Sailing in the Bay of Islands A Tall Ship Adventure in New Zealand

Leonard Lea Frazer

 The R. Tucker Thompson in the Bay of Islands.
The R. Tucker Thompson in the Bay of Islands.

How does sailing the Pacific Ocean in a wooden two mast tall ship sound? Ok, how about a three mast tall ship? So, now you’re interested? Well, you can do just that while visiting the “Bay of Islands” on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand. That’s Captain Cook’s old stomping grounds.

Back in November of 1994, while on a tour of Fiji and New Zealand, I ventured out from the tiny port of Russell. Along with a dozen or more other travellers I joined the crew of an old restored halibut schooner, the “R. Tucker Thompson,” and sailed along the coast to a small island. After going ashore, in a zodiac speedboat, I was able to view the tall ship in her anchorage position from the beach. From this vantage point I was able to take photos of the ship as it rotated on its anchor.

After an hour on the island I returned to the ship and we sailed back to Russell with a lunch of garlic bread, salad and wine being served along the way. The experience was one of excitement and adventure. Passengers were invited to join in and help the crew hoist and trim the sails or just relax and enjoy the fabulous vitas of the islands and sea.

The R. Tucker Thompson Training Trust runs life-changing adventures for young people aged between 13 and 18. The “Flagship 7-day Youth Development Voyages” provide an opportunity to build confidence, learn about teamwork and develop leadership skills.

Why not come sailing in the Bay of Islands regardless of your ability! The R. Tucker Thompson can create memories and friends for thousands of travellers. The ship’s Tourism Sailing Run, from November until Easter each year, provides the chance for eager visitors to experience working on a tall ship and the excitement during a “Day Sailing” in New Zealand waters

The onboard crew hoisting the main sail.
The onboard crew hoisting the main sail.
The ship’s bell beside the main mast.
The ship’s bell beside the main mast.

The R. Tucker Thompson anchored at an island in New Zealand.
The R. Tucker Thompson anchored at an island in New Zealand.