Ahoy Cruise News - March 2024

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Ahoy Cruise News Monthly Magazine for Island Cruising & Down Under Rally issue 32 March 2024
this issue: South Island Rally
Raymond La Fontaine
for Sale
Beasley Sailing Voyage Preparation & Mindset Upcoming Events
Deals from our Partners!
Rally 2024
Island Cruising & Down Under Rally Contact Us Email Website Phone Facebook ISSN Viki Moore info@islandcruising.nz www.islandcruising.nz www.downunderrally.com +64 21 438 977 www.facebook.com/islandcruising.nz ISSN 3021-1948 on the cover Pacific Rally boats in 2023 - sorry I can’t remember who sent me this pic but I love it! photos and news contributions are welcome

In this issue

March 2024

Boats for Sale

From the Helm

The latest update from Viki

Farewell Raymond an Obituary by John Hembrow

Go East & Pacific Rally 2024

Update on the content covered so far

Ben Beasley Sailing

What it takes to get to the start line of Solitaire du Figaro

Groupama Race - New Caledonia

Upcoming Events

Boating Etiquette

ask our Pirate panelist your curly questions

issue 32

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From the helm

Is it just me or is this year flying by? I can’t actually believe it is March already and the days are starting to get shorter & leaves starting to change here in Christchurch. This is the time of the year that both the migratory birds and migratory cruisers start getting excited for their passage north to warmer climates!

Our Go-East and Pacific Rally participants have been keeping busy with lots of webinars and other pre-departure support to help them get prepared for the offshore voyages ahead.

We’ve got some incredible support from our rally partners who also offer some fantastic deals to help people get their boats prepared to go offshore Everything from discounts in marinas, boat yards, services, training, cruising guides, tours, weather, boat equipment, safety gear, wine and more! I haven’t done the sums but I am pretty sure that joining the rally works out heaps cheaper than trying to do it yourself!

The cool thing about our rallies is that you can still tap in to all this awesome stuff, benefit from all the great inclusions, soak up all the info that you like, but still sail to your own schedule. There is no obligation to be part of the main group if you prefer to stay more independent

Another awesome bonus is that we ’ ve got the Lau Group entry confirmed, just waiting on some final pricing, but if you’d like to enter Fiji at this stunning and remote place, then let me know ASAP as we ’ ve only got a few spaces left

We fly all the Customs, Immigration, Health and Biosecurity officials out to Vanua Balavu and enable our Pacific Rally participants to be able to clear in here over the duration of a week.

This means just a two day sail from Tonga, saves about 250NM of sailing, avoiding a big backtrack to get back to the place you ’ ve just sailed past, and waiting around for weather windows to be able to get south to this stunning part of the world. On top of this we ’ ve got some local villages who love welcoming the rally and they’ll be putting on some special events to welcome the group to Fiji

We also have separate groups sailing in different directions - NZ to Fiji, NZ to Tonga, NZ to Vanuatu, NZ to New Caledonia, Australia to New Caledonia, Australia crossing the Tasman to NZ and people sailing on to different places at the end of the rally. The choice is yours! You can still join the rally and sail your own unique itinerary.

You can be as social or anti-social as you like! Sail to your own schedule, to your own ports but still stay connected to everything that is going on in the Pacific this season. Join us here!

If you do happen to be sailing to the Pacific this season and are looking for crew, please let me know! We’ve got an awesome list of keen crew members who are looking to get some blue water experience. Many of them are keen to take their own boats on the rally next year and are looking to get some offshore miles under their belt. I can easily email our CrewSeeker list with your requirements and get them to contact you directly if they are available

We are also very excited to be partnering with Citizens Of The Sea on the rally. Some selected boats on the rally will be collecting ocean e-DNA samples while on passage. They’ll then pass the data on to scientists who can process and analyse their findings. The goal is to build a platform that provides insights into shifting patterns of life in our oceans. There may be a few spare spaces in this program, so if you are interested please let me know and I can put you in touch with the team

In addition to rally preparations, I’ve been up in Auckland sailing in the Duder Cup and enjoying the fabulous 1920's party afterwards at Devonport Yacht Club. I also did the Offshore Medic course with Oceania Medical this weekend, practiced giving injections and stitching or stapling up bits of meat, brushing up on the CPR techniques and learning about all the contents of the Cat 1 Medical kit.

I’ve also been catching up with some of the South Island Rally participants We’ve got a few late starters who are planning on heading South this week. I look forward to sharing their photos with you.

In sad news, we heard this month that Raymond la Fontaine sadly passed away in Indonesia. Raymond and Marina del Ray was a fantastic supporter of Island Cruising and Down Under Rally and also a good friend of former Down Under Rally owner - John Hembrow John has written a lovely story about how he and Raymond met and how he transformed a remote destination in to a cruising hub

I am also excited to be supporting Ben Beasley in his quest to get to the start line of the La Solitaire du Figaro 2024. This is the toughest multi stage one design offshore race there is in the world and he’d love your help! He is doing a webinar to tell us more about his story, what the race is all about and how you can be involved!

This week I am helping SailGP train their Course Marshals before they head out on the water for the event later on in March. While I am not so involved in the SailGP event as I was last year, but I hope it all goes down as well as it did a year ago, and if you are coming in to Christchurch for the event I hope you have a fantastic time!

Thanks so much for reading the March edition of Ahoy Cruise News Thanks very much to all our members for their ongoing support and also all our fantastic rally sponsors I really appreciate you all!

Cheers Viki

Advanced Sea Survival Course A comprehensive theoretical and practical course for crew requiring an offshore, category 1 certificate. Two Day Full Course 20 & 21 April WHANGAREI tbc 04 & 05 May AUCKLAND 17 & 18 August NELSON One Day Refresher Course 09 March AUCKLAND 11 May WELLINGTON TBC 22 Sept NELSON Island Cruising & Down Under Rally members get a 10% discount (please use the discount code in the members newsletter when you book online) www.skippertraining.ac.nz 0800 546 9700 info@skippertraining.nz


A Self Steering Windvane System:

A completely independent mechanical system (ie. non-electrical) that steers the boat on a wind-based course. Easiest to operate, with no lines in the cockpit, and excellent on all points of sail and in all conditions.

It is an Auxiliary Rudder type of windvane system – the Vane drives its own Rudder via a sophisticated Drive Unit linkage.

An Emergency Rudder/ Steering System

Inherently a second Rudder and Steering System for your boat.

It is the strongest Emergency Rudder and Steering System available today. Always in place, nothing to set-up – takes the fear out of losing your rudder or breaking your vessel’s steering mid passage or close to shore.


South Island Rally

Our members love the great service they get from our rally partners!

Fabien from Rocna Anchors personally went out to visit Rachael & Dion (Sailing Thongs & Jandals) to ensure a good fit for their new Rocna Anchor recently.

Rachael & Dion were blown away by the personal touch, and great deals they get through their Down Under Rally & Island Cruising membership.

Need a new anchor? Get in touch with Fabien!

Oceania Medical Offshore Medic Course

Sail Away at The Auckland Boat Show with The Yacht Sales Co

The Yacht Sales Co incorporating Multihull Solutions is once again showcasing an extensive range of sail and power yacht brands at New Zealand’s biggest boat show, the Auckland Boat Show from 14-17 March 2024.

Representing the world’s finest brands, including Fountaine Pajot, Dufour Yachts, ILIAD Catamarans, Tesoro Yachts, NEEL and LEEN Trimarans, and Cora Cat, The Yacht Sales Co team of specialists will be available throughout the show to assist guests with queries on buying or selling new or pre-owned yachts.

Inspect and sail away on the latest Dufour 470, an exquisite yacht designed for coastal cruises or extended offshore passages, it features an iconic design, ergonomic deck layout and signature hulls that deliver exhilarating performance. Design innovations in the interior of the Dufour 470 allow for an optimum use of space to guarantee ease of sailing while retaining very comfortable sleeping areas.

