VK in New Zealand

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
― H. Jackson Brown Jr. 


Arrival in Opua, New Zealand~~Steven, Colin and Captain Dick


First mate Steven arrives in NZ~~Shades of Andy arriving in Barbados in Dec., 2013

Dick certainly did all of the above~~he has lived his dream. 17,304 nautical miles or 37,047 kilometres.

Many of you got the short message below and a Word Doc but I will add it too. Now that Dick is in NZ, the saga is basically coming to an end at least for now.

Hi folks from Opua, N.Z.
We made it! Great to be here.
It has been a crazy time since our arrival. Claire and Pat, and Rick came to meet us which was a wonderful surprise.
All our buddies, Russell and Jane on “Ta-B”, Trevor and Jan on “Villomee”, Stuart and Ann on “Time Bandit”, Bill and Jean on “Out of the bag”, Reiner on “Catarina” and Travis on “HeapsGood” are here and there has been a birthday celebration every night. It is exhausting.

Still trying to sort out internet and phone.

The only dark cloud was the All Blacks losing to Ireland today.

All the best


Kadavu Island, Fiji

October 11, 2016


We are anchored in Tuvalu Bay with good protection except from the north-east. We have been waiting out a “weather event”, a rotating storm, that was forecast to develop over Musket Cove on the west side of the main Fiji island of Viti Levu. Musket Cove is our next destination. So we spent a couple of days watching the perfect trade winds that would take us there, but not going as it would not really make sense to sail into the storm. The storm passed over us last night, swinging through 360 degrees and dragging our anchor when it switched.

With the luxury of excellent internet access here in Fiji (after so long without) I have become addicted to the fabulous weather site windyty. I think Victor sent me this some time ago.


Everybody asks about bad weather – high winds and huge waves – something like “The Perfect Storm”. The reality so far is that light winds have been the norm. We have very rarely seen anything over 25 knots. Usually we are looking for more wind. We like 20 knots astern. And the wind direction for the last 8,000 miles has been from astern about 95% of the time. However, this next little 1,100 mile jaunt to NZ is anticipated to be anything but astern. The wind-roses show the wind rather equally distributed from all the points of the compass, especially approaching NZ.

November is the month to make the passage from Fiji to NZ according to the gurus. November is the start of summer in the southern hemisphere bringing tropical cyclones to Fiji and hopefully the end of winter storms in NZ. Cold fronts travel east across the Tasman Sea to NZ about every week. It would be a fabulous passage to avoid getting hit by a front – but the main aim seems to be not to get hit by two.

Kadavu Island

Kadavu Island, south from Suva, is great. At the school I watched 50 or so men, aged from 8 to 38 practicing sevens rugby. Wearing my All Blacks hat I told them I was a scout for NZ rugby. I don’t think too many believed that – should have had my clipboard. There is a cash tournament starting on Thursday with local teams and teams from Suva. We may still be here waiting for the wind. Not a bad option.

Kadavu is called New Zealand lai lai, which means little New Zealand. It would make a lot of sense to leave for NZ from here, but there is no place to check out here, so we need to go back 100 miles north to either Suva or Vuda Point. Ah well, so be it.

200 miles from Opua, New Zealand

November 2, 2016

We have the trade wind rig up, twin genoas, and we are hurrying along at 10 knots under 100% overcast skies – trying to get to Opua in the Bay of Islands before the wind switches from north to south. Not sure if we will get there in time, will know more tomorrow. What we do know is that it is a lot colder here than the tropics – 12C in Auckland yesterday. Arggghhhhh – sweater, jacket, pants and shoes……

Looking back, we had a great overnight passage from Kadavu to Musket Cove, home of Dick’s Place, where Marian and I stayed way back in 1980. It is a lot more upscale since then. We sailed to Port Denarau where we picked up Colin for the trip to NZ. We watched the all conquering All Blacks set a new world record of 18 consecutive wins. More importantly, we replaced the steering cylinder and the auto-pilot hydraulic pump, both of which were leaking slightly, leaking enough for us to have no steering when on “standby” if not topped up. These replacements eliminated the banging in the steering system at anchor, and also the auto pilot’s voluntary switching from “auto” to “standby” – a feature that may have kept the night watch on their toes. 

