Call us on: +64 (0) 9 402 7143

About Great Escape

At Great Escape we have a fleet of 16 well-maintained yachts and power boats to suit all needs and budgets. All you provide is lunch, personal gear and a sunhat.

The Bay of Islands is a boaties paradise of sheltered anchorages, quiet sandy beaches and unrivalled fishing and diving. With a well-maintained boat and our friendly, personal service we guarantee you will have a holiday experience to remember.

Meet the Team


Darren Crawford

Darren owns and operates Great Escape Charters. Darren has been passionate about sailing since he was 13 years old. He loves all aspects of sailing and aspires to share this with Great Escape customers by creating an environment where people feel supported to get the best from their time on the water. Whether you have sailed a lot or a little, Darren and his team will offer support to help you achieve the experience you dreamed of.

Daryl Parkhill

Daryl has been involved in outdoor mountain guiding and education for 20 years. He has taught in some of New Zealand’s most remote areas. He lives aboard his boat Donella and spends the winters sailing the Pacific Islands. Daryl is a competent and experienced sailor and educator. His calm, professional style has allowed hundreds of people to safely enjoy the waters of the Bay of Islands.


Johnny Perkins

With over 100,000 ocean miles under his belt, Captain Johnny P loves sharing his passion and experiences with new sailors. John has an infectious laugh and is a ‘class act’ story teller. Learn, laugh, sail is the way Johnny approaches life, and we love that!

Ian Templeman

Ian sailed from England to New Zealand with his wife Merry and, fortunately for Great Escape, decided to stay. Ian is a delight to sail with – calm, capable and never flustered – he is the James Bond 007 of the local sailing scene. His position as Commodore of the local yacht club shows his commitment to sailing and assures a warm welcome at the club.


Ronnie Simpson

Ronnie is a talented sailor, he spent years racing at a very high level in his hometown in the USA before following the urge to sail south. He is a well known sailing journalist, writing for pubications such as Sailing Anarchy and Sail World. Not only did Ronnie sail from the USA to New Zealand but he did it on a boat with no engine! We love this guy’s passion for sailing and life, and his enthusiasm is infectious.

Helen Horrocks

Helen is a well respected local sailor with some significant ocean sailing achievements. She is relaxed on boats and spends as much time on boats as she can. Helen enjoys seeing people develop their sailing to the stage where they too can feel relaxed on a yacht.


Terry Dunn

Terry started Great Escape and still helps out. He is our Senior Instructor. Terry trains and mentors our instructors to ensure teaching standards are consistant and at a high level. Terry’s sailing acomplishments would match some of the top sailors in the world.

Derry Godbert

A legend in the sailing world, Derry has trained many local sailors who complete at world class events. He is always sailing or teaching sailing! His coaching style is calm and hands off, which gets great results.

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