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Old 18-06-2008, 03:06   #1
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COOK STRAIT Weather

A place only for mono's???


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A video of the M.V. Suilven, a “roll on roll off” (& cattle) cargo ferry negotiating into the Cook Strait passage. Note the puff's of black smoke coming from the stack that would indicate the increase of propulsion power to keep the bow into the waves (i.e. help avoid broaching). Also note the frequency & breaking of the waves, probably not something you'd want to deal with in a flipped multi.


Length: 283'
Gross tonnage: 3,638

Have negotiated these waters myself in smaller fishing vessels. Furthermore, Mr Alan Wheeler has done so in his full keel mono.

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best. Murphy's law is that whatever will go wrong will do so at the worst possible time.
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Old 18-06-2008, 03:09   #2
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he he he...

Egging on the crowd, huh?
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Old 18-06-2008, 03:37   #3
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The Roll-On/Roll-Off ship is one of the most commercially successful types operating today. Its flexibility, ability to integrate with other transport systems, and speed of operation have made it extremely popular on many shipping routes.

But despite its commercial success, there have been disturbing accidents involving different types of Ro-Ro ship; the worst being the sudden and catastrophic capsizing of the passenger/car ferry “Herald of Free Enterprise” in March 1987 and the even more tragic loss of the “Estonia** in September 1994.

The seagoing Ro-Ro car ferry, with large external doors close to the waterline, and open vehicle decks with few internal bulkheads, has a reputation for being a high risk design (to the point where the acronym is sometimes derisively expanded "Roll On/Roll Over".

* The roll-on/roll-off passenger ferry “Herald of Free Enterprise” capsized and sank shortly after leaving Zeebrugge in Belgium. The accident occurred because the bow door was left open when the ship left port allowing water to enter and flood the car deck. The accident resulted in the deaths of 193 passengers and crew members.

** The passenger Ro-Ro ship “Estonia” suddenly capsized, when the bow door was torn off by heavy seas, and the car deck flooded, in a severe storm in the north Baltic Sea, and sank with the loss of more than 900 lives. The sinking of the “Estonia” spurred renewed interest in the international maritime community to conduct a thorough assessment of RO/RO passenger ferry vessel operations, and the promulgation of new rules & operating procedures.
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Old 18-06-2008, 04:06   #4
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Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
The Roll-On/Roll-Off ship is one of the most commercially successful types operating today.
Its interesting you say that. From my understanding, this vessel was leased by some entrepreneurs to break the cargo transport monopoly across Strait (North / South Islands).

I've also got some photos of her bouncing around in the water when passing her through the Strait. However, the video is a much better example.

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Re ssullivan: Egging on the crowd, huh?
Who - me???
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Old 18-06-2008, 05:51   #5
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The bass straight crossing ferries (Melbourne to Tas) are of the same type. I always hope that their door closed, warning lights are working.....
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Old 18-06-2008, 09:00   #6
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wow. tuff seas.

And they seemed ot be pretty close together, makng the vessel pitch up and down a lot.

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Old 18-06-2008, 12:33   #7
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That was the video I posted in relation to my transit as well. It is Strait shippings Vessel and is one of the larger of the ships that transit the straight as Ferries.
The ship in the Video is very close to directly off the Karori rock light and is where the sea becomes the scareist for that area. Although it can be extreme from the Wellington heads across the bottom corner of the lower North Island.
Hey can anyone post a google Earth map of the area???
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Old 18-06-2008, 12:50   #8
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he he he...

Egging on the crowd, huh?
I remember that day well, there I was in my 40ft cat, auto pilot on (as it was a bit gusty outside) sitting in the saloon with a nice cup of freshly brewed coffee while we passed about 100 metres away from M.V. Suilven going in the other direction, we were playing Genga at the time.
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Old 18-06-2008, 15:15   #9
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Originally Posted by ireaney View Post
I remember that day well, there I was in my 40ft cat, auto pilot on (as it was a bit gusty outside) sitting in the saloon with a nice cup of freshly brewed coffee while we passed about 100 metres away from M.V. Suilven going in the other direction, we were playing Genga at the time.


