Oh yes, that sailing is still in the news. There was a recent hearing on that one. I have a good friend with a $100+K race
car that was on the trip. They were heading to an event up north and the truck tipped over on the car. It was a stock truck and the car was filled with manure. Eeeeewww. They had rather a messy clean up.
This time of the year, which is spring here, is usually subject to a very fresh northwesterly flow. The wind
is common till usually end of Dec. Then we get our "real" summer which tends to be very calm weather
right trough to mid winter. Then the cold snaps hit. But this year, we had an early winter and our spring westerlies have been above average in wind
strength. Here in Marlborough, our rain fall has been good this year. In a few past years, we have suffered majorly with drought.
The big issue with the straights weather
, is that the wind flow is funneld between two land masses with high hill country. So the wind picks up speed and can often be 10 to 20kts higher in speed than out in the more open sea. Then on top of that, we have the continental shelf on one side of the straight, rising from 8000ft upto a few hundred ft on the other side. The straight is only a short distance across with two large ocean area's each side. The two main islands ensure an enormouse tidal current
flows through this gap. Now add all that together, strong current
rising up from great depth
to shallow, strong winds often over Hurricane
force and the sea's can simply pile up to an enormouse hight. We often here the stories here of cruisers that have traveled all over the world and they always say the worst weather they have ever experianced in the entire journey is in the Cook Straight. Because we are an Island nation and our latitude means we are the gateway to the great Southern Ocean, there are no major mand masses to controll our weather patterns. They race
up from the Indian Ocian and almost directly off the Antarcitic and there is nothing stopping them. We have a very challenging weather here and those that learn to sail in it here, I honestly believe could sail through anything in the world. Even our young dinghy
sailors in the racing
clubs go out in 20+knts on a Saturday morning to race. Most other clubs wouldn't consider such wind strengths. but if these kids
didn't, they would not race at all. But I tell ya, they learn to handle a boat real quick. ;-)