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yacht in big trouble off Whangarei

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I am not intending to make any assumptions on behalf of the sailors involved. I do not know them nor their experience. But they were the age of 70 and 77 and I suspect they were very tired and perhaps not quite feeling agile enough to be tottering around on deck.
Some of you are not understanding what it was probably like out there. I will repeat again from an earlier post. The weather had been blowing from E/SE for a few days and from a very long distance SE of the Country. The Sea Swell was sitting at about 4m. Although the wind itself was not high at around 30kts, there was a very ruff sea on top of the Swells. Anyone that has been out there in that (this was our trip north years ago), the sea gets steep and short and relentless and you pound into every single wave and every now and then at about 5 waves, you get a real big nasty one. It is relentless and tiring. the current running along our coast makes any of these NE and SE directions plain nasty to run into.

As IT said in an earlier post of his, Whangarei entrance was recording seas as high as 6m. I expect the Tide was outflowing. I have entered that with just 3m of sea running and it was a handful. Impossible with 6m and even with 3 to 4 m running with the tide, it would be pretty damn hard work. I expect the Coastguard would have been thinking of this. It would be an impossible sea to be towing another boat in on. Especially if there may have been a steering issue.
    If the Sea was that high at Whangarei, then Tuts would have been just as impossible to try and enter. If it was dark and you did not have good nav gear, it would be suicide. Whangamumu  would have had these seas running directly into it. Not a place I would be attempting to enter and most especially if you have not been in there before. In fact, none of those little entrances are safe in such weather.
As IT also said, running toward a lee shore is bad. Unless you know the entrance to a Port and you know it well and know what exactly to expect, then never ever try entering. There have been many professional skippers with sound vessels that have lost their lives entering River mouths with Weather and Seas running behind them. These places round our Country are just not ever to be underestimated.

It is great to hear the Couple are safe and sound. Very sad to see they have lost their boat.
Does anyone recognise the Rock? Where were they exactly?


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Coastguard attempted FOUR rescues. Including from helicopter. I'm fairly sure they would have 'just towed the boat in' if they could have. It certainly wasn't a case of not thinking of it...

Jetski registration came about because they are essentially unidentifiable and there are now lots of the little suckers. We all have sail numbers or names on the side.    I learnt not to swim anywhe

the fact that cg couldn't get out to them says a lot about the conditions, i'd say.

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30 to 40 knots, two meter swells is not over thier limit is it? Behind the Poor Knights there would have been no wind.


The coast guard reluctantly towed us back to safety when we damaged the bow of our boat two years ago. They were not allowed to tie the tow rope to our boat for some reason. I am glad they did tow us or else we would have lost our boat. They towed us into 30knots of wind at around 15 knots of boat speed, very easy.


It's advisable to use a rope from the vessel being towed not your's, If for some reason you must let go it's the towed vessel's rope that is released because they might not release your's.

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I spent the earlier years of my life going up and down that coast to the point where I would not like to even guess how many times I've sailed between Whangarei and the BOI and also down to Auckland.

It can get nasty.

I've even spent a night hove to way outside Cape Brett because the sea state entering the Bay was bordering on suicidal, let alone any of the other entrances along the coast.


Nobody knows the circumstances aboard this boat, but I know exactly what I would have been doing and it would not have involved any rocks or coastline. Anything within 10 or 15 miles off the coast in some conditions and you get these rouge waves that come through occasionally, that just washes straight over. Plus the confused cross sea bouncing back off the coastline. It demands respect.

The only option sometimes, if you get caught out is to go out, chill out and just wait for it to quieten down a bit.

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