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Old 02-12-2013, 18:31   #1
DtM
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Sydney to Noumea, 2014

We are seriously considering spending a good portion of next winter in Noumea. not sure yet on dates but sailing there in May/June and coming home in August/September/October.

Is anyone else thinking of going to Noumea about the same time?

Any tips would be gratefully received.

Sail safe.

daniel
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Old 26-02-2014, 16:11   #2
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Re: Sydney to Noumea, 2014

We are doing a similar trip but departing Brisbane bound for Santo, Vanuatu in May. The predominant wind is from the SE.

I haven't sailed this passage but through my reading it is recommended that if heading to Noumea the departure point should be as far south as possible. Many say Coffs Harbour provides the best angle. Our course will be almost parallel but heading over the top of New Cal. As you move your departure point further north you will have an increase chance of getting some upwind sailing. Good luck and have a great trip.
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Old 03-03-2014, 03:00   #3
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Re: Sydney to Noumea, 2014

Hi Daniel,

I am planning to sail from east coast Australia to the SP islands in May this year. Although I've sailed around the south pacific quite a bit, I haven't sailed from Australia to the islands before.

My preliminary planning is to depart from either Port Jackson or Coffs Harbour on the back of a low that is moving eastwards below my departure point. I'm hoping this will give me at least a couple of days W/SW wind and I can make good easting before the wind backs to SE/E and I have to turn NE. I'm planing to sail close to Middleton reef and if the forecast at that stage has too much E in the wind I'll anchor there until it looks like I can make land fall in Anatom (Vanuatu) or at least Noumea.

We should keep in contact and even if we don't depart at the same time, whoever goes first can give some feedback to whoever goes second.

Barrie
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Old 03-03-2014, 14:54   #4
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Re: Sydney to Noumea, 2014

Hi Barrie,

Your plan sounds like the more travelled route to Vanuatu. I remember reading a blog of a couple with a bluewater 42? that had plenty of good advice for making landfall at Noumea departing Coffs Harbour. If you are leaving early in May you may find yourself checking in with the Island cruising associations vanuatu rally. See http://islandcruising.co.nz for details. We will be heading south from Santo about the 18th May for arrival in Port villa on the 23rd.

Here is a blog that has the Coffs to noumea leg

http://geminiladyblog.wordpress.com/...ledonia-part1/


Have you any must see spots for Vanuatu or Fiji you would like to share with us?

Thanks
Jim
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Old 03-03-2014, 18:10   #5
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Re: Sydney to Noumea, 2014

Hi Jim,

Thanks for the info. I'll probably leave a little later so I miss the ICA group. Anatom is a small island with a very small village and one guy who is police/customs/quarantine/immigration.

Must see spots, well it's a personal preference thing of course but I'll tell you what I like and dislike. I haven't spent much time in Vanuatu north of Efate, so from there south...
I like Port Vila, for a capital city it has one of the cleanest harbours around. Restaurants along the waterfront are expensive but markets are good and cheap.
The volcano on Tanna is certainly a must see. There's a good anchorage at Port Resolution and the locals run daily tours up to the rim of the volcano where you can see down into the vents that are throwing up huge showers of glowing red lava 100's of metres into the air. It's a good idea to monitor whether you are down wind of the volcano...even 50 nm away it will cover your boat inside and out with ash.
Anatom I mentioned.

In Fiji, most visiting yacht go to the area west of Vitu Levu...Musket Cove probably the most popular anchorage and the Yasawa group the most visited. As an anchorage I prefer Savusavu on Vanua Levu and the less visited Lau group. Suva is a place people seem to love or hate, cruisers mostly in the latter group. Harbour is one of the dirtiest, has a good yacht club, has strong (Indian driven) business activity, cheapest prices in SP.

If you have ssb, there's a "good" radio net based in Fiji covering the area between Vanuatu and Tonga..."Rag of the Air" 19:00 UTC on 8,173 kHz. It's run by a couple of old eccentric now land based sailors...Jim on Orcu Is. (northern Fiji) and Curly in Savusavu. The reason for the "good" is that you have to enjoy the informal ramblings of the net.

