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Old 08-11-2012, 15:28   #16
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Re: Tonga Storm

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Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post
Weather windows need to be carefully picked to improve your odds. We had a dream run from the Bay of Islands to Nuku'alofa in May one year.
I am not sure I remember right but what is the stretch? 1k Nm or so?

How far forward is a wx window valid? 48 hours or so?

A friend of ours sailed NZ to the islands and back 5 times without accidents! Another lost his lovely and (?) seaworthy double-ender there.

Every year (OK, maybe nearly every year) there are boats busted and lost on this passage.

Avoid, unless one is in a very strong, very seaworthy boat.

b.
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Old 08-11-2012, 15:36   #17
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Re: Tonga Storm

You will notice NZ is shaped like a yacht sailing north. The South Island is the mainsail and the North Island is the jib. The prevailing westerly wind spills around top and bottom and through Cook Strait and gales often turn up at weekly intervals.
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Old 08-11-2012, 16:00   #18
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Re: Tonga Storm

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Some think NZ is a tropical destination, sure.
First, my best wishes to the couple who were rescued. I hope they recover quickly from their injuries.



The Northern tip of NZ lies 650NM south of the Tropic of Capricorn - not just a little bit away from the tropics; a long way away from the tropics. Any sailors who think that NZ is a tropical destination haven't done much preparation or homework for their south pacific cruise. And, as has been mentioned the crossing between Tonga and NZ has claimed many scalps.
The South Pacific Ocean is a big body of water and some parts of it can be just as wild as the North Sea or Bay of Biscay.
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Old 08-11-2012, 16:42   #19
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Re: Tonga Storm

Here is a photo link to the Yacht Windigo.

http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/image...4497_yacht.jpg
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Old 08-11-2012, 17:01   #20
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Re: Tonga Storm

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First, my best wishes to the couple who were rescued. I hope they recover quickly from their injuries.



The Northern tip of NZ lies 650NM south of the Tropic of Capricorn - not just a little bit away from the tropics; a long way away from the tropics. Any sailors who think that NZ is a tropical destination haven't done much preparation or homework for their south pacific cruise. And, as has been mentioned the crossing between Tonga and NZ has claimed many scalps.
The South Pacific Ocean is a big body of water and some parts of it can be just as wild as the North Sea or Bay of Biscay.
I wonder if the best way to get to NZ is to drop south from the tropics into the Eastern Australian Current and then go ESE from Sydney? Might be easier to find a weather window in that area.
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Old 08-11-2012, 17:11   #21
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Re: Tonga Storm

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I wonder if the best way to get to NZ is to drop south from the tropics into the Eastern Australian Current and then go ESE from Sydney? Might be easier to find a weather window in that area.
most people leave tonga in october
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Old 08-11-2012, 17:34   #22
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Re: Tonga Storm

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Hmmm... 40kn and the boat rolled. From all the armchair sailors on the HMS Bounty thread, I thought that was supposed to be a walk in the park.
That part of the ocean seems to be huge at times, regardless of winds. There was a pitchpole out there earlier this year also....
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Old 08-11-2012, 18:08   #23
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Re: Tonga Storm

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it is! they probably did not have enough sail up to keep the boat moving.....

like a bicycle,if you dont have some speed you fall over
Tru dat! In 10m seas and 40kts, fatigue and fear set in and losing control is easy. Getting postioned with those seas from behind is too taxing to drive
Next is round up and knock down or the dreaded round down....

Have sailed from Mololo Island, Fiji to Bay of Islands in 2007. We made the 1000nm trip in 123 hours. Scary stetch of water...
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Old 08-11-2012, 18:14   #24
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Re: Tonga Storm

PAra anchor! Before the world got too crazy? Would that work?
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Old 08-11-2012, 18:20   #25
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Re: Tonga Storm

The thing is that following a direct line from Tonga to NZ you are running right over a huge underwater mountain range. Get away from that and I bet things are much better. Egret wrote about getting clobbered there on their journey across the South Pacific.
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Old 08-11-2012, 18:30   #26
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Re: Tonga Storm

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PAra anchor! Before the world got too crazy? Would that work?
Anticipation is very good juju. I would suggest to all who carry any kind of bow or stern devise to slow speed or hold ground, to PRACTICE deployment. First in moderate weather, next in 20+. Just getting this stuff in to the water is taxing and you can easily get fouled up and wonky quickly. Getting it right the first time is critical! It's not just 'pulling a cord' and you're set to ride out the conditions.