Hmmm... now where are those multi boy's from Queensland... maybe the cat has got their tounge
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Old 18-06-2008, 15:33   #10
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Hey can anyone post a google Earth map of the area???
For those of you that don't know this area:

Karori light is at "A". It can get upto 7kts on a spring tide.

The plotted line (provided by google map) is the course the ferries take (although the course may be a bit too SW of Karori light).

On the east is "Breaker Bay", that's just inside the Wellington heads.

On the west is "Picton", where Mr Wheels is located.

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Old 18-06-2008, 16:46   #11
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My home waters -

The video was taken from the shore only just outside the entrance to Wellington harbour from the coastal drive rather than further west - the coastal drive only goes a short way westwards, it ends just under the "a" in Owhiro Bay in the Google Earth cut out given. Also, there were stills from the video on the shipping company's web site and were clearly identified as being at Wellington Harbour Heads.

I don't know the exact spot, have always intended driving along there to see if I can pick it from the rubbish bin , but my pick would be just west of Lyall Bay ie just to the west of the bay at the south end of the airport.

Much of the white water seen is actually the swells breaking in the shallows approaching the shore and foreshortened by the lens.
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Old 18-06-2008, 21:06   #12
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My home waters
G'day MidLandOne,

I grew up in Miramar (by the Airport).

I was actually wondering if the video was taken from the SE point of the airport runway? If driving around to breaker bay, there's a couple of points around that side where you can actually get out of your car & walk quite a distance on the shingle to the rocks (& sometimes some seals).

Edit: but if its claimed its off Karori light then I'll accept that.
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Old 18-06-2008, 22:32   #13
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I thought the light was on the end of that tip closer along toward the Harbour entrance. It looks very different on Google. Where "A" is, I would have thought was Terawhiti reach. However, whatever it all actually is doesn't really matter, the entire area is a nightmare.
By the way, just for the folks that have no idea of this area. The water depth to the south is around 7500ft and rises to around 600ft further i the straight. So add that to exfishnz's comment about tide and you will get a good idea of the volume of water trying to squeeze through the gap of Cook straight and why we get the sea's through there that can occur.
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Old 18-06-2008, 23:03   #14
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Where "A" is on the Google cutout, is the rock with the old now long unused Karori light on it (although I think the "A" is a bit too far out to sea) - the present light is directly onshore on Tongue Point. The point closer to Wellington is Sinclair Head.

Exfishnz I also wondered about SE of the Airport runway but thought that all the rocks to seawards there would show up if so, but I may be mistaken - while I have often sailed past there it is years since I have driven the road on shore. I was picking the flatter area between Lyall Bay and Island Bay but at the eastern end of that area. But certainly, the video is of Suilven departing the Heads.

As Alan says, the whole area right around to Cape Terawhiti (SW tip if North Island) is a nightmare and unpredictable in all of wind, seas and current. Tides can run at unpredictable times and speeds. We have gone through in light 15-20 knot winds and the rips have been really standing up like being in a washing machine but on other times been through in 40-60 knots (on 15-25 knot forecasts ) and no problems from the seas at all . A young girl did it in an Optimist dinghy last week - not through but straight across.

My father, now long deceased, was in the navy and told me that on one occasion the cruiser he was on was physically rotated by the eddying currents.

But it has its good points, the albatrosses love the area from around Karori thru to The Brothers due to the winds accelerating through the only gap in the long land barrier to the prevailing westerlies and often put on a good show, especially as winter draws near, and plenty of other smaller soaring and flapping type seabirds around.
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Old 18-06-2008, 23:20   #15
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I thought the light was on the end of that tip closer along toward the Harbour entrance. It looks very different on Google. Where "A" is, I would have thought was Terawhiti reach. However, whatever it all actually is doesn't really matter, the entire area is a nightmare.
By the way, just for the folks that have no idea of this area. The water depth to the south is around 7500ft and rises to around 600ft further i the straight. So add that to exfishnz's comment about tide and you will get a good idea of the volume of water trying to squeeze through the gap of Cook straight and why we get the sea's through there that can occur.
Hi Allan,

Perhaps this may assist us, I just scanned* NZ46 1994-249. I had to do some cropping & compression to get it under 1600px & 400kb but its readable. The chart "notes" state that the Karori rip will exceed beyond as marked during spring tides.

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* Don't know why I lugged my charts to West Island, but glad I did now
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