll be gone in 20 minutes. Just go over to the jetty and wait." Mmm. Well we didn't have any choice so we motored to the jetty and waited about an hour until they finally roared off. 

We then tied up at the Ship Cove club mooring and had a lovely restful evening. Geoff had a swim and did a bit of hull inspection and checked the prop. (We had noticed a vibration at low revs in gear since leaving Motueka). All looked fine though I did think the prob shaft could be a bit loose in the cutlass bearing.

19 February - Ship Cove to Picton

After breakfast and a visit back to the jetty for a walk around and use of the DOC toilets, we departed Ship Cove at 1100 hrs. Once we got into the Sound we found 20 kts northerly blowing down our necks. We tried different sail options and after an unfortunate gybe decided to sail with two reefs in the Mainsail and no jib. Made our way down the QC Sound with strong following seas at relaxing speed of about 5-6 kts. Arrived at the Picton Marina at 1445 hrs while Graciela was having a little nap so Geoff berthed the boat single-handed. No problems.

We enjoyed a relaxing couple of days in Picton with walks and swims while we prepared for the last leg of our trip back to Wellington. Gerard and Rose came down to the boat for drinks and snacks one night and we had a lovely catch-up with them. 


Motueka - French Pass - Catherine Cove - 17 Feb 2019

posted 5 Apr 2019, 21:00 by Geoff Head   [ updated 5 Apr 2019, 21:13 ]

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.


Nelson - Motueka - Abel Tasman National Park 11-16 Feb 2019

posted 24 Feb 2019, 00:23 by Geoff Head   [ updated 6 Apr 2019, 16:06 ]

Crew: Geoff and Graciela

Sailing Nelson to Motueka 11 Feb 2019

We flew to Nelson from Wellington and arrived at Halo in the Nelson Marina to discover the 12 volt house batteries were completely dead as a result of the stereo being left on plus the solar panel (and the whole boat) being covered in a thin layer of ash from the recent Nelson bush fires.  After trying unsuccessfully to re-charge the batteries overnight we decided to replace the two batteries. Luckily Burnsco had them in stock. That day I had arranged to meet with my old mate Dave Waring. He was a great help getting the new batteries from Burnsco as well as getting rid of the old ones plus swapping out our LPG gas bottle. That night we had a lovely meal with our friends Jim and Lindie.

The next morning, after a particularly good coffee at the local cafe (Kush Coffee) we left the Nelson Marina at 1015 hrs and set sail for Motueka. With only 5kts of wind we hoisted the No. 1 Genoa and motor-sailed out of the harbour and towards Motueka. Eventually the wind picked up to 10 kts and we were able to turn off the engine and enjoy beautiful sailing cose-hauled across Tasman Bay. The wind continued to increase to over 16 kts so we put in the first reef as a precaution. 

We reached the entrance to the Motueka estuary at 1250 hrs (high tide was due at 1400 hrs) and with Graciela on helm we slowly followed the marker buoys all the way up the river to berth at the marina at 1330 hrs. 

That evening we had a delicious swim in the open air salt water pool on the edge of the Motueka estuary.

Hiking Abel Tasman National Park - 12 Feb 2019

We took a break from sailing to spend 5 days in the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park. As well as good hiking and kayaking and comfortable accommodation in the Wilsons lodges we enjoyed wonderful weather with plenty of swimming opportunities.

Day One 
Boat trip Kaiteriteri to Totaranui.
Hike Totaranui to Awaroa. 
Accommodation at Meadowbank Homestead.

Day Two
Day hike across Awaroa Inlet to Historic Steam Engine track.
Accommodation at Meadowbank Homestead.

Day Three
Hike Awaroa to Onetahuti Bay
Kayaking Onetahuti Bay to Torrent Bay.
Accommodation at Torrent Bay Lodge.

Day Four
Day hike to Anchorage, Pitt Head and Te Pukatea Bay.
Accommodation at Torrent Bay Lodge.

Day Five
Hike Torrent bay to Marahau.
Bus back to Motueka Marina.


Nelson - Motueka - Nelson 17-18 Jan 2019

posted 19 Jan 2019, 00:46 by Geoff Head   [ updated 6 Apr 2019, 16:07 ]

Crew : Geoff and Tunch. 

While resting in Nelson and after Peter had returned to Wellington, Tunch mentioned he was keen to take a bus trip to Motueka to visit a friend who has a Kebab shop there. Why don't we sail there Geoff suggested! 

We did a route plan on OpenCPN and figured out we could get there in 3 hours at 5 kts. We then checked the weather forecast and the tides and noted that high tide would be at 1913 hrs. We then called Alan Noble of the Motueka Boating Club (027-663 3995) who was very helpful and confirmed we could have an overnight berth at the Motueka Marina. He also gave us some local knowledge about entering the estuary; "Just follow and keep to the left of all the channel markers on the way in. You'll be fine!'  

