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New Zealand - Explore on a Tall Ship

New Zealand in 2013

British tall ship Lord Nelson is sailing around the world from 2012-2014, including an extended period in Australia and New Zealand. In addition to her ocean legs and Australia to New Zealand Tall Ships Race she is spending a couple of months in New Zealand (Oct 2013-Dec 2013)  to offer coastal hopping voyages, so both travellers and able bodied and disabled crews from host countries can have the opportunity to sign on as ships crew.

See our New Zealand and Australia Brochure

Sydney to Auckland Tall Ships Race 2013

Join the International Tall Ships Race from Sydney to Auckland in October 2013 on Lord Nelson or Dutch tall ships Europa and Oosterschelde.

Europa is a 330 ton barque and Oosterschelde is a three masted topsail schooner.  Both are renowned for ocean sailing, multi national crews and seeking out remote and beautiful places to sail. The worling language on both ships is English.

Visit two great countries for a real adventure on the other side of the world.

Just imagine sailing out of Sydney Harbour with a fleet of tall ships surrounding you. A long Tall Ships Race to Auckland where the celebrations will be designed to out do Sydney if I know what’s what about the New Zealanders.

New Zealand Sailing Schedules - all vessels

Lord NelsoTall Ship in New Zealandn - Coastal Exploration Voyages in NZ

The coastal voyages in New Zealand range from 7 to 10 days and are good value for money if you are planning to spend some time exploring North or South Island as part of a career break or GAP year.  Working alongside disabled crew as a buddy on a square rigger whilst exploring Haukari Gulf, or perhaps Cook Strait and Marlborough Sound would look great on any job CV after your travels. Equally if you have a disability and have always wanted to travel to New Zealand, then a few weeks living on a purpose built sailing ship with all meals included and a great bunch of people to explore with ashore might just give you the travel 'safety net' that makes it possible.

Lord Nelson - Coastal Voyages in New Zealand - Voyage Descriptions, dates & prices

Coromandel Peninsula & Hawkes Bay

The ever changing blue seas contrast with the rugged forest interior of the Coromandel Peninsula.  A gold rush in 1850's has now been replaced by a growing industry in crafts and artisan products, so look out for bone and greenstone carvings if you fancy yourself as a South Sea Sailor !

Hawkes Bay is the the fruit bowl of New Zealand and home to some great you might want to volunteer to help the cook stock up on provisions ashore.

Maori Ports &waka tiller Bay of Plenty Beaches

Whilst you are on a 10 day coastal voyage, remember the Lord Nelson is a British tall ship that has sailed half way around to explore New Zealand for the first time, and every bay and island anchorage is like a new discovery. When you take a dip in the sea you are in the South Pacific and many of the English names along the coast were named by Captain Cook.  Balance these thoughts with a growing understanding of the Maori culture and revel in the great mix of names you can write in your RYA logbook or journal - Wangamata, Tuaranga Harbour, Bay of Plenty, Cape Kidnappers, Cape Turnagain.

Raglan and Whale Bay - offer world famous surf breaks. Mercury Bay is where Captain Cook observed the transit of Mercury in 1769 is now a popular big game fishing port.  At sea, keep an eye out for tuna and other big game fish as they drive the smaller fish  into a frenzy.

Challenging Sailing in the Cook Strait

The ocean low pressure systems that whistle around the bottom of the globe are uninterupted by land except for the squeeze between Cape Horn and Antarctica and other narrow gaps that sit in the Roaring 40's latitude.  The Cook Strait is one of those notourious gaps.  Whilst it is exciting to sail in a good blow the Captain will be watching the weather very carfully to time his (or her - if it is Capt Barbera) passage around the corner to Wellington.

Marlborough Sounds on South Island, NZ

The Marlborough Sounds are a sailors paradise and New Zealands premier location for yacht charter....but you won't struggle to find empty anchorages. Formed by a network of submerged mountain valleys, islands and tranquil sheltered bays, bush-clad hills and there's over 1500-km of deep-water coastline to explore. The region is blessed with one the sunniest climates in the country.

Abel Tasman National ParkAbel Tasman National Park

Closer to the port of Nelson is the Abel Tasman National Park. white sand tropical beaches are backed by forests of tree ferns. The sea is a gorgeous turquoise but the water temperature is quite stimulating.  After your voyage you might want to try sea kayaking down this coast, walking the board walks of the coastal Abel Tasman trail or taking the local boat taxis which land you on the sandy beach.

