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April 2007
Here is one of our favorite photos from this years racing on Thelma. This is 109 year old Whitangi, charging toward the finish line in Auckland

Dear Friends:

Cruising has spun a wonderful web of friends through out our life. Way back in 1988 two interesting yachts sailed into the cove in front of our New Zealand home base. Andy and Pam Wall had met sailing friends of ours as they sailed through the Pacific. Those friends suggested the Wall's stop by and introduce themselves. Di and Harley were exploring hidden reaches of northern New Zealand on the 42 foot Hartley cutter Return which they built in their garden near New Plymouth, 500 miles south of Cape Reinga. They met the Wall's and decided to stop in North Cove too. The day after they arrived, the Mahurangi Cruising Club crowd and several other friends sailed in for the annual Easter Regatta. It was a week of fine partying and racing.

We came home from the Classics regatta with a new work list, including upgrading the halyard leads so Thelma's topmast would come down more easily.

Fond memories, relegated to the backs of our minds until we decided to take a few days off to visit WOMAD, a festival of music and dance from around the world. It is held in New Plymouth. We decided to call and see if Di and Harley were still living near there. In the usual Kiwi fashion, our call lead to an invite to share their wonderful hospitality as they too were looking forward to the three days of music. This gave us an excuse to take an interesting trip - and also be part of a campaign to save one of the most scenic train rides in New Zealand. So we booked on the Overlander, a train that runs from under the main plaza in downtown Auckland, over the central plateau then right into central Wellington. Traveling by train is definitely more elegant than by plane. The twelve hour ride was relaxing, the views were great, the service friendly but not luxurious compared to US trains. It would have been a pity if this service was scuttled as the government had planned due to low usage. But a word of mouth campaign got folks like us on the train and now it is over-subscribed and new carriages are being ordered to handle the increased usage.

Only in New Zealand. This old station wagon was kept from rusting away with this complete covering of corrugated iron. It was actually used by for several years by the artist before coming to be prominently displayed, muddy tires and all, at Te Papa, the national museum in Wellington as the front piece to New Zealand art and crafts

Three days in Wellington, a long lovely ride by rental car to the festival, then ten hours a day of music (with groups from 18 different countries including the spectacular Gotan Project from Argentina, we were surprised to find our favorites were a local group we'd never heard before the Mamaku Project - a wonderous mix of French and middle east influenced music and the smoothest jazz sax I've heard in years), the whole week flew by. This trip gave us a true sense of place, reminding us that New Zealand is more like a town than a country - with everyone and everything being much more inter-related than in places with far larger populations like the US or Europe.

At the Womad festival there was something for everyone, five different stages, two or three different concerts every hour.

. It also made us eager to get ourselves a van we can camp in to explore our adopted country in the future. Problem is - we have been spending every southern winter on board Taleisin in some summery place. So when we come back to enjoy the summer here in New Zealand our time is filled with regattas and catching up with local friends. These endless summers, filled with sailing activities make it hard to find time for land based ones.

There were five distinctly different stages set up just a short walk away from each other in the beautiful park under the towering volcano that dominates the Taranaki region.

Reality hit when we returned. Only three weeks to get ready to pack up - the time flew by with a milestone being - lifting the first boat ashore for storage in our boatyard. This is one small part of our long term cash flow plan - and now our neighbors have seen this 32 foot Etchells sitting comfortably ashore, we are having more enquiries. As we winterize the collection of boats we seem to have accumulated here for the winter, make sure the house and yard drains are running clear, we are also getting ready for the Easter regatta that is held at our dock and yard each year.

Young and old, few of the 12000 visitors could resist dancing to the music

. This year it looks like the fleet of model yachts will not be quite as big (10 instead of 12), the full size race yacht fleet appears to be doubling, and there is an additional day of dinghy racing. We host the event so along with packing up to fly out to rejoin Taleisin three days after the last race, we are enjoying the hustle and bustle of preparing for the invasion. What a wonderful way to end our summer here - this regatta has always given us lots of fun memories and an especially warm feeling about our own little island in the southern sun.

And they danced on hour after hour

Oh yes, on the work side - we have filled as many spare hours as we could doing research for a new edition of Storm Tactics Handbook. In doing research we came across John Harris site at about voyaging to Iceland on board his 55 footer, Morgan's Cloud. His discussion of getting his 55 footer to lay hove-to by effectively using a Galerider like we use a para-anchor makes interesting reading. www.morganscloud.com look at questions and answer section. His is only one of several new stories we will be including in the new edition, and with each new story our projected publication date gets set back a bit further.

The food was amazingly good too - local fishermen provided fresh mussels which were cooked and spiced before your eyes

All is ready for the BAADS raffle fund raiser at Strictly Sail in Oakland California. It seems to be turning into a party with at least a dozen friends letting us know they'll be coming along to sit on Taleisin and show visitors on board. We scrubbed her whole interior before we left her last October. So it should not be too much work getting ready for the show - and the voyage there is less than half a mile - but with luck we can take a few long tacks down the estuary and enjoy life afloat before securing her at the docks.

Good Sailing,
Lin and Larry






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