Also on display is an immaculate 2021 Fountaine Pajot Saona 47 Freedom which has carried her owner and family from the Mediterranean, through the Caribbean and across the Pacific in unrivalled style, luxurious comfort and complete safety. Freedom is the quintet 5-cabin version which has space for additional guests or, as she is currently configured, to provide vital storage for all the onboard luxuries required for six months of provisions.

Attendees can pre-book to inspect the new Dufour 470 and the 2021 Fountaine Pajot Saona 47 (Freedom) or secure an appointment with our team of brand specialists during the Auckland Boat Show here.

Further information on any of the yacht brands represented in New Zealand by The Yacht Sales Co incorporating Multihull Solutions can be obtained by contacting: Bryn Jensen on +64 21 426 600, or by emailing info@yachtsalesco.com.

We are very proud to be a part of the South Pacific Sailing Network - a group of like minded businesses and countries around the South Pacific who are all committed to promoting sustainable yachting tourism and advocating on behalf of cruisers exploring the South Pacific.

Our Pacific rally is the pathway that connects the islands and sailors together

Read more about the aims of the SPSN here.

One Dish Fish Saganaki

Just caught a fish and looking for a really simple meal you can whip up even when you're on passage using ingredients that last for ever (even the feta it freezes perfectly)? This is our go to whenever we're craving real food quickly.

Feeds 4 • Prep 5 mins • Cook 20 mins

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, finely sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes

400g ( 140z) tinned

whole tomatoes

black pepper

2 x 250g (0.5lb) fish fillets (anything firm and white)

1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives

1/2 cup (75g) crumbled feta

Serve with crusty bread and chopped fresh parsley

Over medium heat, warm the olive oil in a heavy based frypan and sauté the onion, garlic, oregano and chilli for 3 - 4 minutes, stirring. Add the tomatoes, chopping roughly, and season with a good grind of black pepper. Bring to a simmer. Chop the fish into large pieces and add to the pan with the olives. Cover and cook for 7 minutes. Take off the heat, add the crumbled feta and place under a hot grill for about 5 minutes until the feta starts to soften and brown. Serve with crusty bread and a little chopped fresh parsley.

This is an edited extract from the book, The Hunter & The Gatherer: Cooking and Provisioning for Sailing Adventures by liveaboard cruisers Catherine Lawson and David Bristow (@wildtravelstory)

Find out more at exploringedenbooks.com or get a copy for your boat anywhere good boat books are sold For every copy sold, one tree is planted.

fabulous feedback


"I just wanted to say a big thank you to you and your team for putting together Island Cruising NZ and Crewseeker. We have been able to find a perfect fit as crew on the Go East Down Under Rally to get our experience to meet the Cat 1 requirements to sail our own boat offshore next year from New Zealand. We are so happy to have found a wonderful boat and skipper to make this journey through Crewseeker."

“I just want to thank you for what you do and all the effort you put in to the Rallies It is really bloody cool! It is so nice having the support, information and the networking that comes with joining island cruising. Our trip has been made a whole lot easier because of you. You are enabling people to live their dreams and have the most amazing experiences. Thank You again and keep up the amazing work.”

“Signing up as a member was one of my best 'investments' so far”!

Read more testimonials on our website

Women Who Sail


Have you ever been at a function and you walk around having polite boring conversations with strangers, until you FINALLY find the one person in the room who has a boat? You breathe a sigh of relief, and spend the rest of the night chatting to them sharing stories of adventures on the water Well imagine a whole room full of people you can share those stories with! And not only that – they are all women!

Welcome to the Women Who Sail Gathering on the Bay An annual get together of women sailors from around the South Pacific (and their partners can come along too), where you instantly have not only a sailing passion in common with everyone in the room.

The women who attend the GOTB are inspirational. After listening to the speakers it is common to think “If she can do that – then I can do that too!” The atmosphere is buzzing. Its like an incredible sisterhood of people who understand one another, who are sometimes given amused looks by fellow male sailors who think its a bit ‘cute’ to have a female skipper at the club Or the friend of a friend who simply can’t believe that a girl could possibly own a boat and manage it on her own

The room is filled with racers and cruisers, singles, couples, mothers, young people and those with years of life experience People who have built their own boats, sailed solo around Antarctica, those who have sailed all the way to Australia from Europe, and those who have sailed 100 miles up the coast. But no one judges anyone else. You can ask any question, you can cry and laugh, and chat for hours and hours without your husband rolling his eyes. You can be yourself and feel supported in what it is that you do.

It is quite simply just awesome.

And if you are a woman who loves sailing and happen to be in Australia then you should absolutely head along and join in the fun from 5 - 7 April this year in Port Stephens

There is an impressive agenda packed full of interesting topics and inspirational speakers

You can register online here to attend.

A Saviour For Mooring Owners and Sailors Alike

Mooringbnb is a new platform designed to allow mooring owners to maximise their earnings while making it easy for sailors to book a mooring from anywhere. It’s the ultimate win-win set to take off this summer.

Mooringbnb for mooring owners

Often,mooringssitunusedforextendedperiodsoftime. Mooringbnb.co.nzmakesiteasytohireyourmooring outwheneveryou’renotusingit.Itworksalongsimilar linestoAirBnB,allowingsailorstosearchforan availablemooring,bookitandpayforitonthespot.

Mooringbnbautomatesalltheadminwork,from marketingtotakingpaymentsandevennotifyingthe harbourmasterwhenthemooringisbeingused.It’sfully customisable,soyoucancontrolitsavailability,and chargewhateverrateyouwish.

Registeringyourmooringcostsnothing,andyouget paidtherateyouset.

It’savailableinNewZealandatthemoment,butissetto expandintoAustraliaandthePacificIslandsin2024.

Formooringowners,it’sauniqueopportunityto generateincomethatrequiresminimaleffort.Itmakes morelocationsavailabletosailors,includingwhenthe weatherturnsbadandtheyneedasafeplacetostayat shortnotice.


Thenumberofmooringsareincreasingmonthlyand sailorsarealreadymakingbookingsforthenextfew months.Withthesummersailingseasononthehorizon, it’stheperfecttimetolistamooringandgenerateextra incomewhileyousailoffelsewhereyourself.

Meet Master Spray Painter - Chad Holmes

Chad is an exceptional figure at the Bay Of Islands boatyard, widely recognised throughout the community as synonymous with the Bay of Islands Marina Boatyard the go-to person for all things related to boat painting, from top to bottom

Chad’s career started as a young man, twenty-two years ago when he was working as a farm hand on a farm up the Kawakawa valley not far from the boatyard.

His boss, who owned a boat on a swing mooring, one day asked Chad to take a pig around to the boatyard as payment for his antifoul. From there, Chad was drawn to boats and the crew working on the yard. During the offseason when the cows went dry, Chad went to the yard to ask for a job.

With that, Chad recalls starting at the very bottom, scraping, sanding and tidying the boatyard He proved himself, working his way up to Boatyard Foreman “After 10 years a deal was struck; when the marlin were running Chad ran the business giving his boss and mentor Robert Auckett time out, and in return when the big winter swells came through, and Chad’s love for surfing meant he could head to his favourite surf spotthe world class wave at Shippies, Ahipara

Chad’s proudest career highlight was painting the Team New Zealand boats for the 2000 and 2007 America's Cup challenges. Where a team of guys went down to Auckland, stayed in motels and sprayed the boats for free “All the Kiwi tradies worked for free; there was no money, but we all wanted to work together to help bring the cup home and to honour of Blakey (Sir Peter Blake)” says Chad “It was great to experience the teamwork, the cameraderie, and being a part of history Add to that the spray work was challenging and the result was very satisfying”, recalls Chad

In 2012, owner Robert Auckett sold Opua Marine Painters to Far North Holdings and with a new house and young family, it was uncertain times ahead for Chad Contrary to expectations, Chad was in demand not only for his skill set but also his extensive customer following. The new owners were very aware of Chad’s abilities not only in the paint shop but also his mana with the people around him at work and in the community and therefore offered him a management position. It took some encouragement since Chad wasn't the ‘business card, laptop, email’ kind of guy. “I love spray painting boats and class myself as one of the best, I made my living with my hands and a spray gun, I’m not a manager” recalls Chad.