We cast off from Nelson Marina at 1450 hrs, out through The Cut, rigged up the Mainsail and No. 2 Genoa,  and set Ernesto to steer us across Tasman Bay to the Motueka entrance. The wind gradually decreased as we headed north with our speed dropping from 7 to 5 kts. As we entered the estuary Tunch took over helm while Geoff kept a close eye on the chartplotter and depth sounder as we crept up the river at 3-5 kts. Our SOG suddenly increased to 7 kts as we passed the wharf due to the tide still coming in though the narrow channel. We then spotted Alan and he waved us in to our berth.

OK time for a kebab! Tunch's friend kindly came down to the marina to pick us up and take us in to town and generously shouted us a delicious kebab meal. 

The next morning high tide was at 0808 hrs we set off at 0845 hrs and sailed back to Nelson arriving at 1140 hrs.


D'Urville Island to Nelson - 15 Jan 2019

posted 19 Jan 2019, 00:44 by Geoff Head   [ updated 12 Mar 2019, 02:59 ]

Crew: Geoff, Peter, Tunch. 

On our last night on the mooring in Catherine Cove the southerly started blowing in bay and we rocked and rolled all night. The forecast was for the wind to change to a northerly and then die out in Nelson so we departed early at 6 am, skipping breakfast, and started motoring our way into the headwind across Admiralty Bay. The wind and waves were pretty big but with Tunch doing a great job on helm we eventually arrived at the French Pass wharf at 7.30 am and had a well deserved breakfast. 

According to the LINZ tide chart the French Pass tide would begin flowing SE at 8.05 am. Geoff wanted to be sure however and went up to the lookout to check out the current. At 7.45 am it was still flowing NW but by 8.20 am it had turned to slack water.  Quickly back to the boat and we cast off from the wharf at 0834 hrs and by 0903 hrs we were passing through the channel between the light and the rocks in beautiful slack water with not a whirlpool in sight. Easy peasy!

We then sailed a fairly direct course all the way down the coast of Tasman Bay. Firstly close-hauled with a southerly and then when the wind eventually changed to a northerly we 'goose-winged' the genoa and later hoisted the spinnaker as we passed Croiselles Harbour, Cape Soucis and Pepin Island - named by the French explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville after his wife, Adèle Pépin. The island is currently on sale for $16m.

Eventually arrived at the Boulder Bank and turned into the entrance to Nelson port known as The Cut, made in 1906 when the early settlers wanted to open up the enclosed harbour to shipping.

Arrived at our berth in the Nelson Marina at 1537 hrs.


Wgtn to to D'Urville Island via Cape Koamaru - 12 Jan 2019

posted 10 Jan 2019, 19:26 by Geoff Head   [ updated 26 Apr 2019, 18:02 ]

Crew:  Geoff, Peter, Tunch. 

Metservice Forecast WELLINGTON: Rising to southerly 20 knots early morning, easing to southeast 10 knots in the afternoon. Turning northerly 15 knots in the evening. Sea becoming moderate early morning, easing in the afternoon. A few early showers, then becoming fine.  
Metservice Forecast COOK : Southeast easing to 15 knots Saturday morning. Turning northerly 15 knots late Saturday evening. Rough sea at times. Southerly swell 1 metre, developing. COOK STRAIT SAILING INSTRUCTIONS: Leave Wellington to arrive at Sinclair Head 1 hour before HW Wellington. You will then have a favourable tidal stream across Cook Strait.

The plan was:
0710 hrs Leave Chaffers 
0930 hrs Arrive Sinclair Head (2.5 hrs at 5 kts) 
1430 hrs Arrive Cape Koamaru 
1600 hrs Arrive Ship Cove

Forecast was generally good. A dying southerly with 1mt southerly swell however the Cape Terawhiti Boating forecast gave it a rating of only 2 presumably due to disturbed sea state following the recent high winds. OK so it'll be rough but with all the other factors in our favour - tide, wind and swell all going in the same direction - it should be safe.

We started on schedule at 7 am. Did a trip report with Maritime Radio and rigged up the No. 2 Genoa and main. A beautiful and calm morning in Wellington harbour.  

As we motor-sailed out through Wellington Heads we could feel the 1.5 mt southerly swell on our nose. We passed through Chaffers Passage and then crossed Palmer Head at 0820 hrs we turned off the engine (bliss) and sailed west at about 6 kts.  Wind increased to 20 kts so we took the precaution of putting a reef in the mainsail before we arrived at Karori Rip. As we neared Sinclair Head our speed over ground (SOG) started increasing to 7 and then 8 kts as caught the tidal stream.  Passed Sinclair Head at 0830 hrs one hour ahead of schedule, and our SOG increased to 9 and up to 10 kts. As expected the sea was pretty rough and we put on our tethers for safety.  Passed Cape Tarawhiti at 1000 hrs leaving the Karori Rip. The southerly swell and tide continued pushing us along at 9 kts.

