Fleetweather have just delivered another forecast and one that while not ideal, does meet our requirements for a safe (that doesn’t mean comfortable) passage across the Tasman Sea. I have attached the actual forecast below so that those who want to read it, can.
Based on the forecast we will now alter our original departure course from 090T to 109T as per Fleetweather’s suggestion as we head SE for 36S/160E as per option 1 as stated in Fleetweather’s forecast. This will hopefully see us remain within the high pressure cell for much of the trip. Option 2 as suggested by Fleetweather has been discounted due to increase in passage time by approx. 4.2 days (800nms). Below is a forecast map from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology which clearly shows the high pressure cell (in blue) that Pendana is trying to stay within.
As it stands right now we are going to head for Sydney Harbour tomorrow (Monday 10th) departing Broken Bay around 3pm for the 35nm short trip. We plan to spend the afternoon relaxing at anchor in either Farm Cove right next to the iconic Sydney Opera House (see photo ‘a’) or Athol Bay which is directly in front of Sydney’s equally famous Zoo (bay lies opposite Farm cove).
The following day (Tuesday 11th) at around 7am David Coulter and the boys from Sea Service Diving & Marine will come to our anchorage and clean the bottom of Pendana’s hull. All vessels headed to New Zealand must depart place of origin with a clean hull as part of New Zealand’s bio security rules. We will then steam the short distance under the Sydney Harbour Bridge to Baileys fuel depot in White Bay (see photo ‘b’) where Australian Customs will clear Pendana and where we will fill Pendana’s fuel tanks with (tax free) diesel so that we have full tanks for the trip. It never ceases to amaze me how differently Pendana handles and sits in the water with the extra fuel on board. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised as adding an extra 8-10T of weight to the boat will always have an impact. Once fuelled up we plan to depart Sydney Harbour and exit the north/south heads at around 12 noon (Tuesday 11th December) as per Fleetweathers suggestion (see photo ‘c’).
The crew for the trip will be my charming wife Claire, our two children Abi (age 12yrs) and Bianca (age 8yrs) and all round nice guy Mark James and of course, myself. Mark James is a professional mariner and always our number one choice for longer passages as neither my wife or I enjoy the idea of a rotating, four hours on four hours off, watch cycles, as such, on longer passages we always take on another crew member so that we can run a four on eight hour off rotating watch cycle.
For Pendana to have the services and access to a man of Captain Mark James’ ability, knowledge and experience is not only a huge benefit but also brings a certain degree of comfort to those aboard and while I am acting as Captain in every sense for this voyage its great to have Mark there if it all starts going not as planned!
Photo below Mark (RHS) and I, aboard Pendana.
Mark is not only a great teacher and enthusiastic spokesperson for the marine industry he is also extremely well qualified and has travelled to all parts of the world via private yacht. Mark was formally one of two rotation Captains aboard a US Yacht ‘Happy Days’ and while ‘Happy days’ is certainly a lovely looking vessel she is not as pretty as Pendana! Well, that’s what I keep telling him anyway.
I must say that I do feel a little sorry for Mark as he has just delivered the 25M Tug Samantha (see photo below), from Gladstone Queensland to Darwin in the Northern Territory only arriving in Darwin in the wee hours of this morning after being at sea for ten days. As such, spending a quiet night at Anchor in Sydney Harbour on Monday 10th will at least give Mark a chance to draw breath and relax as I have no doubt the Tasman Sea will be a very different journey from the one he has just had, which by all accounts, was one in which the seas were as flat as glass!
The Watch Schedule:
0600 – 1000 Claire & Abi
1000-1400 James & Bianca
1800-2200 Claire & Abi
2200-0200 James & Bianca
Pendana will be running a three by four hour shift, which basically means each crew member is running a traditional four hours on, eight hours off watch schedule.
Just a reminder that there is a plethora of information available on the www.pendana.net main website regarding our preparation for this passage including but not limited to,Course and Trip Time, Getting Pendana Ready, Disaster at Sea, Weather & Routing, Clearing Customs, Communication, Insurance, Sea Anchor, Food & Provisions including shopping list, Medical Kits including contents, Ditch Bag/s including contents and on and on it goes. So please visit www.pendana.net if you are interested in reading more.