Chad took the position on agreed terms and brought to the role his exceptional leadership skills that he had naturally developed over the years “Customers always come first; without them our trade wouldn’t exist” states Chad. Then his focus is on his team who he considers are his extended family. “I say to the guys if I spend an hour a day with my kids and eight hours with you - then we have to make it work and make it easy” says Chad.

Chad’s people and leadership skills are a reminder of how a team as one, can achieve great things. In Chad’s words, “The pecking order is very flat, and everyone has a part to play, you get the best people doing their job, on time and to 110% of their abilities. Sure, mistakes can happen, but we always learn, and mistakes can often be opportunities - I have just two simple rules; first come and tell me straight away and secondly mistakes should never be repeated”.

What drives Chad is to achieve exceptional quality, on time and to budget However, he goes further “I want my team to enjoy their work, keep learning and have fun That’s what keeps us tight, and the results keep the customers very happy Plus, we love the more challenging projects, they get us thinking as to what’s possible and honing our skill set to new levels”, reflects Chad “We will deliver whatever the customer wants from budget to world class It always comes back to the customer, what do they want - all our jobs are a combination of budget and time From an open cheque book to getting a job done at the right price, and always keeping in mind no job is the same”, Interestingly Chad pauses and reflects “no one is irreplaceable but experience counts”.

Chad is passionate about spray painting. If you have any ideas for your boat, whether large or small, feel free to contact Bay of Islands Marine Painters and ask for Chad by name.

Get your boat ready for next season! Bay of Islands Marina presents an exceptional Winter Boat Servicing Offer that will prepare your boat early - at great value. Here's your chance to experience our exceptional facilities and friendly, helpful customer service

the deal - what you need to know about this fantastic offer:


In-Water Servicing: Bring your boat into the marina during the winter months of July and August and take advantage of in-water servicing of your boat such as cleaning, plumbing, painting, and engine maintenance (trade deals to be announced)

2. Extend Your Stay: Pay for 5 days of in-water servicing and enjoy an extended stay of 7 days. That’s two extra days to ensure your boat is shipshape!

3. Boatyard Bonus: Once you’re ready to come out of the water, head to the boatyard. Receive a no-charge waterblast and again, pay for 5 days but enjoy 7 days of boatyard time.

4. Exciting Draw: As an added bonus, every participant gets a chance to win their Propspeed application and a coat of Antifoul refunded. Imagine your boat with enhanced performance and a fresh hull!

To get this great deal, book your boat here in before the 1st July


The Duder Cup

The Ultimate


TherearesomanyoptionsforInternationalCruiserswhenitcomestocruisingtheSouthPacific.Oftenwesee peoplewhozoomstraightthroughandmissoutonsomeofthebestbits!Ourrecommendation-don’trushand makethemostoftheprevailingwinds.Here’sasuggestedSouthWestPacificitineraryforboatsheadingfrom Panamainthisdirection-Watchthevideoanimationhere

Year 1

March CrossfromPanamatoFrenchPolynesia

April ArriveFrenchPolynesia(unlessyou’vegotalongstayvisaoranEUpassportyou’veonlygot 90daystoexplorethisincredibledestination).


July CookIslands

August SamoaandorNiue

September Vava’u-Tonga-checkouttheBlueWaterCruisersFestival

October Ha’apai,Tongatapu,Minerva,NewZealand

Stop in NZ to escape cyclone season - enjoy tax free repairs on your boat, Or Join the South Island Rally to sail south to explore incredible Fiordland or head home for Christmas.

The Ultimate




Year 2

May JointhePacificRallytosailbacktoFijiorbacktoTonga

August Vanuatu-jointherallyeventsthroughoutVanuatu

September NewCaledonia

October BundabergAustraliaontheGoWestRally.

December SydneyHarbourtowatchthestartoftheSydneyHobartRaceandfireworksonNewYears Eve

Australia is another great place to stop for a while with great boat repairs and places to leave the boat while you explore ashore or head home and of course some excellent cruising grounds too!

Year 3

January Tasmania-JointheVDL-CCruise

February CruiseslowlybackuptheEastcoastofAustralia,enjoythestunningWhitsundaysandthen OnwardstoAsiaoralternativelycrosstheTasmanandheadbacktoNewZealandto enjoyexploringwiththeSouthIslandRally

May OrreturntothePacificontheGoEast-PacificRallytorevisittheplacesyoumissedor . enjoyedthefirsttimeround.

October BacktoNewZealandorAustralia-bothgreatplacestoendyourjourneyandsellyourboat. Or carry on doing circles in the Pacific or continuing on around the world!

out all the details of the
Pacific Rally

New Caledonia Groupama Race is a 654NM sailing race around New Caledonia. The start of New Caledonia Groupama Race, including all categories (open, double, and cruising), will take place on Sunday, June 9th, 2024.

Since its creation in 2008, the New Caledonia GROUPAMA RACE has enthused sailors, the public and commercial partners.

It is a dream course; a circum navigation around New Caledonia for monohulls and multihulls in racing or cruising mode, with crews full or short-handed. Sailors navigate among reefs, atolls and small islands that are part of the protected World Heritage listed site, passing turtles, whales and other sea life over the 1200km course.


Behind the breathtaking scenery the New Caledonia GROUPAMA RACE is a challenging and very tactical offshore and coastal race, offering navigators a variety of options: head offshore or run along the coast, often close to the reef. Add to this changeable weather plus swell and ocean and tidal currents, and there are plenty of sleepless nights for committed sailors. When the tradewinds are in, the New Caledonia GROUPAMA RACE is the perfect and world’s longest windward /leeward race; 300nm surfing along the east coast under spinnaker then 300nm upwind along the west coast. This ideal scenario hasn’t played out in recent editions with mixed conditions on offer. The wind might be south-east trades or strong westerlies, but the water over the deck is always warm !

Funny race on 5th June.

Departure on 9th June.

Prize giving ceremony on 15th June.

Journey to La Solitaire du Figaro

I'm Ben Beasley, a 23-year-old Kiwi offshore solo sailor about to embark on the exhilarating journey towards the start line of La Solitaire du Figaro 2024, aboard the sleek Beneteau Figaro 3 based in France.

Sailing has been my lifelong passion. At the age of 9, My parents, who are nonsailors, took me down to a 'have a go' day and I was hooked. I first set sail on an Optimist, knowing instantly that it would become a pursuit for years to come.

Picture me, navigating from Maraetai sailing club to Waiheke Island and back, imagining I was in the open ocean. Despite encountering challenges like dyslexia and schoolyard bullying, sailing became my refuge, shaping me into the resilient individual I am today.

I went through the clubs moving from Optimist to 29er to the Starling and P Classes then moved to the Yacht Squadron's training programme Then I managed to buy my own boat an Elliot 7 9m (Moving Violation) which I managed to race Round North Island when I was 19."

Last year, I sold Moving Violation and self-funded most of my solo racing campaign, spending 8 months in France, where I qualified and completed all stages of the 2023 race: La Solitaire du Figaro Paprec. Starting from Caen on Normandy's Channel coast over the three stage, three week 1850 nautical miles race between Caen to Piriac-surmer via stops in Kinsale in Ireland and Roscoff in northern Brittany. This experience only fuels my determination to leave a lasting impression not just as a proud New Zealander, but as a young sailor eager to prove that dreams can indeed materialize with hardwork and dedication

Follow Ben on Facebook

My plan this year is to participate in The Solitaire du Figaro. Starting in August, this race is one of sailing's most gruelling and extreme races, in which the best offshore sailors battle over 2000nm, solo. Every boat is exactly the same, which creates a racing fleet where the results are all down to the skippers. It will fulfil the first part of a long held dream to complete the toughest multi stage one design offshore race there is.

