Many of you will recall how I kept this blog up for Dick and crew as they crossed the Pacific to New Zealand. Basically I transcribed all forms of messages including emails, ham radio messages and InReach messages. Emails ended last week when they left Moorea, Tahiti for Rangiroa the last stop before the leg to Hawaii. The last post was written as Van Kedisi was being loaded onto the ship “Damgracht.” Maurie (first mate) got some photos from 1.5 NM away and though they are a bit fuzzy they are kind of fun to see. The shipyard was secure so no unauthorized people allowed.



The crew for the entire voyage is in order of the first photo~~Captain Dick, Maurie Robertson, Steven Leighton and Heidi Leggereit. I thought I would add two more photos of crew plus moms plus wife. Top right is Jenny Leggereit, Heidi and Steven and right below is Maureen Robertson and Marian Leighton. Maureen was crew from Papeete to Rangiroa, Tahiti. Jenny is in Brisbane, Australia and Marian is in Victoria, BC.



Alicia, the agent in Auckland for Seven Stars Shipping took some excellent photos as VK  was being was actually lifted. Having crew aboard as boats are lifted is strictly forbidden but somehow the tender to the Damgracht was missing, perhaps as it was early evening. So Steven and Dick were lifted still onboard! Heidi picked them up and over the next few days every flew to Papeete.



While Dick spent several days in a small anchorage near Auckland before departure he wrote a letter that he sent to many of you. Few of you noticed it as was a small white square with “doc” in it at the bottom of the same photos as above. So for those of you who did not notice it or were not on his list here it is. BTW,  I was one of many who did not notice it.  It touched me deeply.

Rakino Island

Hauraki Gulf

New Zealand

March 22, 2018

Marian, wrestling with inoperable, incurable metastasized breast cancer, flew back to Victoria a few weeks ago after a month here in New Zealand..

“Bring the boat back. I am looking forward to all of us and the boat in the same province.”

A few months ago I attended a cancer partners’ support group at the hospital in Victoria. It was something like what I imagine AA to be. One woman, 68, talked about her husband’s cancer diagnosis 8 years prior as having 4 months to live. 8 years later he is still alive and she feels robbed of the last 8 years of her life. “Not happening to us” says Marian.

Marian is to be admired for her “glass half full” approach to recurrent cancer.  As a friend said, “Dick, if that was you or me we would be curled up in the fetal position on the floor.” But Marian is embracing the new life in Victoria, minding 2 year old Edith, connecting with old and new friends, planning another trip to Nepal and possibly going to jail for civil disobedience for opposing the Kinder-Morgan pipeline.

Marian’s positive blog is:

Sailing from New Zealand to Victoria is not the same as sailing from Turkey to New Zealand – the wind is not from astern nearly all the time. There are two routes in Jimmy Cornell’s World Cruising Routes. The long route, for those with lots of time, takes in Fiji, Philippines, Japan, Bering Sea to Victoria. The more usual route has 3 legs. New Zealand to Tahiti, Hawaii and Victoria. The first leg to Tahiti is 2,220 n.m. on the great circle route but more like 3,000 n.m. actual sailing distance as it is not usually possible to sail there directly. I have been in NZ for several months and the wind has been relentlessly from the east – the direction we want to go. Further, this is a La Nina year, whatever that means. A Google search revealed “an uptick in easterlies”. Under “normal” conditions NZ is in the “variables”. With La Nina, and global warming, it seems the prevailing easterly trade winds near the equator have been pushed further south. Those who have sailed on the Van Kedisi will probably agree – not her best point of sail. Indeed, the legendary cruiser Eric Hiscock with his last boat, a nice looking sloop, abandoned an attempt to get to Tahiti from NZ and ended up going to Fiji and back to NZ.

So, considering all the above, I decided that loading the Van Kedisi on a ship, the “Damgracht”, from Auckland, NZ, to Papeete, French Polynesia, at the end of March, was probably a good idea. 

New Zealand is reasonably enlightened when it comes to visiting boats. Boats are permitted to be here for 2 years, and are exempt the 15% gst during that time. My 2 years are nearly up. After 20 years of doing boat maintenance in non-English speaking countries, it felt like cheating getting work done here. Maurie helped immeasurably with the work. And room and board at Pat and Claire’s beat living in a boat yard. The last challenge, again, is getting the music radio and all 4 speakers working. Van Kedisi seems to devour sound systems the way Marie kills battery powered wrist watches!

It has been great sailing in NZ waters again – trips down memory lane, relatives, engineers’ reunions. My grandfather, Frank William Leighton, who I never met, was a survivor on the SS Wairarapa enroute to Auckland from Sydney when it slammed full speed into Miner’s Head on Great Barrier Island at 8 minutes past midnight in 1894. In the Irish Pub on Great Barrier there is a photo showing a number of people on the deck of the beached ship and he might be one of them. Not such a great sailing trip for them.

Next stop Tahiti! (by Air NZ)


Rakino Island, NZ

I am reading “Sapiens”, thanks Suzanne. The author writes about supposed labour saving devices from washing machines to email. Here’s what he says about email: “We thought we were saving time; instead we revved up the treadmill of life to ten times its former speed and made our days more anxious and agitated.”

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

Distance for proposed voyage to Victoria: NZ – Tahiti 2,220 n.m. ( by ship); Tahiti – Hawaii 2,270 n.m.; Hawaii – Victoria 2770 n.m.

Blog maintained by Marian:

Boat location by inReach:

Thank you Dick and I know we all look forward to your return. Many of you are already “followers” but if not and you want to be notified, click on the “follow” button. There is also a link to my blog

It has taken me awhile to remember how to add photos and so I will save the emails and ham messages etc. for a day or two. Watch for the next post.


PS I don’t see the follow button but I will investigate and let you know on the next post.













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