Tasman Sea 2017


Ocean Child departed from Hobart on 12 October 2017, with the intention of sailing to Whangarei, New Zealand. Crew were Li (Malaysia) and Alex (France). We carried 360L of water in four tanks, 220L of diesel (max 240), and plenty of food and cooking gas. This was my first ocean trip without professional weather forecasting advice.


Prior to departing, we replaced all of the galvanized steel rigging with stainless steel, assisted by David Ross who did the measurement and arranged the supply of materials.



Above: Li practising her rigging skills.

Right: Jon replacing the spreader end-caps.






The Australian Bureau of Meteorology issued gale warnings for October 12 and 13.  I made the decision to leave, hoping for a good wind from the west. 



Above: Bob Bond's recommendations, which I have found useful (as a novice skipper).


Below... I arranged special effects for our departure from the marina in Hobart:




The sun was setting as we approached Tasman Island, on October 12. This was to be our last sight of land until NZ.



Li and Alex managed the galley provisioning and the cooking. On a bumpy sea, simple food is good.


The weather soon calmed down... a lot.



We lost the 12v power supply to the rear LPG cooking gas solenoid.  That caused a bit of panic!  No gas for cooking!

However the calm sea, although a disadvantage for sailing, did enable us to take the power from the anchor light and re-wire the LPG solenoid. In this photo you can see the drogue mounted on top of the dinghy davits, and the drogue line wrapped in its bag on the back seat. 


Day after day of little or no wind followed. We replaced the storm headsail with the Number 1 Genoa, which I hardly ever use. The smaller Number 2 Genoa is a more flexible sail for the winds we generally encounter.  We motored onwards over calm seas... by the time we reached NZ we had run the engine for 140 hours, using 190L of fuel.  We left Hobart with 220L (max capacity 240L).



Sunrise over North Cape NZ was a welcome sight.


We could have entered NZ via Opua in the Bay of Islands. However the Town Basin Marina at Whangarei is VERY convenient, with the marina situated in the Central Business District.  This was attractive, as an old injury to my left elbow ("tennis elbow") had flared up, and it appeared as though I needed a rest from sailing, possibly several weeks.



Seeing the Bascule Bridge open just for us was impressive....




We arrived on October 26, having used three of our four tanks of water.  At this stage of the trip our top priority was a long hot shower!  It was good to be "at rest" and able to clean the boat and do the washing...



Although we had to step over a Leopard Seal to get to the facility block. It's diet here, we were told, consists of ducks and eels.



Above: the log for the trip. The "Log" column (water speed) is empty, as the instrument was not functioning, in spite of the paddle wheel having been recently cleaned. We averaged around 100 nm per day on the trip of a bit over 1400 nm. When planning an ocean crossing I always plan for 100 nm/d, but of course hope for better. The only crossing with a slower speed was the 2016 crossing from New Caledonia to Queensland.


Li and Alex were great crew. They left to continue their adventures elsewhere, leaving me safe and comfortable on Ocean Child. Minor repairs needed were: fix a broken genoa pole, fix a tear in the canvas of the mainsail cover, and fix the wiring to re-activate the LPG safety solenoid.