Tasman Sea 
April 2016

Ocean Child crossed the Tasman Sea in late December 2013, from Hobart to Nelson.  In April 2016 Ocean Child once again set off from Hobart, aiming to reach New Zealand at Opua on the north-east coast (at the Bay of Islands).


Initially crew on this trip were Cedric and Emilie (France) and Roshan Shet (India/Australia).


The setting... minor repairs were carried out at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania marina.



Nous avons contacte Jon grace a Anne une amie de France qui a voyage sur lui entre la Nouvelle Zelande et Fiji. Apres un periple de quelques mois dans le NSW, nous decidons de rejoindre Jon a Hobart. Dans ses courriers il nous explique Jon nous explique qu'il a des reparations a faire sur Ocean Child et qu'il est en cale seche. Nous arrivons donc pour mettre la main a la pate.


Nous avons un peu de nettoyage a faire et quelques couches d'antifooling, demontage de la derive car de l'eau de mer s'est introduite dans la derive. Plus nous avancons dans les reparations plus elles s'etendent, une panne mecanique survient mais elle peut aussi bien etre resolue une fois le bateau dans l'eau.


Cedric cleaning the propellor.




Cedric, Emilie et Jon.




Ocean Child just before re-entry, after new Jotun anti-foul paint (10 L in three coats)..



La remise a l'eau de Ocean Child fut un moment plein d'emotion qui etait particulierement nerveux


Watching re-entry





The route we took in late 2013.  The route in 2016 was almost the same for the western and central sections. However, instead of entering New Zealand at Nelson on the South Island, we entered at Port Taranaki (New Plymouth Harbour), on the west coast of the North Island.




Unfortunately our first attempt at leaving Australia did not go well. The Eastern Australian Current was running much stronger than normal, and immediately took us far south of our intended track, at a speed faster than we could sail. We turned back, and attempted to exit Tasmania farther north, through the Denison Canal and Marion Narrows. We ran aground, and by the time we got ourselves floating again, we lost the strong westerly wind we needed to begin our journey. Cedric and Emilie had a visa deadline, and left for Thailand (cheaper and warmer than New Zealand).


Sophie collecting apples from a roadside apple tree for our second attempt.


Sophie made delicious stewed apples... yummy with muslei!



Just before leaving, Chris Ball and I paid a brief visit to the Weedy Sea Dragons of Opossum Bay.


Then we set off...


We left Hobart on April 12.  Cliff scenery at the south of the Tasman Peninsula.



Mists of Tasman Island....



Once away from land, albatross were with us much of the time.



There was a lot of still water on the crossing.

Too much, actually. But the sky does look great, mirrored in the sea...


We spent a long time running on the engine, but of course the amount of fuel a small cruising yacht carries is limited, so I had to be careful, and ensure that I did not place the craft in jeopardy. We used 200 of the boat's 240L of diesel fuel. That's 160 hours on the engine, or 500 nm. By comparison, on the 2013 trip (also plagued by very light winds) we travelled 300 nm on the engine (12 days and 1200 miles from Hobart to Nelson).



The sun was setting...




As the moon was rising...


We stopped at Port Taranaki (New Plymouth Harbour) to fill out some 'entry' paperwork, and drop Rosh off.  By that time we had covered 1300 miles in 13 days. Ocean Child left the same day (April 25) for Opua, arriving 4 days and 450 miles later. My longest solo sail so far.  Ocean Child had favourable southerly winds of 12-18 knot for the first two days, and during that time travelled 270 nm. Port Taranaki is really no place for a small yacht. Ocean Child left with considerable paint damage from the rough wharf. 


Since Ocean Child arrived in my life in 2010, I have had around 40 people on board as crew, ranging from 14 to 76 years in age. I have only seen one person effected by fear, and I have learned now that the affect is much like extreme fatigue. A person who is extremely tired simply can't think straight... even the simplest of jobs is difficult to do without error. I don't think there's any way for a skipper to handle this issue other than to avoid taking on crew likely to suffer from this complaint. A person who gets fearful in an ordinary sailing situation will not only be completely useless in an emergency, he will become a liability.


During the trip we saw no winds over 25 knots, and no waves over 3m. After the long slow trip, I was pleased and relieved to tie up at Opua Marina.  The marina's painter, Chad, was there to welcome me with his usual broad smile... It felt rather like coming home. I was looking forward to seeing Bill and Toni and Laura especially, at the marina shop, as well as one or two other old friends, like Dorothy, Ted and Karen, and Wayne.