Destination Chatham Island

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Mon 1 Mar 2021 00:08
Position: 41 16.0 S  174 25.7 E
Course: SE  Speed: 5 knots
Wind: NE F4  Sea: slight   Swell: S 1m
Weather: overcast, mild
Day’s run: 9 nm

I roused the sleepy crew out of his bunk at 0700 and over breakfast reviewed the weather and the plan for the day. To go for Chatham Islands, or not to go? The weather pattern for the next few days still looked favourable so I thought why not. If I do not avail myself of the opportunity it might not come again.

At 1000 we weighed anchor, motored out into clear water, set the main with one reef and proceeded towards Tory Channel’s notorious entrance. I had actually calculated slack water to be at 1130; however, while I sat at anchor two of the Cook Strait ferries transited the entrance. I thought these guys clearly know the local conditions better than anyone. I could see the entrance from where Sylph was anchored and it looked reasonably benign, so I thought I may as well follow the locals and leave a little early.

This decision has paid off. Conditions within the narrow strait between the two craggy headlands were relatively calm. There were a few eddies but I expect even at slack water, given the large amount of water trying to pass through the small entrance, that there would still be some turbulence.

By 1030 we were out in the open waters of Cook Strait, and I was gratified to see that a few smaller boats had negotiated the entrance at the same time as us. The breeze is a moderate force 4 so I shaken out the cautionary reef. Now we are heading southeast on a beam reach and making good a very comfortable six knots.

Next stop … Chatham Island, ETA three days, (if all goes well, but for now ...)

All is well.