Notes on crossing the Tasman Sea
Ocean Child One (Ocean Child for short) left Hobart for New Zealand on December 23, with two crew from the Find-a-crew website, and weather advice from Bob McDavitt in NZ. For some days we had light to very light northwest winds. Of the approximately 1200 nm to Nelson we motored 300 nm on our noisy old Yanmar 30hp engine. We reached Nelson 13 days later.
On the second last day we were advised to expect 40-50 knot northerly winds and decided to sit out one night on our drogue - home made and modelled on the well-known Gale Rider drogue. The drogue (deployed from the stern) proved to be too small and the boat (with bare masts) lay beam on to the wind - most unsatisfactory as I had expected it would run with the wind. I considered setting the storm jib to bring the boat in line with the wind, but decided not to as the winds seemed lighter than predicted, and with the jib the boat would have made considerable progress in the wrong direction, towing the rather weak drogue. At this stage we were well away from land and shipping lanes. I am investigating selling or modifying my drogue, or buying a new drogue. Any comments from readers would be appreciated.
Damage to the boat during the trip was limited to a broken furler and a broken depth sounder. The furler (Hood 915) - the circlip holding the bearing races in place broke and released the balls - consequently the furler jammed and we were left with only the storm jib as a headsail. The boat is a center cockpit design, and I was not expecting wave entry into the cockpit. However a large wave did get in (and actually into the boat as the washboards were not in place at the time). This wave also entered the nominally waterproof Navman depth sounder, and it has not worked since.
I have been VERY impressed with the services and other facilities in Nelson. I was so used to getting great service in Hobart (supplies, tradesmen etc) that I was prepared for a lower and slower level of service in Nelson, especially as I do not know my way around. However I cannot speak too highly about services and facilities in Nelson - they are really great.
Right now (January 2014) Ocean Child is stuck in the marina however, waiting on parts from America to undertake repairs, before I can leave for the Bay of Islands. I would make a final comment about getting 'unknown' crew from a website - I think there is a large amount of luck involved here, but luck was running my way. Both crew were outstanding - to the extent that I don't imagine I will ever get crew to surpass James - an outdoor sports enthusiast on holiday in Australia.