My aspirations extend beyond the horizon, with long-term goals including participation in the 2026 Route du Rhum on a Class 40 and setting sail for the start of the Vendee Globe aboard an Imoca 60

With your generous support, I can devote myself fully to training and competing, and potentially showcase your brand through a mutually beneficial partnership rooted in shared values

Together, let's ignite a spark of inspiration in the hearts of future sailors while championing environmental conservation and empowering youth. If you're curious to learn more about my campaign or wish to join forces in support of this journey, don't hesitate to reach out or make a donation on my Give A Little Page. Every dollar helps me get a couple of steps closer to achieving this dream! Thank you so much!


Greg Luck has been a frequent contributor to the Down Under Rally Magazine He has released a new third edition of Cruising the Queensland Coast, his guide for yachts cruising from the Gold Coast to Lizard Island.

While cruising in 2023, Greg was struck by the number of cruisers who had adopted Starlink. The cheapest way to use it is on the Roam plan, designed to work over land. At sea, the very expensive Maritime plan must be used. Starlink “land” includes many islands and some reefs using a hexagonal tiling system. It can be hit and miss as to whether an anchorage or mooring is on “land” or sea for Starlink. New in the 3rd edition, each anchorage and mooring includes a Starlink icon to indicate land or sea.

Along with a print edition, the book comes as an eBook for tablets. However, the big players support a limited number of countries, and usually not the overseas territories of those countries such as Noumea or Tahiti. This has been a problem for some cruisers. The 3rd edition adds Rakuten Kobo, which supports 244 countries and overseas territories with excellent coverage for the Pacific.

The third edition is fully updated with:

•many new public moorings for the Townsville, Discovery and Cassowary coasts and the Whitsundays

•new anchorages, taking the total to 503 anchorages and moorings

•new public pontoons

•updates to the K’Gari Coast for the new Great Sandy Marine Park management plan

•Starlink land versus ocean status for each anchorage, mooring and marina along with the Telstra mobile reception

•digital TV reception strength for each anchorage

•latest marina changes including comprehensive information on super yacht berths and resultant marina berth layout changes

•S63 official Hydrographic chart references for each coast and how to use Australian Hydrographic charts on apps and chart plotters along with other navigation data sources

•expanded coverage of the Gold Coast and Moreton Bay

•recalculated wave roses for recent Waverider buoy placements such as the Wide Bay Bar

•higher-resolution aerial images and photos in the print version

•numerous other changes and updates

Down Under Rally and Island Cruising members get a 10% discount on the print book and a 20% discount on the Google Play Books eBook. Contact Greg at book@curlewescape.com.au with your member number to get a discount.

Royal New Zealand Navy to trial uncrewed,

renewablepowered vessel

Last week, the Royal New Zealand Navy launched an Uncrewed Surface Vessel (USV) which begins a period at sea in Auckland to test its operational capabilities.

Named Bellona after the RNZN’s post-war Cruiser, it is 6.8 metres long and utilises solar, wind and wave energy to generate up to 5 knots of propulsion power which will allow the vessel to remain at sea indefinitely conducting a range of maritime taskings.

Bellona will initially operate during the day in Auckland Harbour escorted by Navy personnel in a RHIB before it undertakes overnight sailings in the Hauraki Gulf where it will be constantly monitored by staff in a control room at the Devonport Naval Base.

The size of the USV will make it immediately identifiable (via visual or radar) to sail craft, motor boats, ferries etc who encounter it on the water. However, caution should always be exercised when in the immediate vicinity of the vessel.

Bellona is equipped with navigational lights. AIS and an array of sensors which will allow both safe and effective control of the vessel, and identification of other water users. The sensors include radar and 360 degree electro-optic and infra-red cameras, which gives the operator very good awareness of the vessel’s immediate environment.

You can read the full story on Navy’s USV at this link -


Well rested skippers & crew make better decisions and are generally much nicer people to be around on a boat. So how do you achieve that? Give them a good safe, comfy dry bed and this all starts with the mattress...

Thankfully one of our Island Cruising & Down Under Rally partners specialises in this! Eco Marine Bedding can supply our members with the Flexima Nautic Boat Mattress. As an added bonus Provide us with your Island Cruising & Down Under Rally Membership number and receive a complimentary Tencel fitted sheet set (fitted sheet, top sheet and 2 pillowcases) valued at $380 when you purchase your new Flexima® mattress from Eco Marine Bedding *Membership must be current at the time of placing your order

Designed and built to address the unique challenges of the marine environment

Moisture and mould, lack of access to storage space, a corrosive salty environment and a hard bed base –FLEXIMA® mattresses are the ONLY mattresses that have been purpose designed and build have been purpose built and specifically designed to address the unique challenges of the marine environment

As lifelong sailors at Eco Marine, we also understand your boat mattress is more than just a place to sleep – it’s also a place to sit, relax, read, play, work and even eat, providing it with more opportunities to get soiled.

Features & benefits of a FLEXIMA® Nautic boat mattress

Luxurious comfort -unique 7 zone spring system can be configured to your comfort level

Hypoallergenic – antimicrobial and antibacterial TENCEL®covers

Easy to clean – removable and machine washable cover

Easy to carry – side carry handles, flexible springs and light weight make it unexpectedly easy to fold and transport through companion ways and stairways

Long lasting – our cold set polyurethane foam is the same foam used in luxury car seats

Award winning design – metal-free long lasting synthetic spring system cannot rust

Customised support – enjoy the different levels of support you require for your head, neck, shoulders and back

Choice of firmness & thickness – long lasting cold cured foam available in regular and firm

Self-aerating – cavities in foam core provide excellent ventilation anytime you move on the mattress, keeping it cool and dry

Storage access – we can make your mattress in segments

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Life's currents shift unexpectedly, demanding difficult decisions from even seasoned sailors. Whether time, family or health constraints push you ashore or a new vessel beckons, entrusting your yacht to a delivery skipper is a critical choice. After all, she's more than just fibreglass and teak; she's an extension of your adventures.

If the winds of circumstance demand a delivery skipper, choosing the right one becomes paramount. Fear not, intrepid captain! This guide equips you to find the perfect delivery partner.

Understanding Your Needs

First, acknowledge your reason for seeking a skipper. Be transparent with potential skippers. This allows them to tailor their approach and plan effectively. Remember, rapport is key as you'll entrust this person with your precious vessel.

Consider how you'd feel communicating daily – can you sleep soundly knowing they're in charge? Open communication is paramount, so choose a company that prioritizes it from the very beginning.

Discuss your expectations for the journey. A company that actively listens sets the stage for a smooth collaboration.

Experience Beyond Mileage

Don't be solely swayed by overall mileage. While extensive nautical miles translate to valuable knowledge, not all miles are created equal. 20,000 miles might sound impressive, but if they're all Panama-toFiji trips, they may lack experience with the challenges you can encounter on passages further south.

Conversely, 10,000nm of coastal passages could indicate valuable experience.

Generally, a delivery skipper should have at least 50,000nm encompassing both ocean and diverse coastal navigation, particularly off the beaten path and in a variety of different vessels. Seek a skipper who's not just sailed far, but sailed diversely.

The Multifaceted Delivery Skipper

An experienced delivery skipper is unique. They board a vessel, conduct a meticulous inspection, provision for weeks, and depart within days for a voyage many spend months preparing for.

We wear many hats: diplomat, mechanic, engineer, rigger, weather forecaster, navigator, and even electrician. We possess a deep understanding of maritime regulations and confidently handle interactions with officials.

