New Zealand Sailing The Big Trip

Sailing? You’ve gotta be joking

Sitting in a child's trailer
Written by Kirstie Pelling

From:        Kirstie
Date:         24th April 2005
Subject:    Sailing New Zealand? You’ve gotta be joking
Place:       Kerikeri, Bay of Islands, North Island, New Zealand

Sitting in a child's trailer

As we packed up one adventure Stuart broached plans for another….. but I had doubts

When one adventure ends, another begins

Kirstie Profile SmallAfter finishing our mammoth six month bike ride from one end of New Zealand to the other, you’d think Stuart’s appetite for adventure might be quenched. But now he has another impractical idea for a pregnant woman with two toddlers… No bikes this time, no he wants to learn to try sailing New Zealand style. 

Sailing? You’ve gotta be joking

“How about it then Kirst?”

“You’re not serious?”

“Course I am. What’s the problem?”

“The problem is that it takes years of sailing experience to skipper a yacht, while you think we can qualify in two days, and then take the damn thing out on the open sea.” I sighed, and lay back on to a crumpled sleeping mat. Sailing New Zealand? This had all the early warning signs of one of Stuart’s outdoor adventure schemes.

“Come on, it’ll be fun.”

“It’ll be the Titanic all over again. It’ll take me two days to learn how to tie a knot, let alone put the sails up, and I’m bound to drive us in to every hidden rock in the channel.”

“You’ll be fine. I’ll be in charge of the knots.”

“But who’s going to look after the kids?”

“We’ll take turns.”

Northern tip of North Island New Zealand- Sailing New Zealand

What head out there? With kids?

It’s just not practical

“Right, so while you’re steering the boat and tying the knots, and I’m up the mast trying to untangle the sails, we’ll be taking turns to examine the head injuries inflicted by flying cabin objects while playing hide and seek and warming up a pan of baked beans and sausages?”

“The children can stay in the cabin while we’re sailing and amuse themselves. We can keep an eye on them from the deck.”

“But what about the nightwatch…and I hope you’re not expecting me to get up and make the bread at four in the morning?”

“You’re not Tracey Edwards you know and we won’t be circumnavigating the globe. No nightshifts, no breadmaking, just you and me and the ocean.”

“And the kids.” I picked up my Thermarest and examined it for the hole that facilitated the removal of all the warm air between me and the hard cold ground overnight.

Cameron gave a honk on his ducks head hooter to indicate his approval of Dad’s boating plans, and Matthew looked up from the meccano set he was absorbed in, “Will we go sailing Dad?”

“I reckon so,” said Stuart with a surprising measure of certainty in his voice.

“Not a chance.” I said with equal certainty, smearing glue haphazardly over the Thermarest then massaging my camping back with gluey fingers in the hope of making the dull pain go away.

Kids camping under tarps

Kids camping under tarps

No way, not after last time

The first and last time Stuart and I put ourselves in charge of a sailing boat was shortly after we first met. For me the words “Shall we go sailing?” conjured up images of lying on Simon Le Bon’s Catamaran in a yellow bikini, drinking gin and tonic and soaking up the sun. But Stuart had something else in mind; the circumnavigation of a rather unpicturesque lake in Rickmansworth, dressed in cagoules to keep out the early morning cold.

“Ready about?” shouted my youthful boyfriend excitedly.

“Ready?” I cautiously confirmed, before being smacked squarely on the head by the swinging boom. Sailing really didn’t appeal, and I wasn’t about to get involved in all that malarkey again.

Looking out to sea North Island New Zealand

Although the kids do seem interested…

About the author

Kirstie Pelling

Kirstie is the Editor of The Family Adventure Project. A professional writer and poet, she's the creative and journalistic force behind many of the stories and features published here. She's a co-founder and co-director of The Family Adventure Project and also works as the #poetinmotion producing and performing poetry for print, video and live performance.


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We're Kirstie & Stuart. We share an adventurous spirit, a passion for indie travel and 3 kids. The Family Adventure Project is our long term experiment in doing active, adventurous things together. Find out more...


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