We then rigged up the spinnaker pole to set the Genoa "goose-winged" and connected up "Ernesto", our AutoTiller, which steered Halo to the next waypoint across the Cook Strait. Look Mum, no hands!

We crossed north of Awash Rock at 1130 hrs and then west of The Brothers keeping a close eye on the chartplotter as this was unfamiliar territory for us.  Passed Cape Koamaru at 1200 hrs - 2.5 hours ahead of schedule!

After doing some route planning on the OpenCPN we made the decision not to go to Ship Cove. We calculated we could get to D'Urville Island easily before sundown. Geoff called the Catherine Cove Lodge to confirm we could use one of their moorings. No problems!

The next challenge was passing Cape Jackson. We crossed the top of Queen Charlotte Sound on a beam reach in 15 kts southerly averaging 7 kts SOG.  Passed though the gap between the headland and the Cape Jackson light (where the Mikhail Lermatov came a cropper) at 1250 hrs with following tide keeping our speed up at 8 kts. 

We then lost our tidal push and continued on at a more normal speed of 6.5 kts past Cape Lambert, Alligator Head, north of Titi Island, crossing the top of Pelorus Sound. We passed Clay Point at 1550 hours. 

By this time the wind had eased off considerably and Tunch put the fishing line out and eventually snagged a nice big Kawahai!

We eventually arrived at Catherine Cove and were tied up at the mooring by 1700 hours. Closed the TR with Maritime Radio. Total trip time Wellington to D'Urville Island - 10 hours.  Total distance 64 nautical miles. Tired but happy with our achievement. Time for a refreshing swim followed by dinner of the great lamb curry that Graciela had pre-prepared for us!

DAY 2 -Catherine Cove

As a break from sailing we did the hike up the Old School track to the ridgeline and looped back down to Catherine Cove via the 4WD track. 5 hours. Back in time for another swim followed by kawahai for dinner expertly filleted and cooked by Tunch.


DAY 3 - French Pass Settlement

Decided to go for a day trip across Admiralty Bay over to the French Pass settlement to check it out and have a look at the French Pass tidal flows in preparation for tomorrow's sailing. 

We tied up at the wharf and had a look around the place. Thought we'd go to the shop for an ice cream but were disappointed to discover that the shop had closed down in April last year. The sign said the owner had been running it for 40 years and now that he'd turned 75 he'd had enough. The place is for sale or lease to anybody interested. Also noted that the NPD fuel depot does not accept credit cards. You need a NPD card.

We walked up the hill to the lookout and observed the French Pass tidal flows and great views across Admiralty Bay. We read on the plaque that 'In 1827 the corvette Astrolabe commanded by Dumont D'Urville discovered and after great danger sailed through French Pass'.

On our return to Catherine Cove we went to the mussel farm as Tunch was keen to catch some mussels to have with our fish tonight. Unfortunately they were all too small. Also did some fishing for Blue Cod. We dropped the anchor just off the point. No wind and Peter and Geoff relaxed while Tunch caught four cod. All under the 33cm limit unfortunately and they had to be thrown back in. Also caught a small shark which was trying to eat the cod on the hook and got the line twisted round its neck. We were able to set him free eventually. 

Had a bit of excitement when the wind came up unexpectedly and Halo quickly started drifting dangerously close to the rocks! Had to move quickly to start the engine and bring up the anchor.

Back to the mooring and dinner and enjoyed the amazing sunset over French Pass.


Mākaro/Ward Island with Jenny and Jono and family - 4 Jan 2019

posted 5 Jan 2019, 21:37 by Geoff Head   [ updated 6 Jan 2019, 12:30 ]

Crew: Geoff, Jono, Jenny, Isabelle, Max

Marine Forecast: Variable 5 knots. Southerly 10 knots developing for a time this afternoon and evening. Northerly 10 knots developing overnight. Sea slight. Fine.

Our first sailing in 2019! 

With a perfect day for sailing forecast we left Chaffers Marina at 1422 hrs and hoisted the Main and No. 3 Jib. The wind was a nice southerly breeze so we were able to turn off the engine and quietly sailed out towards Ward Island. Connected up the Autohelm to give Jenny and Jono free hands for child minding. Isabelle and Max were pretty relaxed about the sailing even when we heeled over a bit.

The Straitsman ferry started coming out behind us but by checking the AIS track we could see that we would be past the shipping lane by the time she caught up with us. Wind was up to 15 knots as we crossed the harbour entrance and neared Mākaro/Ward Island. There was one other yacht on the club mooring but the skipper, Anthony, kindly agreed for us to raft up.

Jono pumped up the dinghy and we did two trips to deliver us all to the island. Had a great explore around the east side. Isabelle and Max loved playing on the beach and exploring the rock cave.

Back to Halo and cast off from the mooring at 1706 hrs and sailed back across the harbour tying up at the berth at 1800 hrs.

This was Halo's first outing with the new Vesper AIS Transponder and good to see our track was recorded by Marinetraffic.com. See screen capture video below.


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