From Port Denarau we sailed north to Lautoka, the sugar cane capital of Fiji. A Fijian customs official gave me a ride into town to add Colin to the Crew List. He said he had just been released from 3 months in jail. He said “A cheeky Indian was annoying him with too many questions,” so he hit him, but only once.

The Yusawas, a popular NZ cruising ground are to the northwest of Lautoka, and armed with a supply of kava we headed there to make “savu savu” with the local chiefs. Well, for some reason they were having a week of no kava. Whether this was the Temperance Society in action or a concession to the Indian community who were celebrating Diwali we were unable to determine. We chatted with Chief Joe and his wife then went back to the boat and had our own kava experience. Kava, made from the root of a local plant, said to be mildly intoxicating and enervating, is drunk with ceremony and is a part of the local village life.

Close reaching against the 15 knot south easterlies for 6 days brought us from Fiji to 250 n.m. north of North Cape, NZ, where the wind eventually switched to the north. Colin, looking for a good night’s sleep after bouncing around in the forward cabin for 6 nights discovered that sailing downwind really is different – “Gentlemen always sail with the wind at their backs.”

Opua, New Zealand

November 4, 2016 

The northerly did not last, switched to south which gave us another night of night watches. The wind changes very quickly here, and soon enough we got a westerly that brought us in to Opua. I watched the sun come up over Cape Brett, last seen from my Dad’s boat almost 50 years ago. Nice to be back, but, man its cold here this morning! 

Thanks to all who helped sail the Van Kedisi from Bodrum, Turkey to Opua, NZ:

Marian, Dean, Marie, Mary, Liam, Rick, David, Andy, Steven, Rowley, Barry, Victor, Jamie, Suzanne, Claire, Colin.


Opua, NZ

Distance sailed from Bodrum, Turkey to Opua, NZ: 17,304 n.m


End of ocean passages……….?

Friday, Nov. 25/16. Marian here~~I just talked to Dick on Skype to get a few details on what has happened since he, Steven and Colin arrived in Opua on Nov. 4. I was at North Beach, Haida Gwaii at the time with Elaine and Ted Keating and Suzanne Woeller. We had had some great storms in our off grid cabin and had limited cell coverage by walking on the beach at low tide. But I got Dick’s message and contacted his sister Claire by email. She and Pat eventually drove to Opua from their place near Waipu and were surprised to see a hunded or more boats as at their last visit it was sleepy little harbour. They wondered how they would find Dick but found Trevor and Jan from Villomee who Claire had met when she was crew on VK in Niue. From there she went to the customs office and lo and behold, Dick was there checking in. Rick Lane, crew on VK for many thousands of miles even came up from the South Island to welcome Dick and crew.


There was much partying for the first few days, with many of the fleet who had crossed the Pacific over the same months having arrived around the same time. I remember Dick emailing telling me that he was off to do more liver damage on yet another celebration on day 3. He came back to VK on the first or second day to find that Steven and Colin had gone to the local pub and returned with 4 lovely young Kiwi women. And so it went. They left Opua on November 11 for a two day passage to Whangerai but not an overnighter as they anchored in Tutukaka en route. Whangerai is only a 20 minute drive to Claire and Pat’s so they has time ashore with them, doing much needed laundry and taking hot showers.

As Suzanne and I discovered in Tahiti, VK had no hot water. There were problems with lines to the hot water tank I think back in Curacou, and because they were not going anywhere cold for awhile, Dick chose to disconnect the hot water heater. Once in a NZ spring the task of getting hot water again became a priority alone with several other issues. Dick and Colin spent many hours trying to work out a problem with the fuel line to the port engine but solved it last week. Colin, by the way got too cold in NZ and headed to sunny and warm Australia!

After a few days in Whangerai, they sailed on to Auckland and now VK is in Maraetai, a bay south of Auckland and where Dick learned to sail many decades ago! The family had a “batch” there, cottage in Canadian language. That is where VK and Dick and Steven are anchored now. Rugby with family for Dick, time ashore in a hostel for Steven and then back on board to host family yesterday!

Dick, Sarah Leighton and Clint Nov. 27, 2016

Steven in Fiji

More arrival photos

p1040769Seagulls I think?

Colin and snapper? Plus more birds

p1040787Dick bushwhacking on Waiheke Island with Colin~~more like lava


Sister Claire’s large lemons!

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