We are underway and heading for New Zealand. Well, we were……
Current Position: Sydney Harbour
Combined sea & swell: 2ft
Wind Speed: 21kts
After arriving in Sydney safe and sound yesterday, after a short trip south from Broken Bay, we spent the night anchored in the lovely Athol Bay. The trip down the coast was not overly pleasant, as we battled 4-5mtr seas (13-16ft) with 32kts winds – typical offshore weather for this part of the world when a southerly blows throw. While the first hour was ok we soon tired and the usual two hour run south to Sydney ended up being closer to four hours as speed was reduce in favour of comfort.
Once safely anchored in Athol Bay we all relaxed and talked about the trip to come. At this stage, I did say that the final decision to depart would be made after we received an update from Fleetweather in the morning as I was a little concerned about a cyclone developing in the South Pacific. With everyone asleep and tucked in for the night we all slept the sleep of the dead as one does on boats. Not sure if it’s the weather, fresh air or motion of the boat but either way, sleep came fast and was most welcome.
My alarm woken me at 5:00am so that I could go and check the latest forecast from Fleetweather. What I was afraid of, had happened. That is, that the potential of a cyclone developing had, and not only that but it had broken in two with a low depression heading south which would hit us two days out from the New Zealand coast. Basically what we were heading into was going to be five-six uncomfortable days .
Following summary of weather forecasted.
Day 1. 25-30kts, 10-16ft seas 5-8, second periods.
Day 2 10-18kts, 6-10ft seas, 5-8 second periods.
Day 3 10-17kts 6-10ft seas, 5-8 second periods.
Day 4 12-20kts, 8-14ft seas, 5-7 second periods.
Day 5/6, 10-20ft seas, 5-8 second periods.
Added to this is the threat from thunderstorms increasing seas and the Cyclone moving faster or changing course. Every weather book I have ever read makes it clear that south pacific cyclones are erratic at best in both course and speed and as such, adding to the overall risk to the planned voyage.
Our divers arrived at 6:00am and started to prepare and clean Pendana’s hull in preparation for the trip in accordance with New Zealand regulations and mark woke at about the same time. After a drink and a quick chat both Mark and I went up to the Pilothouse to go over the forecast in detail.
After about 30 minutes we had come to the decision that setting out, while no issue for Pendana, was going to make for an uncomfortable trip and as this is supposed to be pleasure boating not sure it was a smart move putting ourselves into what would be sustained uncomfortable seas. With no chance of weather improving and all the chance of it getting worse that call was made to cancel the trip. While a hard decision to make it is no doubt the right decision as only madman go out in bad conditions.
So, the Pendana camp is not overly happy right now but deep down, understand that the right decision has been made. The plan now will be to maybe fly to New Zealand for a weeks R&R then come back to Sydney before Christmas and spend New Years eve on the Harbour taking in the famous Sydney fireworks display. While a far cry from the trip across the Tasman its not a bad fall back position to have.
That’s all for now.