Barrie
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Old 03-03-2014, 19:01   #6
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Re: Sydney to Noumea, 2014

FWIW,

We have made the passage from Oz to NC/Vanuatu many times. We have started from Sydney, Coffs, Southport and Moreton Bay. Our favorite has been Southport to Noumea. While leaving from ports further south gives one a slightly better angle with the SE trades, it leads you through the area where cut-off lows form and where a lot of seamounts litter the bottom. That combination gave us the worst sea conditions that we have ever encountered, around 50 miles north of Lord Howe Is. Further, if you experience a frontal passage en route, the farther north you are the weaker the front tends to be.

Our scheme is to wait in Southport until there is a low forming in the Tasman. This will usually give you at least two days of W'ly quadrant winds, and this allows one to get a good deal of easting (heading due East). As the wind backs toward the SE, one then sails direct for Boulari, usually on a beam to close reach. This has given us several very nice passages. We usually don't go until later in the year... July or August... because it is still fairly "wintery" in NC earlier on, but the method works for us. On one memorable passage, we had winds aft of the beam from Southport around Torch Bank (just south of Il de Pins) where we turned NE to fetch Vila... and the wind backed to the SE at the same time. We hardly had to touch the sheets.

Hope that you all have equally good passages! We will likely be heading that way sometime in the winter, but our plans, as always, are writ in the sand at low tide.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 04-03-2014, 02:27   #7
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Re: Sydney to Noumea, 2014

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
FWIW,

We have made the passage from Oz to NC/Vanuatu many times. We have started from Sydney, Coffs, Southport and Moreton Bay. Our favorite has been Southport to Noumea. While leaving from ports further south gives one a slightly better angle with the SE trades, it leads you through the area where cut-off lows form and where a lot of seamounts litter the bottom. That combination gave us the worst sea conditions that we have ever encountered, around 50 miles north of Lord Howe Is. Further, if you experience a frontal passage en route, the farther north you are the weaker the front tends to be.

Our scheme is to wait in Southport until there is a low forming in the Tasman. This will usually give you at least two days of W'ly quadrant winds, and this allows one to get a good deal of easting (heading due East). As the wind backs toward the SE, one then sails direct for Boulari, usually on a beam to close reach. This has given us several very nice passages. We usually don't go until later in the year... July or August... because it is still fairly "wintery" in NC earlier on, but the method works for us. On one memorable passage, we had winds aft of the beam from Southport around Torch Bank (just south of Il de Pins) where we turned NE to fetch Vila... and the wind backed to the SE at the same time. We hardly had to touch the sheets.

Hope that you all have equally good passages! We will likely be heading that way sometime in the winter, but our plans, as always, are writ in the sand at low tide.

Cheers,

Jim
Hi Jim,

Good to meet you again, on a different thread this time.

After I read your comments about seamounts I got my paper chart out and took a look at my planned route....until then I've just been looking on my electronic charts that don't always show seamounts. My chart doesn't show anything at all rising from the sea floor on a route from Coffs passing 30 nm north of Middleton reef and then just south of New Cal. It does show a bunch of stuff rising from the seafloor about 120nm east of Southport...Queensland and Britannia seamounts. You mentioned a particularly bad area 50 nm north of Lord Howe...again my chart shows that clear of seamounts with a depth of around 2,200m? The only thing I can see coming out of Coffs is Derwent Hunter seamount about 200nm ESE of Coffs, about half way on a direct route to Lord Howe...I'm planning to be well north of that.

Let me know if I'm missing something here?

Cheers
Barrie
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Old 04-03-2014, 16:47   #8
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Re: Sydney to Noumea, 2014

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Originally Posted by Cruisin Cat View Post
Hi Jim,

Good to meet you again, on a different thread this time.