Peace of Mind with Technology

Some delivery companies leverage technology to enhance your experience. Imagine the comfort of receiving hourly updates on your yacht's speed, course, and position directly on your phone via satellite tracking. While this transparency is invaluable, remember: the constant updates can be quite addictive!

Preparing Your Boat for a Safe Delivery

We will check your safety equipment and ensure that your vessel is sound and well equipped to safely undertake the proposed voyage.

Choosing the Right Partner for Your Unique Needs

Navigating the options can be daunting, we are happy to talk you through any questions you may have.

We’ve got a team of qualified skippers and crew on our books and can offer flexibility and options to suit your timeframe.

For any delivery needs, big or small, Yacht Delivery Solutions is your one-stop shop. We boast a team of highly experienced skippers and crew with a proven track record of success on diverse routes. Delivering More Than Your Yacht, Delivering Peace of Mind

Contact Us For A Quote

“Hi Everyone!! I plan to leave New Zealand in June for the Pacific Islands. I have no sailing experience but really want to experiment, do you have any recommendations for finding a boat?”

If you follow any sailing groups on social media, no doubt you’ve seen this question posted over and over again...

I highly recommend that if you are keen to do some offshore sailing but you don’t have any experience as yet, that you invest some time, effort and money in to fulfilling your dream first. Not only will you enjoy the experience much more, you’ll be safer, have much more chance of getting picked for a trip, and you will be a far more useful crew member for the skipper.

If you are keen to do some sailing, then jumping on a boat for the first time for an offshore passage is probably not the best way to start. First of all - what if you get seasick? Being on a boat for a week or more and being seasick is no fun for you and is definitely not fun for the skipper who was looking for an extra pair of hands to help on the passage.

Secondly - an offshore passage is not for the faint hearted. It can be hard work - rough seas, wet, cold and uncomfortable at times, and to be a useful crew member you will need to know how to handle sails & lines, keep watch, steer, cook, clean, fix things, navigate at night and most importantly - keep yourself and the others on the boat safe, so everyone can get some rest.

Getting some experience on the water for a few hours at a time first is a great way to start your sailing adventures, and it is very important to test your sea legs! Visit your local yacht club and ask if they have sailing lessons or a crew list, or do a sailing course, or we can highly recommend Great Escape Sailing in the Bay of Islands or Sail Nelson in the Abel Tasman. You will get trained on how to safely crew on a boat and also get some qualifications for your sailing CV. You will enjoy your passage much more if you have got at least some basic skills and experience under your belt.

If you still love it - join the yacht club and crew for the race boats, or do some shorter coastal trips. People are always looking for crew, and it is a great way to quickly learn your way around different boats and test your sailing skills

Then you can also sign up as a member of Island Cruising & Down Under Rally, get some great discounts on other qualifications such as Offshore Medic, Advanced Sea Survival, VHF Radio Licence, and get some Navigation Qualifications, and some discounts on personal safety geargloves, wet weather gear, a lifejacket & a good headlamp. We will help you understand all the admin around going offshore, give you tips on preparing a sailing CV, and you can do our online Offshore Cruising Course to help learn all the other aspects around being an amazing crew member, including how to interview a skipper to ensure they and their boat are safe and prepared for the voyage ahead. We also have a CrewSeeker page where you can add all your details and be the first to know about all the crewing opportunities we have coming up. Crewing offshore is lots of fun and a great way to explore the world - but trust us - you will have much more fun if you cover some of the basics off first!

Island Cruising & Down Under Rally members get a 10% discount! Use the discount coupon code at the checkout Shop Now


Got a question?

Ask a Pirate...

Dear Captain Jack, I love hooning around in my dinghy through the anchorage and it is nice to see so many people waving their arms at me and calling out to me as I go past The other day my wife suggested I should slow down a bit, but I reckon she is being a bit pedantic, and I said I’d run it past you to see what your thoughts were? Yours Speedy Gonzalez

Ahoy there Mr Gonzalez

Thanks for your message Did you know that the fastest way to become a real pirate is to drive your dinghy crazily around the anchorage, or in the dark without a light and not wearing a life jacket or the kill-cord, so well done you are on the right track for becoming a fully fledged crew member on board the Black Pearl and you won’t even need to wear a special costume to the Pirate Party at Musket Cove Regatta week!

My old mate Captain Hook was hooning around the anchorage as a child and wasn’t wearing the kill cord on his dinghy motor, Anyway a huge wake came out of nowhere, threw him out of the dinghy, and while he was in the water the dinghy whipped around at top speed and completely took his arm off! You should have seen all the blood it was amazing. The sharks loved it, and he is almost used to having a hook instead of a hand now. If you’d like to see some gruesome examples of what kind of pirate-like injuries you can get by not wearing your kill cord on your dinghy click here or search “Propeller Injury Pics” on Google. Its pretty awesome the amount of damage those props can do in a short period of time I tell ya!

As for the people waving and yelling at you, they’re probably a bit concerned that you are going to run over the people swimming nearby, and perhaps take off their leg or an eye - for some reason, not everyone wants to look like a pirate, and the dinghy wake can often spill people’s dark & stormy’s, and we all know that blood and rum creates a bit of mess on the deck. So it sounds like your wife already knows the rules that officially its 5 knots within 50m of another boat or within 200m of the shore

In many places in NZ or AU, you’ve legally got to wear a lifejacket when you are in a dinghy, but in the Pacific where there are no regulations like this you can make your own decision if you wear one or not. I am sure you probably don’t need to worry about drowning, I imagine that you and your wife are a really strong swimmers, and you’ll probably be fine if you fall out and have your arm chopped off by the prop. It is a good idea to take a torch or have a dinghy light when you go ashore for sundowners too - it helps you to see the other dinghies who haven’t taken their light - but perhaps they’re keen to become peg legged pirates too A VHF and some oars can also come in handy if you run out of fuel and get blown offshore you can also use them for firewood when you end up on a deserted island, although I heard from a guy Bligh at the pub the other night that sailing from Tonga through Fiji to Timor in a dinghy is possible but not that much fun. Good luck.


events 2024

March - Japan Yacht Rally

14 - 17 March - Auckland Boat Show

15 - 17 March - Women on Water - Gulf Harbour Yacht Club

5 - 7 April - Women Who Sail Australia - Gathering on the Bay

5 May - Island Cruising Pacific Rally first group departs for the South Pacific

9 June - Groupama Race - New Caledonia

10 July - Island Cruising Rally - Lau Group Entry TBA

1 - 4 August - Sydney Boat Show

August - Vanuatu - Pacific Rally Gathering

September - Fiji - Musket Cove Regatta

October - Blue Water Festival Tonga

12 October - Americas Cup starts in Barcelona

15 October - Island Cruising & Down Under - GOWest Rally returns to New Zealand or Australia

November - Bundaberg Welcome Week

27 November - 1 December - Bay of Islands Cruisers Festival

Showing in cinemas at the Ocean Film Festival in March in Australia & NZ Buy your tickets here! Watch the trailer here

Offshore Marine Medic

Two-dayOffshoreMedicalCoursecustomisedtoprovidestudentswiththebasicsrequiredfor OffshoreCruisingCoursealsocoversahandoveroftheOffshoreMedicalKit(CAT1)andhowto useit.




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For Sailors

Thefreedomofbeingabletosailwhereveryou wantisoneofthegreatestthingsabout cruisingthissummer.Youcanfollowweather patternsorcoastlines,meanderyourwaytoa setdestinationorjustfollowyournoseandsee whereyouendup.

Justaslongasyoucanfindamooringora placetoanchor...

ForPeterKershaw,atriparoundtheBayof Islandspiecingtogetheravailablemooringson thefly,postingonFacebookpagesandasking localsforhelp,madehimthinktheremustbea betterway.

