The weather gods smiled on us this year with near-perfect conditions for the fourth annual WOW (Women on Water) sailing rally in the Bay of Islands.
As usual, we commenced on Friday night at the Opua Cruising Club. This is our chance to reconnect with old and new sailing friends, confirm the boats, skippers, and crews. We always try to include an education element and this year we had Elana Connor (AKA Peregrina Sails) share her story. One of her key messages to the crews was that anything is possible, she only started sailing seven years ago but has sailed solo from her home in California to New Zealand. She has also just completed a solo figure 8 voyage around Aotearoa New Zealand to raise funds for VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai. Voyage for VOYCE
Saturday morning we departed Great Escape dock, nearly on time! We had a fun sail to Waewaetorea Passage, our selected anchorage, rounding Brampton Bouy and Paramena Reef as turning points to make the sail a bit more challenging. Crews also had to complete a “Women in Sailing” quiz enroute and provide an accurate ETA in their trip report. We almost totally dominated our anchorage and after successfully setting our anchors crews headed ashore for the shared feast, there was no shortage of excellent food.
Sunday was a different challenge for some of the sailors, we headed across to Waewatorea Island. The brave ones completed the cave swim, whilst others enjoyed the walk ashore or even a lie in the sun. We had gloriously warm late summer conditions, an opportunity to really appreciate how wonderful our Bay of Islands cruising area is.
The sail home was uneventful, conditions were quite light so at least one boat resorted to the iron spinnaker for some of the passage. As we packed up the boats and shared final goodbye hugs, already planning to attend next year’s event, these comments from the sailors summed up our experience;
“…what a WOW weekend. I exceeded my self-confidence thanks to all these experiences, challenges and all the sailing in between.”
“WOW!! What an incredible trip, awesome women, and unforgettable memories!!”
Thank you to Great Escape crew for the boats, organising, and hosting the event, Opua Cruising Club for welcoming our sailors Friday night, Opua Burnsco, Kaikohe Pharmacy, and Perfect Base for some great prizes.
Next year’s event will commence Friday 29th April 2022 information will be posted on the Great Escape Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/GreatEscapeSailingBayofIslands . We look forward to welcoming you aboard.