Report from Amanda Swan
I’m honored to be an instructor on this exciting new sail training course. The opportunity to spend six days coastal sailing whilst honing sailing skills is one that can certainly fast track any sailor’s development.
Our sailors for this inaugural course, arrived ready for the elements. Paolo, a vet travelled from Palmerston North, while Keven an OBGYN from Whanganui and Leonie a retired French teacher from Rotorua flew into Kerikeri. Their sailing backgrounds were varied but their passion for sailing and keen desire to gain new skills was unanimous. Provisions stowed, and safely briefing complete, we cast off the dock lines and headed out across the Bay of Islands from Opua, 9nm to Whale Bay.
Coping with 20-33 knot winds
Weather conditions rule when planning any passage. Our plan the next day was to continue 30 miles north to Whangaroa but conditions quickly deteriorated bringing strong NW winds and heavy showers. We grabbed this opportunity to hone our heavy weather sailing skills and shot across the bay with the idea to head down the coast once conditions improved. Sheltering from the conditions, we swung into Parekura Bay for a hike to visit old sailing mates of mine who have dropped anchor ashore. Urupukapuka Bay proved to be our ideal hidey hole as winds and rain pummeled the Bay of Islands for the next 24 hours. This provided ample time for us to study both the Yachting NZ Level 3 Overnight Skipper curriculum in conjunction with IYT’s (International Yacht Training) Skippers Couse.
Fast downwind sailing
On the fourth day 20K NW winds sent us shooting out the bay and around Cape Brett like a rocket. A fast downwind sail saw us lowering the mainsail and proceeding down the coast in flat seas on a fast blast that ended in the sheltering arms of Whangamumu in time for an afternoon hike and swim before dinner. Sunny skies greeted us the following morning for an exhilarating day of sailing out to sea and back into the bay with sails strapped in with 2 reefs as winds peaked to 33 knots.
Whale Bay again offered a calm anchorage before we set off on a night sail across the bay to Motuarohia were we completed our training with diesel engine maintenance and a farewell hike to the top to the Māori Pa site.
Tired and happy, new skills, new friends
Wow! An action packed six days with delightful sailors in an amazing playground….Everyone arrived back at the dock with smiles and plenty of stories to tell.
Bring on the next one.
Scheduled Coastal Voyages
- 9th – 14th December 2021
- 11th – 16th March 2022
- 20th – 25th April 2022
- 12th – 17th May 2022
- 10th – 15th June 2022