It took an Interislander ferry more than two hours and three attempts to berth at Picton.

Picton man Kit Stevens watched from his window overlooking the Picton harbour as the Stena Alegra ferry first tried to berth about 6.30am.

He and his wife were woken up earlier when the wind buffeted their upstairs flat. ''It was just howling,'' he said.
''We got hammered, it's still going now.''

They watched as the Stena Alegra swung around and tried to back into its berth. It couldn't do it so it left and returned about 20 minutes later, Stevens said.It came in, swung around and tried to back in, but the wind was so strong it blew it off course. When it failed again, Stevens thought it had gone back to Wellington after it took off and didn't return for more than an hour.
But on its third attempt, the captain tried a different approach. ''It came in so slowly, and very gingerly inched it's way in,'' he said. ''It looked like it was closer to us than normal, probably to give it enough room for the wind to push it in.''

In between its second and third attempt, the Bluebridge ferry Straitsman also had a crack at berthing but gave up and disappeared from his view, Stevens said.

''I think the award of the day for dogged determination goes to the crew of Stena Alegra,'' he said. ''It came in, didn't make it, took off. Came in again, didn't make it, took off. It probably had a good think about it, then came back and finally managed it.''

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