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Old 24-11-2009, 22:26   #1
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Thumbs up Crossing the Tasman

I've just come from Bali to Dampier, Western Australia as a passenger on a 50ft catamaran. It was one of the most exhilirating and rewarding experiences of my life.

The next mission is to try to get a passage from the East coast of Australia to New Zealand. I'm pretty flexible about when to go - I just need to be in NZ by mid Feb. I don't know much about this passage, just that it's generally pretty damm rough.

I'm registered on Find a Crew™, but there's not a lot of boats listed. I'll post on the boards here, but my other plan is I'm thinking of contacting a lot of the marinas where people might be leaving from and just asking, sending posters to put up. Does anyone know:

a) How common this voyage is this time of year?
b) Where I can find a list of the main cruising destinations/ entry/exit ports in NSW and Queensland - so I know which marinas to contact.

Also any details about the best route to take this time of year would be cool. Will cyclones be coming far enough south to be a problem? Will skippers be heading as far north as possible to avoid the roaring forties?

And what's the smallest vessel you personally would be happy doing this generally pretty rough passage in?

So many questions!
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Old 24-11-2009, 22:47   #2
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If you are not pushed for time and you pick a good window, it's not as tricky a crossing as might be suggested. This time of year (Dec-Feb) you'll get some nice big stable anti-cyclones sitting over the Tasman and there should be plenty of boats coming across. Yes you'll get the occasional cyclone dipping down around the North Cape if you're coming around to Auckland, but you can generally wait it out off the west coast, or head for New Plymouth if necessary.

Jessica Watson skippered this crossing (Sunshine Coast to Whangarei) in Dec/Jan of this year as a 15 year old in a 34ft Sweden and had no issues aside from periods of light air.
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Old 27-11-2009, 16:37   #3
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Hi there, I've made this passage twice; once in Feb and the other in April. Both were rough trips, particularly April.

I feel it worthy to note that here really is not much on west side of New Zealand other than New Plymouth. Oh there is Manukau, but can be tricky.

Good luck in finding passage and have fun.

Cheers, PJ
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Old 05-12-2009, 21:00   #4
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Thanks Paradix and Pacific Jewel for the information and encouragement. How rough was it when you crossed, PJ?

I've found the customs ports of entry online here Customs Ports of Entry and, you're right, PJ, there isn't much on the West coast where one can legally enter NZ. But it would be possible to find places to shelter from heavy weather without landing, right. Raglan or Golden Bay near Nelson come to mind.

Manukau doesn't feature on the list of ports of entry - although maybe it's counted under 'Auckland'? is it customs stuff or geographical considerations that makes it difficult?

As far as ports of entry, on the West Coast, Nelson could be a good option though as well as New Plymouth, though, no?

And for the record, once a yachtie told me to google search for 'ports of clearance' I found this great website which helped with details of international marinas in New South Wales and Queensland. I'm gonna contact those marinas for leads.

I'll keep you posted!
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Old 06-12-2009, 00:22   #5
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We crossed two Handed Launceston to Nelson early March, 8.5 days never saw more than 30 knots, it was my wifes first offshore passage so made sure I picked a good window
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Old 06-12-2009, 15:07   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moomintroll View Post
Manukau doesn't feature on the list of ports of entry - although maybe it's counted under 'Auckland'? is it customs stuff or geographical considerations that makes it difficult?
Manukau is shallow with strong tides and a nasty bar. Having said that, plenty of boats go in and out of there, but local knowledge is key. It is a port of entry - you'll see it listed as Onehunga.
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Old 08-12-2009, 01:16   #7
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First, Nelson is on the north side of the south island. I assumed you were wanting to make landfall in the north island?? Perhaps not. Places to clear customs in the north island are: Opua, Whangarei, Auckland, Wellington. Not familiar with any other ports for you to check in here. I would imagine you'd want to check in at Opua, the closest port on this crossing. Raglan is not a place to check in, nor a place to head for. Manakau has a wicked bar. Don't go there.

How rough was our crossing? Rough. Very rough. Although, having said this, the trip in Feb had 2 nice days of running. But the rest was rough. The trip in April was just plain nasty. I've done alot of heavy weather sailing. We just got caught in a bad system that was prolonged 10 days. I'm sure there are tales of fine sailing here, but it is a hit or miss thing. I would not recommend this leg if you're hoping to sip pina coladas off the back deck!

All the best to you.
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Old 09-12-2009, 13:33   #8
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+1 on everything Pacific Jewel has just said. Only to add that New Plymouth is also a point of entry of course. If you can hold out until April there is a short-handed race from New Plymouth to Mooloolaba (Sunshine Coast), after which there may well be NZ boats looking for crew for the crossing back to New Zealand.

Solo Trans-Tasman Yacht Race

People sometimes forget how big New Zeland is (roughly the same land area as Britain and longer from tip to tip) - it's not like you can just decide on a whim to head for Nelson because it's too rough around the top of the North Island. The distance from North Cape to Nelson is roughly half the distance across the Tasman...
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Old 09-12-2009, 18:18   #9
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Thanks again folks for helping out a newbie here...

First, one more question

Are there any good (free?) sites I can keep an eye on the wind and wave forecasts for the Tasman myself?

About navigation, I've got a clearer idea now, thanks. I do come from NZ myself, but understanding it through the eyes of a yachtsman is a different thing.

About the weather conditions, I should have probably explained a little more to start with - I'm not looking for sunbathing time on the back deck (although that can be nice!) I'm looking for passage for three reasons - 1) a love of the wild ocean 2) personal development 3) a way to get home to NZ without flying. (I've got from the UK to Canberra so far) So uncomfortable will be ok, but I don't have a death wish - too much risk is not ok. How much is too much... hmmmmm!

Adding to these is the fact that I'll be trusting a captain and a boat I don't really know - which is why I'm trying to get as much info as possible about this voyage.

I've phoned a few marinas and Cammeray in Sydney seems to have a few leads about possible voyages coming up.

Cheers again.
Ewan
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Old 09-12-2009, 18:28   #10
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I 've crossed that bit of water 13 times now. It haas the potential to be nasty, but I have had a couple of easy trips.
I wouldn't consider any of the west coast harbours, even New Plymouth has eaten the odd sailboat. North Cape to Opua , or Nelson.
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Old 09-12-2009, 18:29   #11
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Weather try metvuw .com
for crew opportunites go to Crew.org.nz
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Old 10-12-2009, 11:48   #12
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You could try passageweather.com too.
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