Peterdecidedtocreateanonlinebooking platformthattookcareofallthedetailsand madeiteasierforyachtiestoplansailingtrips.

WithMooringbnb,youcanseeavailable mooringsanywhereinNewZealand,andbook themwithoutneedingtogoonshore.It’sa much-neededupgradeofthetraditional bookingsystem,givingsailorscertainty, convenienceandcompliance.

There’snoneedtocheckmooringsizelimitsor notifytheharbourmaster-alltheconditions andlogisticsaretakencareofwithinthe bookingplatform.

To find out more, head to: www.mooringbnb.co.nz

Pacific Rally 2024





first departure - may 2024 or choose your own departure date

register now on our website




With 8000 miles from Panama to Australia and thousands of unique islands and atolls to visit along the way, one season is simply not enough time to truly explore the South Pacific Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia are destinations in themselves and deserve much more than a fleeting visit.

We strongly advocate spending at least 2 seasons in the South Pacific to really experience all the variety that the region has to offer It’s a long way to come and for many a once in a lifetime opportunity


Irrespective of how fast or slow your pace, when November approaches most cruisers will be considering their options for the cyclone season. Some cruisers spend the summer in Pacific Islands, but they are playing with the odds as well as enduring the heat and humidity of the wet season.

Many more look forward to a break from the islands for a while, and New Zealand is the logical destination for a cyclone break, especially if you are returning to the Pacific Islands for a second season


As an island nation, New Zealand's maritime traditions are deep rooted - from the earliest Polynesian settlers who migrated across the mighty Pacific, and the Europeans who voyaged from the other side of the world

Dependent on the sea for trade and communications, New Zealanders were forced to build seaworthy, reliable boats and to develop a deep understanding of seamanship No part of New Zealand is far from the coast and, from its thousands of bays and coves, New Zealanders venture forth from an early age in all manner of boats.

Our largest city, Auckland, is known as the 'city of sails' and is the host city for the next America’s Cup Regatta The oftenquoted statistic is that there are more boats per capita in New Zealand than anywhere else in the world In 2014, Auckland had over 135,000 registered boats, or one boat for approximately every 11 of the 1.45 million people living there. Unlike other parts of the world, sailing in New Zealand has never been an elitist pursuit.

Many of New Zealand's top sailors began their careers in boats that emerged from hours of devoted labour in garages and backyard sheds

The late Sir Peter Blake, for example, whose sailing successes included the America's Cup, Whitbread Race and Jules Verne trophy, tested his mother's patience and ruined her flower beds by building his first boats in the family garden Boat designer Bruce Farr, whose yachts have won most of the world's top yachting silverware, first produced lightning fast dinghies and skiffs in the family shed

“New Zealand is a wonderful country for sailors. The Bay of Islands Is a world-class cruising area, and many folks never get any further. Whangarei is also a large cruising center, and there are excellent haulout yards “

Jim Corneman – Letters from the South Pacific


Naturally the voyage from the Pacific Islands to New Zealand is always taken with a bit of trepidation, especially for firsttimers For most cruisers, it is the first time sailing out of the predictable trade winds for many months, these concerns can be exacerbated by a lot of the misinformation that tends to circulate in cruising circles.

A common one that is often heard being repeated is; “to get to New Zealand you have to face the notoriously dangerous Tasman Sea twice”

We would just like to take this opportunity to correct this misinformation by providing some navigational re-education to those that disseminate this

The Tasman Sea is in-fact a section of the southwestern Pacific Ocean, between the south-eastern coast of Australia and Tasmania to the west, and New Zealand on the east Most cruisers heading to the East coast of New Zealand from the Pacific Islands will not encounter the Tasman Sea.

With modern forecasting and a flexible timeframe, the trip from the Pacific Islands to New Zealand and return can be spectacular, with many yachts opting to stop at North Minerva Reef for an incredible mid ocean reef experience


Weather develops in two areas that will affect the passage this time of year One is from the south west; systems form to the east of Australia moving up and across the Tasman Sea The other is from the north west; in the Coral Sea off the north eastern Australian coast where tropical depressions form, possibly growing to cyclones.

Therefore, it is important like with all ocean crossings, to wait for a good weather window before departing on the 1200-mile journey.


New Zealand boasts some of the most creative and dynamic marine industry professionals in the world, our boatbuilders are world renowned and we pride ourselves on using quality products and providing exceptional service

It is a great place for major projects with sailing-oriented marine services of all descriptions available at an affordable price

As international cruisers Customs will be provided with a temporary import permit for your vessel which will also enable you to get many things GST free automatically saving you 15% You don’t have to request a GST refund on departure or prove that your projects were completed less than 60 days before you leave!


The northern part of the North Island is geographically subtropical and the southern part of the South Island is very close to the Southern Ocean and the sub-Antarctic islands. For this reason, New Zealand offers a unique cruising experience contained within only 1000 miles of coastline between the two islands

Coastal cruising is very easy with thousands of excellent sheltered anchorages within a short distance of one another and plenty of very affordable marinas throughout New Zealand

Take the opportunity to do short day hops between anchorages and explore some of our fantastic hiking, safe in the knowledge that our wildlife cannot harm you…… shoes optional!

Our sub-tropical waters also offer excellent swimming, snorkelling and diving with unique marine environments to experience and no need for stinger suits here!

For the New Zealand summer – November though to April –large high-pressure systems tend to dominate the country, giving settled weather with light north-easterlies


You don’t have to take our word for it, there is plenty of independent and unbiased information available online from fellow cruisers

Read the following report from cruising family who have recently completed the Tonga to New Zealand passage and had a fantastic stop in Minerva Reef with 11 other cruising yachts:

https://sailingmirabella com/2019/05/12/passage-to-new-zealand/

If we could do it again, how would we do it?

This is a great retrospective article from cruisers who spent 2 seasons in the Pacific:

https://outchasingstars com/2017/11/07/cruising-south-pacific/

North Minerva Reef – A once in a lifetime opportunity for a mid-ocean reef stop:

https://www facebook com/pages/MinervaReefs/139017926117334

For some great information on passage planning to New Zealand, see this informative article on Noonsite

https://www noonsite com/report/passage-planning-from-the-swpacific-to-nz/

Join our Sail South Rally or Pacific Rally in 2024 and enjoy all that New Zealand has to offer!

With a friendly boating mad team always on hand to offer practical advice, tips, and make product recommendations, we’ve got the answer for you. Our chandlery will ensure you get back out on the water, faster!

For any boating problems, come see the team at All Marine.

Always on hand find that hard-to-find boat part you’ve been searching for – even if it’s not on our shelves – we’re sure to know where to find it. Priding ourselves on stocking our great product range and having fantastic service, shop online or come on down in store and have a yarn.

Don’t see what you need?

Give us a call, we’ll be happy to help.

09 438 4499

Check out our website here.

ISLAND CRUISING MEMBERS GET A GREAT DISCOUNT! Check your member's weekly newsletter for the discount code
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Voyage Preparation & Mindset

What good is knowledge learned through experience If not shared?

Feelings of uncertainty and imposter syndrome when one is in a position of authority is a very common problem! I remember experiencing these feelings when I started skippering my first yacht I really wanted to know the essential nuggets of knowledge for running a boat smoothly so that it could be a less stressful and more enjoyable experience on-board, but I didn’t know what knowledge I really needed for this! I was also afraid to ask others because I would be looked down upon as someone who just needed to gain experience and who shouldn't be a skipper without knowing what they knew first.