After I read your comments about seamounts I got my paper chart out and took a look at my planned route....until then I've just been looking on my electronic charts that don't always show seamounts. My chart doesn't show anything at all rising from the sea floor on a route from Coffs passing 30 nm north of Middleton reef and then just south of New Cal. It does show a bunch of stuff rising from the seafloor about 120nm east of Southport...Queensland and Britannia seamounts. You mentioned a particularly bad area 50 nm north of Lord Howe...again my chart shows that clear of seamounts with a depth of around 2,200m? The only thing I can see coming out of Coffs is Derwent Hunter seamount about 200nm ESE of Coffs, about half way on a direct route to Lord Howe...I'm planning to be well north of that.

Let me know if I'm missing something here?

Cheers
Barrie
G'Day Barrie,

Well, in fact you are correct in that there are no named seamounts in that area. There is a ridge, there is LH itself, there are the two reef systems to the north and I dunno, the sea state was just way worse than the 40 to 50 sustained that we were experiencing there would usually produce. We had the situation of a N'ly quadrant gale/storm combined with a big S'ly swell which didn't help anything.

If you leave from Coffs you should do fine if you choose a good bit of wx... we did ok the time we chose that route. Coffs has the advantage of the Customs office being right there in the marina complex, and good provisioning resources nearby. It has (IMO) the disadvantage of being a lousy anchorage and a very poorly maintained marina... one that is distinctly dangerous in a NE gale. Thus if a protracted wait period (seeking good wx for departure) is required, Coffs fails our suitability test as a departure point! It is really too bad that Yamba/Iluka is not a customs port for departure, for it would be a great choice.

None the less, if we decide to go to NC this year, we will most likely depart from Southport.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 05-03-2014, 00:25   #9
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Re: Sydney to Noumea, 2014

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G'Day Barrie,

Well, in fact you are correct in that there are no named seamounts in that area. There is a ridge, there is LH itself, there are the two reef systems to the north and I dunno, the sea state was just way worse than the 40 to 50 sustained that we were experiencing there would usually produce. We had the situation of a N'ly quadrant gale/storm combined with a big S'ly swell which didn't help anything.

If you leave from Coffs you should do fine if you choose a good bit of wx... we did ok the time we chose that route. Coffs has the advantage of the Customs office being right there in the marina complex, and good provisioning resources nearby. It has (IMO) the disadvantage of being a lousy anchorage and a very poorly maintained marina... one that is distinctly dangerous in a NE gale. Thus if a protracted wait period (seeking good wx for departure) is required, Coffs fails our suitability test as a departure point! It is really too bad that Yamba/Iluka is not a customs port for departure, for it would be a great choice.

None the less, if we decide to go to NC this year, we will most likely depart from Southport.

Cheers,

Jim
Thanks for the info on Coffs Jim. I've never been there so good to know.

In the islands, when I'm ready to go I sometimes clear out then anchor somewhere and wait for good sailing weather...I know you're not supposed to but it does make departures a lot easier in a situation like you described at Coffs and nobody seems to check whether you're cleared in or out. I guess I could clear out at Coffs then wait at Yamba.

Somebody told me that you're not allowed to live aboard your boat at anchor in NSW...do you know if that's correct?

Cheers
Barrie
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Old 05-03-2014, 16:24   #10
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Re: Sydney to Noumea, 2014

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Originally Posted by Cruisin Cat View Post
Thanks for the info on Coffs Jim. I've never been there so good to know.

In the islands, when I'm ready to go I sometimes clear out then anchor somewhere and wait for good sailing weather...I know you're not supposed to but it does make departures a lot easier in a situation like you described at Coffs and nobody seems to check whether you're cleared in or out. I guess I could clear out at Coffs then wait at Yamba.

Somebody told me that you're not allowed to live aboard your boat at anchor in NSW...do you know if that's correct?

