Passage from Fiji to New Zealand

Scream spent eleven days sailing from Savusavu in Fiji to Opua in New Zealand.

We spent several weeks before we departed looking for favourable weather for the passage. We wanted to leave when the weather systems were weak, with little difference between the central pressures of the local highs and lows. We departed with a 1020 KPa high north of New Zealand and a 1005 low in Tonga. We departed as soon as the wind from the high shifted out of the south to the south east. Typically this is the strongest wind of the cycle, but it provides the longest window between contrary winds.

Our passage was in many ways wonderful. The winds were fair. The seas were short, and were only choppy on the first day. We had sun every day, with mostly clear skies. We had only a couple brief showers and there were no electrical storms.

Unfortunately, the wind was contrary for almost the entire passage. Instead of behaving normally and moving steadily east, the high between Fiji and New Zealand moved west then remained stationary in the Tasman sea. During the first week of our passage the wind was 15 knots out of the south east or south south east. Then wind then eased to 5 to 10 knots and shifted due south. The last three days the wind was south west or south south west at 5 to 15 knots. We sailed close hauled for nine of eleven days, motored one and a half days, and were close reach for the remainder. The apparent wind was never more than sixty degrees from the bow. We probably spent close to half of the passage pinching.

This meant that the passage was long and mentally frustrating, if much more serene and comfortable than normal.

We arrived in Opua Friday afternoon, in time to catch the end of the All Points Rally. We’re having a good time with many friends.

2 Comments

  1. so very glad you made it safely.

    the word that sticks with me re your last approach to NZ was “demoralizing”

    fascinating to hear all your weather forecasting and sailing knowledge.

    BBC TV had a feature on poor Christchurch yesterday.

    Best wishes

  2. glad you made it safe.