As an emerging skipper I really wanted my crew to trust me but I didn’t fully trust my abilities myself, and I had nobody to support my decisions. I felt that I had to “fake” my confidence and “suck it up” so that they didn’t see what I was going through. This made me feel even less confident when I stalled on decisions that I could have been better prepared for with experience. I had done all my sailing courses which helped with the practical knowledge of how to sail, navigate and be prepared for going sailing. I had also done about 5000 Nautical miles at that stage, sailing under other skippers who had their methods, but some of their methods didn’t align with me fully and I knew I wanted to do things differently but didn’t know how to

When I look back now on a 12 year sailing career and the ongoing recreational sailing I have done, I have to say that they were right! Time “at the helm” was a great way to learn the ins and outs of what it takes to become a good skipper, but it wasn’t the only way One can learn a lot by asking those who have been through those situations before despite the discomfort this may require or fear of being seen as incompetent. It helps to formulate awareness for when something similar happens to you. By “priming” my mind by asking better questions, I would have been able to avoid more close calls and shorten the learning curve. I also I feel that if I knew what those questions were that I needed to ask, I could have cut my learning curve and stress in half, both in the areas of personal development in being a better skipper for my crew, and in my practical application of skills and knowledge required.

What I didn’t realize at the time was how much my abilities would continue to be tested even after I finally did take command. The anxieties and fears were new to me and I felt a lack of confidence in the ever changing scenarios that came my way, I didn’t have anyone to turn to for support and all I could do was trust and hope that I would be able to make good decisions when the situations arose. When you are the captain, there is generally nobody to turn to for help You are legally, according to maritime law, “second in command under God” Knowing that every decision I made would embody the experience of all on board as well as their safety being my responsibility heightened my anxiety and necessarily my situational awareness This is the main reason that I decided to offer instant at sea support and decision validation to cruising sailors looking to have someone to bounce ideas off of

The complexity of undertaking an ocean passage is something that requires much planning and preparation, the mental and emotional preparation was something that came at a slower pace and developing the tools to make those ocean crossings a very enjoyable, safe process without it being an either/or scenario became more refined after having done it for many years.

These are things that you don’t learn in sailing school, they are generally learned through life experience and your intuition gets attuned to living in this way. For this reason I have made it an option for people to reach out and get assistance through the passage planning and preparation process.

It takes more than just practical skills and experience to be a good skipper and by association, a good leader. When you dedicate yourself to a path of personal development, you also enrich the experience of sailing for yourself and everyone else on board. Whatever your goal when sailing, this is fundamental to getting the best possible outcome

I have come to learn that Seamanship is also an attitude that can be learned before stepping foot on a boat and this is one of the topics I talk more about in my Ultimate Voyage Prep course I do believe that life experiences can be taught to those willing to be receptive, thus shortening the amount of time required to have to learn from your own mistakes and giving you more confidence in the process The tools for being able to shortcut the learning curve in the thinking process required to be an amazing skipper are teachable skills too. It surprises me how many sailors don’t want to part with their knowledge, there is a feeling that they have worked to know what they know and their experience somehow makes them superior, because they have “gone through” the hard stuff and survived and so should you if you want to elevate your knowledge and skills.

I really believe that knowledge gained through experience is better shared, it is an efficient way to evolve as a collective species and especially important when that experience can add safety to people at sea. With the willingness to evolve and grow into a better skipper and crew member, coaching can help to build confidence, mental, emotional regulation and mental fortitude in preparation for long voyages. Here is a short summary of what you have just read:

The feelings of imposter syndrome and the desire to feel more relaxed and competent are normal, they should be a prompt to gain your own experience and bridge the gap with knowledge gained through experience of others

Asking better questions is the powerful tool you have available to overcoming future potential problems Personal development makes you a better leader, skipper and human being It is worth the journey if you want to live an enriching fulfilling life.

You have to trust your judgement in order to inspire trust in others.

Asking for guidance and support is not a sign of weakness, it is wisdom.

Life experiences can be taught to those willing to be receptive.

Mindset is everything

If you'd like some more help with your voyage preparation and getting into the right mindset as a skipper or crew member, I offer sailing voyage preparation and mindset coaching courses to help. Please get in touch.


+64 224 042 326

In Memory Of Raymond La Fontaine

When you read the intro on Ray's Facebook page he describes himself as.. “Humanitarian, Captain, founder, CEO, Dad, Designer, Builder and Grandfather”. I knew that Raymond La Fontaine, but I would add the following...

“Visionary, Entrepreneur, Generous, Friend & Bloody Good Bloke! “

On Australia Day this year I had been chatting with my mate Raymond La Fountaine of Marina Del Ray Indonesia via WhatsApp, little did I know this would be the last time I would do so.

On the 28th of January, I received the news that Ray had suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage (bleeding in the space that surrounds the brain) as well as a bleed deeper in his brain. Ray was also diagnosed with hydrocephalus (a buildup of fluid in the ventricles deep within his brain) and was fighting for his life in an Indonesian hospital

On the 20th of February 2024, despite the best efforts of his family and friends to get Ray the care he desperately needed, my mate and friend to many a yachtie who has visited Indonesia, Raymond La Fountaine made his final passage.

To say I am sad about Ray's untimely passing is an understatement and by way of a tribute to him, I would like to share some of his life story beginning at the time I first met him. The story begins much like many of our own, with a dream of adventure, but as you will read it becomes a story of vision, personal sacrifice and incredible tenacity.

I first met Ray back in 2006 at the Southport Yacht Club. His yacht Basilea was moored in the visitor's berth at Southport Yacht Club, which at the time was on the main finger near the marina entrance. This meant that if you were heading to any berth on the marina you had to walk past Basilea. Now walking past Basilea anytime after 5:00 pm on any day meant that you could not help but witness a group of very happy people that seemed to be partaking in a continuous celebration of life.

It turns out that Ray and his partner were in Southport eagerly awaiting the end of cyclone season and the beginning of what was to be a circumnavigation of the world with the idea of surfing all the best waves. So what at the time seemed to be a never-ending party was only the beginning of a muchanticipated adventure! We (Leanne and I) were also planning our first ocean adventure and ended up joining the party aboard Basilea on more than one occasion. During this time a friendship with Ray developed and despite our losing touch for several years after his departure, we were once again in contact when I learned of his plans to build a marina in Indonesia.

Ray and I did not always share the same beliefs but one of the things I most liked about him was that he was willing to accept that we are each entitled to our own beliefs and he would not allow our differences to fracture our friendship. I, like many others, will miss Ray very much. He challenged and inspired me. A couple of years ago I suggested to Ray that he write the story of how Marina Del Ray came to be. By his own admission writing was not something he was comfortable doing so it took some encouragement to get him to do it but I am so happy he did. What follows is in Ray's own words (with just a few grammatical edits) the story of what I hope will be forever his legacy...

The History of Marina Del Ray Indonesia

In 2006 I set sail with the Sail to Indonesia from Darwin Australia, we automatically joined a rally as we met friends along our journey up the East Coast of Australia who told us that by joining the rally we would get easy entry into Indonesia.

After arriving in Kupang we saw a difficult situation unfolding with the security of my yacht SV Basilea

After clearing we hung around for a week bobbing up and down on anchor in Kupung, when we made our way to shore to see the sights or do shopping we were always worried about the security of our tender or the Yacht breaking anchor so we were never really relaxed, the bay was full of every type of vessel so we decided to leave the rally and go our own way.

We arrived at the northern Gili Islands with other friends on their yachts and had a wonderful time, some left on their way to Bali and onto Sumatra and eventually Malaysia whereas we ventured south of the Gili islands to the less discovered Southern Gili Islands where Basilea found an amazing safe natural anchorage tucked away on the lee shores of the prevailing south-easterly trades, it was bulletproof from the Northwest monsoons as well being protected by the largest of the Gili Islands called Gili Gede now known as Port Gili Gede which is surrounded by 12 other pristine islands most of which were more or less deserted.

Ray setting a mooring for Basilea at Gile Gede (2010)

The diving, fishing and surfing opportunities in the Gili Islands were easily as good as Flores and Komodo but without the hype and crowds.