As you can imagine the excitement in the Pendana camp is building to fever pitch, although probably not true for my 12 year old daughter who still doesn’t get why we are not flying, poor baby. Hopefully when we reach landfall in New Zealand it will all become crystal clear for her. I must confess one thing I am not happy about is putting my poor dog, Caesar The Magnificent into his holiday home for a period of approx. 5-6weeks. Caesar is still a bit young for the boat and weighing in at 55kgs would find it near impossible to navigate the stairway and stairs, as such, his fate is sealed and will be delivered to his holiday camp tomorrow at 9am.
I have had some lovely comments from readers wishing us all well and for a safe passage so thank you to everyone who has posted or emailed me directly as it is great to know there is so much support and interest in the trip.
Fingers crossed this time tomorrow we will be anchored up in Farm Cove or Athol Bay (see photo below) ready to take on the mighty Tasman!
FLEETWEATHER FORECAST BELOW.
TO: JAMES ELLINGFORD – M/Y PENDANA
FM: FLEETWEATHER OCEAN SERVICES
FRONTAL BOUNDARY ACROSS S’RN TASMAN SEA WILL PROGRESS EAST ACROSS TASMAN SEA REACHING LINE FROM JUST WEST OF SOUTH ISLAND NW’WARD TO BRISBANE NEAR 10/00Z, THEN CONTINUE EAST AND ERODE. HIGH JUST SOUTHWEST OF GREAT AUSTRALIAN BIGHT WILL BUILD ESE’WARD, PASSING TASMANIA NIGHT 09TH THEN DRIFTING EAST, STALLING OVER CORAL SEA THRU 10TH BEFORE DRIFTING GRADUALLY EAST ACROSS CENTRAL TASMAN SEA ALONG APPROX 39S THRU THE 12TH. HIGH WILL THEN WEAKEN DRIFT EAST INTO FAR E’RN TASMAN SEA, STALLING JUST WEST OF S’RN NORTH ISLAND BY MIDDAY 14TH. IN LONGER-RANGE, HIGH WILL FURTHER WEAKEN 15TH-16TH AS ANOTHER HIGH DEVELOPS EAST OF NORTH ISLAND, STATIONARY 14TH-16TH.
ELSEWHERE, LONG-RANGE FORECAST DATA SUGGEST A BROAD/COMPLEX AREA OF LOW PRESSURE WILL DEVELOP, MONSOONAL IN NATURE, WITH AXIS FROM JUST NORTHEAST OF FIJI TO JUST NORTH SOLOMON ISLANDS, ON THE 10TH-11TH. MONSOONAL DEPRESSION WILL THEN GRADUALLY DEEPEN IN STRENGTH THRU THE 14TH, WITH MULTIPLE LOW PRESSURE CENTERS EMBEDDED WITHIN REGION, TENDING TO MIGRATE FROM EAST TO WEST. ASSOCIATED CYCLONIC CIRCULATION FROM THIS MONSOONAL ACTIVITY WILL GRADUALLY EXPAND INTO N’RN CORAL SEA BY 13TH, PERSISTING AND STRENGTHENING VERY SLOWLY ACROSS N’RN AND CENTRAL CORAL SEA THRU THE 15TH.
*** LOOKING AT LONG-RANGE WEATHER PATTERN, BEST TIMING FOR DEPARTURE, REGARDLESS OF ROUTE CHOSEN, IS TO LEAVE AROUND NOON LT 11TH FROM SYDNEY, AS NO BETTER WINDOW FOR DEPARTURE IS EXPECTED TO DEVELOP THRU THE 14TH.
FOR DEPARTURE NEAR NOON 11TH LT, RECOMMEND RL-NORTH CAPE, DIRECT-OPUA/AUCKLAND AS CONDITIONS AND SAFE NAVIGATION PERMIT, IF CAN HANDLE RELATIVELY BRIEF RE-INCREASE EXPECTED IN HEAD WINDS FINAL 24-48 HOURS TILL REACH N’RN NEW ZEALAND.