I'm a big believer for keeping your bow into big conditons. With max reefed main and low rpms many people can (drive) keep your boat's bow pointed 'up wind' and under control to ride out the weather. Too much speed off the wind and you're limited to the drivers aboard who can handle it.
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Old 08-11-2012, 18:50   #27
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Re: Tonga Storm

Each year around october + or - , more than 450 boats head to NZ from the South Pacific. Most find a decent weather window but some get caught. They try to get a window with only a minor front coming through during the passage.
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Old 08-11-2012, 18:53   #28
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Re: Tonga Storm

G'Day all,

I add my hopes that the affected yachts will survive, and that the rescued folks recover quickly.

However, this vile weather was well forecast. Below is an exerpt from Bob McDavitt's Weathergram from 4 November.

********************
Late Tuesday a tropical low is likely to form near Fiji and then deepen rapidly and move southeast across southern Tonga/Minerva possibly with gales and then go off the SSE. Avoid. It might earn itself a name as cyclone number 1 for the South Pacific season 2012/13.

SUBTROPICAL RIDGE STR

The new high crossing the Tasman One today should be held in place aloft and take all week to cross New Zealand. This offers a good opportunity to anyone wanting to sail to NZ – but those sailing from Tonga should already have left in order to escape the Wednesday Low.

NZ/Tasman Sea

Low is expected to form off Sydney on Friday 9 November and its trough should cross NZ on Monday/Tuesday 12/13 Nov.

SAILING TO NORTHERN NZ.

This week is probably the busiest of the year foe NZ arrivals, and we are having a high, so that’s good.

The hard weather is at your departure zone. If you are in Tonga you’ll now need to wait for that Wednesday low to blow through and the swells to settle again, maybe 10 November, so not this week. If you are in Brisbane the easterly winds are against you. If you are in New Caledonia then time your departure to make best use of the SW winds following the low crossing NZ on 12/13 November. If you are in Fiji there are many options.
********************

With this forecast, one questions leaving Tonga at the relevant time.

And yes, this passage can be taxing, and indeed there are boats lost or damaged while attempting it. On the other hand, some 400 or so boats clear into nZed every year, so it certainly can be done. We've only done it twice from the islands and once from Oz, but never experienced anything beyond mild gale force winds... but we are pretty patient about waiting for decent wx.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 08-11-2012, 20:55   #29
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Re: Tonga Storm

We all live and learn and from one who has made a fair number of mistakes, I look on this incident as a fair reminder about pushing the envelope. Have no idea of why this vessel found itself in this situation, but along with the loss of the yacht at Late Island in Tonga act as a reminder that even very experienced crews and very expensive vessels can be at the mercy of nature.

I've booked marked Bob mcDavits service, cheers Jim. Hope you will not be reading about me next year. Several years ago in one of the glossy Sailing Magazines, a letter to the editor took my eye. It was from a lady who had been cruising for 20 years travelled ????? of miles and as she said, her experiences will never get published as they never have had a life and death moment or a terrifying passage. Only sail in good weather, never set deadlines! Amen to that. As many have said great that this ended without the loss of life.
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Old 08-11-2012, 21:18   #30
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Re: Tonga Storm

[QUOTE
And yes, this passage can be taxing, and indeed there are boats lost or damaged while attempting it. On the other hand, some 400 or so boats clear into nZed every year, so it certainly can be done. We've only done it twice from the islands and once from Oz, but never experienced anything beyond mild gale force winds... but we are pretty patient about waiting for decent wx.

Cheers,

Jim[/QUOTE]

Great idea to pay the fee for routing services. At least share the expense with other cruisers. I used 'Commanders Weather' several times from LA en route to NZed if nothing more than a 3rd or 4th opinion. I have never been so proud not to get additonal weather info from many sources. With the weather predicted above, hard to figure why this yacht was not in any contact with others still in the Islands.. another lesson for cruisers. Share info!
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