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Old 23-05-2012, 05:06   #1
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Sailing the Tasman Sea (Aus to NZ)

We're a family of 5 from New Zealand cruising on a Leopard 42 catamaran, currently making our way down the Queensland coast of Australia. We plan to sail back from Aus to NZ later in the year to get back to Auckland for Xmas, but could do with some advice, specifically:
1. Which months (Oct, Nov or Dec) would give us the easiest passage?
2. How far North on the E coast of Australia can we get away with as our departure point?
3. Are there good sources of info out there with weather and route info?
4. We read that Lord Howe Island is a possible en-route stop-over - is that correct?

Any other advice much appreciated.
thanks, Fred and Rebecca on board "Tonga Moon"
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Old 23-05-2012, 05:21   #2
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Re: Sailing the Tasman Sea (Aus to NZ)

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Originally Posted by Tonga Moon View Post
We're a family of 5 from New Zealand cruising on a Leopard 42 catamaran, currently making our way down the Queensland coast of Australia. We plan to sail back from Aus to NZ later in the year to get back to Auckland for Xmas, but could do with some advice, specifically:
1. Which months (Oct, Nov or Dec) would give us the easiest passage? Nov-Jan should give the Northerlies but wait and see.
2. How far North on the E coast of Australia can we get away with as our departure point? Well I would leave from Brisbane (as I am there now - and Lord Howe is not too far.
3. Are there good sources of info out there with weather and route info?
Do you have an HF?
4. We read that Lord Howe Island is a possible en-route stop-over - is that correct? Yep

Any other advice much appreciated.
thanks, Fred and Rebecca on board "Tonga Moon"
Where are you guys now?
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Old 23-05-2012, 05:31   #3
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Re: Sailing the Tasman Sea (Aus to NZ)

Thanks Rusky,
Yes, we have an SSB, we're currently lying Cooktown, waiting for strong SE to abate to head down to Cairns for some repairs. Finding the headwinds hard going in the cat, but I guess we have plenty of time to get South for the Tasman trip.
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Old 23-05-2012, 05:52   #4
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Re: Sailing the Tasman Sea (Aus to NZ)

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Originally Posted by Tonga Moon View Post
Thanks Rusky,
Yes, we have an SSB, we're currently lying Cooktown, waiting for strong SE to abate to head down to Cairns for some repairs. Finding the headwinds hard going in the cat, but I guess we have plenty of time to get South for the Tasman trip.
Hmm... I guess you will have plenty of time waiting in Cooktown but not so much time to get down the coast. It has been said that a visitor can go mad waiting for the SE's to drop around Cooktown but they should ease off by November and maybe October if you are lucky. Other than that, scamper southwards a little bit at a time and then recuperate from the SE's for a few days and do another leg.

There was a recent thread about Qld to NZ a few months back, if I find it, I will post a link
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Old 23-05-2012, 07:56   #5
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Re: Sailing the Tasman Sea (Aus to NZ)

Here is the thread I was thinking of; might not be that relevant but there is some information regarding weather especially on page 2. It concerns the reverse direction i.e. NZ to Qld.
advice and help to cross the tasman
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Old 23-05-2012, 15:17   #6
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Re: Sailing the Tasman Sea (Aus to NZ)

With the HF, you can access the weather from VMC or VMW. Also Russell radio - you can log in with them and get the weather. Also there are impromptu HF nets.

You should raise Lord Howe on the 3rd day. There are quite likely others doing the same trip at roughly the same time.
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Old 23-05-2012, 17:27   #7
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Re: Sailing the Tasman Sea (Aus to NZ)

Just did a delivery from Sydney - Nelson.

We waited almost 2 weeks for a good weather window - but it was worth it. Following a low across seems to be the most common advice I've heard - and it worked really well for us - we had SE winds practicality he whole way and made good time.

We checked in with a friend in Sydney by SSB & sat phone for weather updates along the way, but once you're out there there's little to do other than try and put the hammer down if the window looks like it'll close.
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Old 23-05-2012, 19:48   #8
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Re: Sailing the Tasman Sea (Aus to NZ)

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Just did a delivery from Sydney - Nelson.

We waited almost 2 weeks for a good weather window - but it was worth it. Following a low across seems to be the most common advice I've heard - and it worked really well for us - we had SE winds practicality he whole way and made good time.
Huh??? The course from Sydney to Nelson is around 110 deg true... seems like SE winds are about noserly. Explain, please!

Cheers,

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Old 23-05-2012, 20:43   #9
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Re: Sailing the Tasman Sea (Aus to NZ)

yep, meant SW. Our apparent was between 60-90, but the boat was a 62ft Gunboat so it really brought it forward.
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Old 23-05-2012, 20:51   #10
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Re: Sailing the Tasman Sea (Aus to NZ)

Good luck on your trip. I sailed twice to Australia, but always went by way of New Caledonia. I took the easy way out.
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Old 25-05-2012, 05:10   #11
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Re: Sailing the Tasman Sea (Aus to NZ)

Thanks for all the advice, very helpful. Any other thoughts that occur, we'd love to hear them.
cheers, Fred and Rebecca on board "Tonga Moon", currently lying Cooktown (trying to get South if the SE winds will ever slow down!)
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Old 29-05-2012, 20:54   #12
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Re: Sailing the Tasman Sea (Aus to NZ)

I just got across the ditch from sydney to opua left on the back of a small low with westerly 20kn out of sydney heading 085 m
The weather patterns this year have been insane!! Huge massive highs covering the entire continent of Australia with high pressure ridges extending to NZ.
A fantastic weather site is Isobar weather map for New Zealand - Marine Weather
I have found it excellent in passage planning.
If you can get down to Coffs then day three you can get into Lord Howe. There is a nice channel into the lagoon 31 31'S 159 02'E and pleasent achorage. Recommend no night entry or rough as channel is through reef. The fuel jetty is large and takes island traders alongside. Expensive!
Calculate and carry enough fuel to be able to motor for half way if needed. A good sea anchor is peace of mind for all tasman crossings recommend coppins W A Coppins - Award winning designers of Para Sea Anchors
In basic summary the further south the better Oct Nov Dec but given the weather this year to date go now.
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