2015 Overview – Limited New Zealand Cruising

Dec 31, 2015| 0 Comment

In April 2014, we left Avante berthed in Gulf Harbor Marina just north of Auckland, NZ planning to return in 6 months to sail around New Zealand during the southern hemisphere summer. If anyone had told us then that it would be a full 18 months before we together returned to her, we would have said that was crazy! Sometimes, “life” gets in the way of plans, and that is what happened to us. The First Mate underwent two surgeries, one of which involved a total hip replacement. She’s bionic now!  On her first visit to her surgeon following the operation, he proclaimed that everything looked great and that she could resume all her normal activities in 3 months – except for sailing. He did not want her back on a sailboat crossing oceans for at least 6 months after the operation. The Captain also had some medical adventures and underwent 2 eye surgeries to fix his cataracts.  Old age repairs, we call these hiccups, but we are now good to go and so very grateful to be healthy in mind and body.

The First Mate’s 6 month after surgery restriction expired in August, but that was way too late to head for the tropics, and it was still winter in New Zealand. Although we were both eager to get back on Avante and go sailing, we decided to wait for warmer weather and then do some limited cruising around New Zealand.


Year End Summary

Nov 4 – Dec 12New Zealand249


By the time we both returned to Avante in November of 2015 to go sailing again, our boat had spent 18 months sitting in Gulf Harbor Marina. Fortunately, we had picked a good marina in which to leave Avante.  The Captain flew over to New Zealand twice during this period to “spend a week with his toolbox working on the boat.”  Some replacement parts were installed, the non-skid on the companionway steps was replaced, and a new cover sewn onto the steering wheel.  We also had Doyle Sails replace our dodger and bimini.  We had them modify the size and shape of the dodger, install polycarbonate windows, and fabricate a rear enclosure for the dodger to shelter us when cruising downwind in poor weather.  We were quite happy with the changes and Doyle Sails’ workmanship. In early November, we did some cleanup and maintenance including installing the 110v water heater that we had brought with us.  We also had the boat pulled for bottom paint and a hull polish.  Gulf Harbor is a really clean marina, and we were pleasantly surprised by how good Avante looked after her long marina stay, but a boat needs to be used. 

Other than the trip from Nelson to Auckland in 2014, our previous cruising in New Zealand had only been in the Bay of Islands area. This time, we took advantage of our location further south and spent several weeks cruising around the Hauraki Gulf and the Auckland area. The proximity of the Hauraki Gulf with a number of interesting places to cruise to and plenty of wind is the reason that Auckland is the “City of Sails”.  It is only 50nm from Auckland Harbor to the Great Barrier Island – an easy day’s sail.  The area reminded us of the San Juan and Gulf Islands in the Pacific Northwest, but the sailing is better here.  There is more wind, and tides and currents are less of an issue.  New Zealand was known by the Maori as the “Land of the Long White Cloud”, and it certainly has its share of clouds and rain.  However, at this time of year, we also had a number of what the weather forecasters called “fine spells” during the day.

In mid-December, we returned to Gulf Harbour Marina and left Avante in her berth while we flew home for a month during the holidays. We would be back in January to continue our New Zealand cruising.

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