Challenging Sailing Crossing the Cook Strait

The ocean low pressure systems that whistle around the bottom of the globe are uninterupted by land except for the squeeze between Cape Horn and Antarctica and other narrow gaps that sit in the Roaring 40's latitude.  The Cook Strait is one of those notourious gaps.  Whilst it is exciting to sail in a good blow the Captain will be watching the weather very carefully to time his (or her - if it is Capt Barbera) passage accross to the South Island and the inviting shelter of the Marlborough Sounds.  You may need to sail out into the Cooks Strait at the end of your voyage, or maybe take a short cut through French Pass South of D'Urville Island into Tasman Bay.


First Tall Ship built for disabled and able bodied crew

Lord Nelson was the first ship in the world to be designed and built to enable people of all physical abilities to sail side by side on equal terms. Facilities on board include wide flat decks for ease of movement around the ship, wheel chair lifts between deck levels, a hearing hoop, a speaking compass when required and hydraulic power assisted steering to enable people with limited strength or mobility to experience the thrill of steering a large sailing ship.

Lord Nelson heading for a squall

Each voyage is usually a mix of a couple of longer passages where you sail through the night, and shorter hops between ports or a scenic anchorage. Once at sea you are part of a watch so only on duty for 4 hours and then the next watch takes over. Watch duty day or night involves trimming sail and steering the ship under the stars and the watchful eye of the professional deck officers and voluntary watch leaders.  Some manouvres require 'all hands' to brace the yards or take in sail. Sometimes the ships boats are launched when sailing along in settled weather so you can take a photo of the ship under sail.  There are often lectures on board to teach you more about sailing square riggers.

Read more about Lord Nelson - the vessel

Read more about the Round the World Race


Auckland & Chatham Isles for Christmas

Lord NeLord Nelson in Force 9lson will be crossing the mighty South Pacific, dipping into the Southern Ocean and Rounding Cape Horn for the first time. At 60 days this is the longest Ocean Passage we have ever had. The intention is to stop at some islands on the way. Sail to the rarely visited Chatham Islands and Celebrate Christmas. From there it’s a long way to Ushuaia in Argentina but you have to pass Cape Horn on the way. Sixty days on board and incredibly good value.

This voyage on Lord Nelson is FULL but there is a short waiting list for a similar voyage on schooner Oosterschelde.


Auckland to Stanley in the Falklands on Europa and Oosterschelde.

If you want to become a true Cape Horner these are the voyages for you, and for me as I will be sailing on Europa.

To become a true Cape Horner you have to sail without the use of engine from further north than 50 degrees south on either side of South America going round Cape Horn and not through the Straights of Magellan. (To be honest it would be a miracle to sail through the Straights of Magellan without using an engine but that’s not the point of a Cape Horner.)

New Zealand Wildlife

Throughout the voyage we will see an abundance of sea bird life; Petrels, Gannets, Spotted and White Shags, Caspian Terns are common, and ashore on certain forest trails Fantails are seen and the Grey Warbler heard. The lookout’s perch at the bowsprit is a front row seat if we’re lucky to see the displays of Common and Bottlenose Dolphins who delight in dancing in our bow wave. This is a unique way of experiencing the Hauraki Gulf’s wonders that conventional tourism has missed.


October and November is spring time in NZ and the weather is variable, it can be snowy on Mt Cook and balmy in Auckland.

The North Island of New Zealand is sub tropical and your sailing area is on the East Coast, which is a bit more sheltered from the weather systems.

November is the last month of spring and only just outside the main summer 'tourist season' in New Zealand and is (arguably) one of the best months in which to visit. For fans of hiking and outdoor adventure, November weather is almost perfect and although packing layers (from light t-shirts to fleeces) is advisable, extreme weather conditions are rare. It can feel like spring, it can feel like summer – it would be rare for November's typical weather to spoil your trip.

December and January are the best of the NZ summer and even at sea the weather is usually warm, with light cotton shirts / shorts are sufficient during the day and a sweatshirt with jeans for evenings.  A hat, sun block and sunglasses are essential protection from sun over water.  If you love swimming in the sea then a snorkel and mask may be worth packing (or swimming googles as a travel light alternative).

New Zealand Anchorage


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