Ah, a peaceful night at Turners Bay, flat calm all night.  This morning looks very different to yesterday, low dark overcast clouds.  Looks ominous.  The early morning forecast predicted N’ly winds, 15 knots rising to 25 in the afternoon with rain.  My plan was to sail over to Abel Tasman National Park in the morning aided by a building N’ly wind on the beam.  It’s only a 35-mile crossing and a nice beam wind would have been perfect.

Departing Turners Bay under an ominous sky. Photo Ray Penson
Departing Turners Bay under an ominous sky. Photo Ray Penson

Soon after leaving Turners Bay a strong NW’ly wind sprang up.  We motored into it towards French Pass, I gritted my teeth, more wind on the nose.  On the approach to French Pass the wind dropped and we were swept through the pass on the south going current.  This pass is quite a big deal in New Zealand as there aren’t many where the current achieves this sort of speed.  Compared with some of the passes and rapids in British Columbia and Alaska its quite mundane.

Approaching French Pass from the North. Photo Ray Penson
Approaching French Pass from the North. Photo Ray Penson

On the south side of French Pass the wind filled in quickly from the north, we were soon sailing along nicely under the yankee, I was waiting to get out of the pass before committing to the mainsail and staysail.  It didn’t happen, the wind went light and fluky, after forty minutes of trying to sail the motor was back on again.

Heading south out of French Pass. Photo Ray Penson
Heading south out of French Pass. Photo Ray Penson

There was no N’ly wind to sail across to Abel Tasman National Park, it was all a figment of the weatherman’s imagination.  There was calm and residual sea and swell that gave poor old Truce a rolling workout.  Even more disappointing, the forecast now predicted the wind back to the NW and increasing, effectively giving us a headwind.  I may not be a gentleman, but I don’t like going to weather, so plan B came into play.

With motor on we headed down the coast and into Croisilles Harbour and up into Oyster Bay.  The anchor went down in nine meters of water and I put 30 meters of chain out.  By 16:00 we were getting very heavy wind gusts and driving rain.  I increased the scope of chain and put out a double length of snubber.

Early evening and the wind is howling and coming down the hillside with the sound of an express train.  I strongly expect the hills are creating some kind of wind funnel into this bay.  There don’t seem to be any other options for a sheltered anchorage so will stay here, heeling and spinning with each gust.

Another yacht has come into the bay and is also heeling and spinning with the gusts.  I have company, a fellow sufferer.

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