We later ventured further around Lombok and backtracked to Sumbawa and witnessed beautiful sailing archipelagos that many rally participants missed on their way. It seemed they were always rushing to Malaysia and Phuket, influenced I believe by rally organizers who were perhaps incentivised by other rally organisers in Malaysia to keep the fleet moving.

Eventually, we too visited Malaysia and Phuket but at our own pace where we then spent three seasons sailing across the Malacca Strait to Banda Arche and then down to the Mentawai islands of west Sumatra.

It was here I witnessed what I believed as a Westerner was real poverty and beauty. I saw problems that I could try to solve, by creating a tourism business based on marine Infrastructure, like a marina that also helped sailors go their own way to Indonesia and have a safety net however, on several occasions where business, health or family commitments required me to travel I found it difficult to find a safe place to leave my beloved home Basilea.

This resulted in our always having to return to Malaysia or Phuket to find a safe harbour in a marina where the risks of the yacht being unattended were much less and where we hoped our insurance company would pay up in the event of an accident happening.

Paridise found.... Ray riding a perfect wave at Gile Gede Happy Days shared with friends surfing & cruising Indonesia

In 2009 after the breakup of a special relationship, I found myself sitting in Chalong Bay wondering what to do next and reading a news article about Indonesia wanting to build Marinas and open up its country for Investment in Sailing Tourism.

The article mentioned this was to be done by the then President issuing a decree that instructed its various ministries to make it possible for foreign investment to build Marinas. As a result, I began to think about Sumatra and Gili Gede as marina locations. I decided on the latter because it was close to known international airports like Bali and would be an easier political option than Sumatra.

The location that was chosen for Marina Del Ray

I then sailed for the last time via West Sumatra and was solo. On the way, Basilea hit a large log in heavy seas 100 miles from the Sunda Selat between Sumatra and Java. The yacht was slowly sinking, and I managed to do temporary repairs on the way, but that’s another story for another chapter in itself but for the purpose of this article, I will continue.

Eventually, I managed to make Batavia Jakarta where it took me four months to make seaworthy repairs, it was very difficult, the insurance company would not pay and finding a yard to haul Basilea and then make repairs was almost impossible.

After months, I eventually concluded my journey and arrived at the southern Gili Islands.

As I approached the lee of the islands the seas disappeared, and the winds abated. Turning the southern corner of Gili Gede’s cape between its southern end and mainland Lombok the bay was an incredible sight for a weary sailor. I weighed anchor in 17 meters and celebrated a challenging but successful voyage.

The Next Day a local named Sai paddled out to the yacht and asked what I was doing there, (Sai Later became the company's first ferry Captain of the Gili Gede Fast Boat that ran from Bali to the island). I explained that we were going to build a Marina which I now know would be the hardest task I have ever undertaken in my life.

In January 2010, I began the unenviable task of building Indonesia’s first integrated Marina.

For the Investment to be sure and to raise capital I knew I had to have the legal weight on our companies’ side. That involved six years of lobbying the government in Jakarta and all its agencies, none of whom ever read the President's decree. It involved many lonely sleepless nights in cheap hotels over the years commuting from my yacht on Gili Gede to Jakarta, I hardly spoke Bahasa and was unfamiliar with the Laws and customs of Indonesia.

Many people told me what I wanted to hear but not what was the truth and by sheer trial and error I managed to tick the boxes as Indonesia also began to change and create new laws to allow a marina to be foreign-owned and in the process make my dream become a reality.

One especially important law that was changed was a customs law allowing foreign goods to be temporarily imported for three years instead of three months. That law alone made the marina Investment make sense because foreign yachts under the law are seen as goods.

Eventually, in 2016 we received the first seabed license allowing our Indonesian company which was owned by our Australian company to occupy and attach a marina to the seabed. A milestone in Indonesia’s history. Once the company had the land and the sea bed license we were able to raise capital by selling equity in a business that had legal equity.

During this time we ran Marina Del Ray as a safe mooring facility and it was at this time I was able to teach the locals about our customer's needs, we also ran yachts for charter and ran our ferry business while we occupied premises on the other side of the island as small hotel and bay.

By the end of 2018, I had raised enough capital to break ground on the marina site. Because the island had no water or electricity it involved either power generation or a main supply that had been promised to the locals for years but never happened. As a threat or a reality, we put on notice to the electrical supply company that unless they supplied power we would use a mixture of cold power fuel and solar, we even designed the yacht club for the solar panels and built it that way. Eventually, the supply company installed a main cable to the island which our company basically funded by the huge fees they charged for connection to the Marina and the ongoing monthly costs just to have the privilege of the electricity that the marina and its 1000 residents enjoy now. Without the Marina investment things would still be as they were and remain that way.

Water was another critical investment as the government never had the money to supply town water to Gili Gede. Interestingly, the biggest cause of infant deaths in Indonesia is an unhealthy water supply and yet the government has never done anything to resolve that issue, despite way more deaths resulting from the poor quality of the water supply than the recent CORVID* (*deliberately misspelt by Ray).

In the end, our company purchased our own desalination facility, turning seawater into fresh drinking water and as of 2020 the marina has its own agriculture program to grow fresh produce that the locals can get involved in and sell to the marina patrons or use to assist in their own healthy existence.

The mooring field in the early days of Marina Del Ray (2016)

Construction of the Marina began in January 2018 and was concluded in October 2019 however before we could operate we needed another arduous license which was impeded by one of the existing foreign land owners of the island who wanted to keep its inhabitants poor to suit their own needs, despite the paid protestors the villages supported the marina and we began commercial operation in November 2019.

We had commissioned the construction of a larger and faster ferry service but at the time of writing (2010) this, is still plagued by jealousy and bureaucracy for its licenses by the Harbor Masters department which has a vendetta with a local boat construction company that is also affiliated with our Marina as a dockyard that provides repairs for our customer's boats.

By February 2020 we had reached an occupancy of 65% from yachts from all around the world, our Resort and Yacht Club was finished and our port clearance facility complete

A major setback occurred on March 12th 2020, the Marina was instructed by the Ministry of Sea Transport to close due to the threat of this coronavirus thing. After ten years of work and heartache and overcoming incredible obstacles we had been stopped by something outside our control Fortunately, the government has since reviewed its policy and seen that there is little threat of contagion (which we never saw any evidence of in Lombok or Bali despite what the media portrayed) we have since opened Port Gili Gede Marina Del Ray to all foreign yacht owners.

To this day our staff continue to strive to provide professional marine services and have earned a huge thank you from myself, the rest of Indonesia and our clients

When we lit the lights on our wharf, my staff whom I first met ten years before eyes filled with tears as did mine. A dream had been realised!

Bapak Jokowi the Honourable President of the Republic of Indonesia with founding owner and CEO Captain Raymond La Fontaine of Marina Del Ray formalizing the construction of Indonesia's first Marina Resort, clearance port and water sports mecca.

I dedicate the marina to my staff, my seven-year-old daughter back in Australia, my sons James and Mitchel, my father, our shareholders, and the thousand customers and friends who have supported me and helped my vision all those years ago to become a reality, you know who you are...

As a cruiser who fell in love with Indonesia, we have tried to build something at Marina Del Ray that provides a safe haven for sailors, a place to relax and enjoy our wonderful hospitality. We encourage other cruisers to ‘Go Your Own Way To Indonesia with Marina Del Ray’ without feeling the need to join a rally, to slow down and take time to explore the largest island chain in the world that has the best year-round climate without the threat of cyclones and experience a relatively inexpensive tropical island paradise and find a home away from home for you and your boat.

Raymond La Fontaine

21st July 2020.

Marina Del Ray Today

May it always be the legacy of the late Raymond La Fontaine

Marina Del Ray

Tanjungan Desa Gili Gede Sekotong

Lombok, Indonesia, West Nusa Tenggara

Phone: +62 877-7676-8877

Website: www.marinadelray.co

Email: operations@marinadelray.co

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