This is a scan out of a press photo
, taken some years ago now, of the 365 foot long rail ferry
Aramoana going down the FACE of a big wave out in Cook Strait.
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These conditions are not at all unusual but in recent years due to passenger complaints the vessels either do not sail in the same conditions they used to or they give passengers the option of not going.
I am away on the boat at the moment but I have the full press photo
somewhere at home and I can assure doubters that the photo shows the vessel going down the face of the wave. There is also a painting taken from the photo in the Museum of Wellington, City and Sea.
There are also a number of videos on YouTube of vessels leaving Wellington Heads (do a search on there for "Suilven Wellington" for example). Those conditions are very common though. A few years back a big wavepiercing monohull ferry
bent its bows up in the air when it plowed into a wave that reared up in front of it out at the heads - couldn't pierce that one
I have had very little experience with sailing cats (but a lot with big fast power cats) so cannot add my own experience, but around the area I live they are not well regarded in our unsheltered waters - I only rely on the comments of some very experienced sailors who have sailed them in the area for that. From memory there are only 2 in our marina - new ones periodically appear but they soon get relocated across into the shelter of the inner Marlborough Sounds so that they do not have to regularly make the Strait passage
- I suspect a particular danger
to them are the very sudden changes in wind
speed we can get, from seemingly benign to 50-60 knots in a minute or so is not unusual and they bring us up all standing in a solid 40 foot cruising monohull
if we are not to be laid flat until we get down to heavy weather jib
Multihulls are also over represented, in respect to their numbers, in the losses between NZ and the South Pacific
Islands (from memory the last loss of any kind was a trimaran
, around 40 foot from memory and the crew of two were lost
, and the one previous was the crew were evacuated off an around 65 foot cat - both cruising vessels). But I think it has been many years now since a NZ registered sail boat of any kind has been lost
on that route
as they are all now required to comply with the IYRC Category 1 special rules for structure and fitout.
Note, I am not a cat knocker at all - I think they are the ideal solution for tropic and subtropic cruising where the conditions are benign in comparison.