French Pass

French pass is between D’urville Is and the mainland of the South Island. Tidal streams of upto 8 knots run through here and the passage is about 100m wide. You only go through with the tide although fast planing hulls do go through at any stage of the tide.

Approaching the pass from the south, running with the NE setting tide.


Getting closer, the beacon at the edge of the reef showing up


The tide starting to speed us up, kept the RPM at 1350 for a speed of about 8.2 kts


Getting a good look now


And the tide having a bit more of an influence


Almost there, at this stage I’m doing it by eye rather than the chart. Aiming to run into that smoother water. Sometimes, especially when the flow is at maximum, that smooth water is a very distinct V shape and you run straight into the V.


A series of photos as we go through. Looking to starboard.


To Port


Through, max speed observed was 14.1 kts. Note the variation from the heading (green line) and the course made good (red line). The Pilot Book warns about being set to starboard and running aground on the mainland by Collinet Pt. ┬ábut that wasn’t a problem.


The whirlpools to port on the down tide side of the reef, kept away from that area.



Looking back


That was fun.