Cheers
Barrie
Barrie, many folks do the clear out and wait thing in the islands, and the official attitude towards this practice varies between nations. Australia is pretty serious about clearance issues, and I wouldn't suggest following your Coffs/Yamba scheme. The downsides if caught are pretty severe, and there are a lot of eyes looking out for unusual activities!

As to living aboard in NSW... it is hard to nail down the overall rule, and I believe that there are large variations in local interpretation. It is my observation that there are numerous folks doing it, and we have done so ourselves for years. However, we seldom stay in one place very long, and we are US flagged, so are perhaps ignored. I would suggest that keeping a low profile, avoiding places with a high official scrutiny level, and moving about some will increase your chances of success.

I have noticed that for some reason hanging laundry out on your boat raises landlubbers hackles, and is actually illegal in the Port of Brisbane, so do avoid that (to me innocuous) habit.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 08-04-2014, 00:09   #11
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Re: Sydney to Noumea, 2014

Hi All,
Some great tips on here.
I'm a 28 year old surfer, kite surfer sailor with own boat.

I'm leaving Sydney 11th of May (Weather permitting), Leaving Brisbane or perhaps Coffs early June to make passage to New Caledonia where crew will leave boat.

I'm looking for one or two crew to help me get the boat to New Caledonia. Crew must have proven offshore experience, be able to navigate, not get seasick, be able to purchase own ticket out of Noumea New Caledonia, pay for own food and meet in Sydney before leaving.

All boat costs including mooring and fuel on me.

Please let me know if anyone springs to mind.
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Old 08-04-2014, 02:33   #12
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Re: Sydney to Noumea, 2014

I'm looking for someone to crew with me to Vanuatu about the same time. Have you tried www.findacrew.net ?
Good luck!
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Old 19-04-2014, 04:58   #13
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Re: Sydney to Noumea, 2014

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
FWIW,

We have made the passage from Oz to NC/Vanuatu many times. We have started from Sydney, Coffs, Southport and Moreton Bay. Our favorite has been Southport to Noumea. While leaving from ports further south gives one a slightly better angle with the SE trades, it leads you through the area where cut-off lows form and where a lot of seamounts litter the bottom. That combination gave us the worst sea conditions that we have ever encountered, around 50 miles north of Lord Howe Is. Further, if you experience a frontal passage en route, the farther north you are the weaker the front tends to be.

Our scheme is to wait in Southport until there is a low forming in the Tasman. This will usually give you at least two days of W'ly quadrant winds, and this allows one to get a good deal of easting (heading due East). As the wind backs toward the SE, one then sails direct for Boulari, usually on a beam to close reach. This has given us several very nice passages. We usually don't go until later in the year... July or August... because it is still fairly "wintery" in NC earlier on, but the method works for us. On one memorable passage, we had winds aft of the beam from Southport around Torch Bank (just south of Il de Pins) where we turned NE to fetch Vila... and the wind backed to the SE at the same time. We hardly had to touch the sheets.

Hope that you all have equally good passages! We will likely be heading that way sometime in the winter, but our plans, as always, are writ in the sand at low tide.

Cheers,

Jim
Jim,
I'm thinking about leaving from Southport as you suggest but I can't find any customs clearance listed there.
Can you clear out of Southport?
Barrie
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Old 19-04-2014, 22:09   #14
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Re: Sydney to Noumea, 2014

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Jim,
I'm thinking about leaving from Southport as you suggest but I can't find any customs clearance listed there.
Can you clear out of Southport?
Barrie
As of three years ago there was no problem with it. The official "Port of Brisbane" extends down to Southport. You need to inform Customs in Brissie a few days ahead of your proposed departure and set a tentative time/day. This can be amended (and we frequently have done so). I think the chaps (or lassies) enjoy a day out of the office, for they have always been smiling when they arrived!

The Southport YC has been generous in letting us use an empty berth for a couple of hours for the clearance process... just give them a call.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 19-04-2014, 23:44   #15
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Re: Sydney to Noumea, 2014

Thanks Jim
I'll give Brisbane customs a call next week
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