FOR ABOVE DEPARTURE/ROUTE:
WINDS ESE-SE’LY 10-18KTS THRU 12/00Z, SE-ESE’LY 12-20KTS THRU 13/00Z, VEER ESE-ENE’LY 13-21KTS AND GUSTY THRU 14/00Z, NE-ENE’LY 14-23KTS AND GUSTY TO OPUA.
WIND-DRIVEN SEAS 2-4FT THRU 13/00Z, 3-4FT THRU 14/00Z, 3-5FT TO OPUA.
SWELLS SE-ESE 3-6FT THRU 12/00Z, ESE-SE 2-4FT MIXING WITH LONG-PERIOD SSW-SW SETS 4-6FT THRU 13/00Z, ESE-SE MIXING WITH LONG-PERIOD SSW-SW SETS 3-5FT OCNL 6FT THRU 14/00Z, BUILD E-ENE 5-8FT (PSBL BRF 9FT JUST OFF NORTH CAPE) TO ABEAM NORTH CAPE QUICKLY LOWERING NE-ESE 7-4FT TO OPUA.
SKIES PARTLY TO, AT TIMES, MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH ISOLATED SHWRS/T-STORMS PSBL FROM TIME TO TIME THRU 13/12Z, THEN GENERALLY PARTLY CLOUDY TO OPUA.
**WINDS/SEAS MAY BE LOCALLY HIGHER IN/NEAR ANT T-STORMS.**
** NOTE: IF ABOVE CONDITIONS ARE DEEMED TOO MUCH TO HANDLE, YOU HAVE TWO FURTHER ROUTING OPTIONS:
1. RL TO A WAYPOINT FURTHER SOUTH, IE 36S/160E, THEN DIRECT-NORTH CAPE, DIRECT-OPUA/AUCKLAND THIS ROUTE ALLOWS FOR VESSEL TO TRANSIT CLOSER TO HIGH PRESSURE CENTER IN LIGHTER ADVERSE CONDITIONS MUCH OF THE TRIP. AS APPROACH NORTH CAPE, ENHANCED ENE-NE’LY WINDS/SEAS WOULD BE UNAVOIDABLE STILL (THOUGH TEND A BIT LESS THAN ABOVE UNTIL FINAL 6-12 HOURS APPROACHING NORTH CAPE).
2. RL TO COOK STRAIT, DIRECT-AUCKLAND (CAN BUNKER IN WELLINGTON IF NEED BE). THIS WILL PLACE YOU INTO BY FAR THE BEST POSSIBLE WEATHER ENROUTE, CLOSER TO HIGH PRESSURE CENTER MUCH OF TRIP WITHOUT BUILDING HEAD SEAS, IN GENERALLY LIGHT CONDITIONS WITH NO HEAVY SWELL AT ALL TOO COOK STRAIT. THIS TRIP LOOKS GOOD TILL AT LEAST COOK STRAIT, AND LONGER-RANGE FORECAST DATA SUGGEST WITH HIGH PRESSURE AREAS STATIONARY AND MONSOONAL LOW DEEPENING BUT NOT MAKING SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS, ADVERSE WIND WOULD BE LIGHT THEREAFTER (LIKELY GENTLE TO MODERATE BREEZES WITH PERHAPS A FEW FRESH BREEZES ALONG CAPES OF E’RN NORTH ISLAND). ONLY DISADVANTAGE TO THIS ROUTE IS OBVIOUSLY MUCH MORE STEAMING DISTANCE.
PLEASE ADVISE YOUR THOUGHTS ON ABOVE AND WHEN WOULD LIKE NEXT FORECAST (SUGGEST WE SEND NEXT ONE PRIOR TO DEPARTURE IN ABOUT 48 HOURS OR SO, IF YOU AGREE TO LEAVING NEAR NOON 11TH LT). THANKS. STANDING BY.