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October 1999

Dear Friends:

It was almost fifteen years ago, when we sailed through the South Pacific on board Taleisin that we found ourselves enchanted by a tiny cottage on a small island five miles off the shore of New Zealand. A jetty, a place to keep Taleisin floating alongside, a small workshop with a license for repair or boat building usage. "What a wonderful place to retire someday," one of us said.

Photo It is hard to believe it is over 15 years since we launched Taleisin, but here is proof, Halloween Day, 1983

To make a long story short, we bought it, spent five years working for money to pay for it, built 1300 feet of wooden seawalls to keep it all from melting away (but did manage two voyages to Australia during that time), then realized we weren't ready to retire. So we rented out the cottage and set off exploring again, looking at every new place we visited to see if we had made a mistake. As we explored Tasmania, Southern Australia, Africa, and Europe, we began to miss the friends we'd made down in NZ, and remembered the fun we'd had in the tiny boat yard. Slowly we became homesick, but never quite ready to sail back and settle down - too many places still to see. Well, finally this year we both decided we'd better make some long-term decisions, yet we were not ready to forgo exploring more of the U.S. east coast, some of Latin America, maybe another stop in Bermuda. So instead of rushing our voyaging life, we decided to put in on hold.

We put Taleisin in safe storage, floating in a very secure boathouse on the Potomac River, up a tiny creek with good caretakers. Her mast is out, her whole interior empty, and all our belongings stored in a rented home nearby. We flew to our home in New Zealand in mid-July to see if it still fit.

Photo She has taken us from sunny tropical clomates to cold and windy ones.

It has been a treat to be back at the place we now know is "homebase." Couldn't have chosen a better time. Lots of excitement with the APEC meeting (Asian Pacific Economic Conference), the Americas Cup (only 12 miles from our jetty to the racecourse.) Then there are the millenium celebrations which happen at the height of summer here in the Southern Hemisphere. Friends will be sailing in from all parts of the Pacific to share Thanksgiving with us, then at Christmas 2 weeks of parties starts here and ends at the Mahurangi River, nine miles away where fifty classic boats will gather for a Greet 2000 Breakfast.

And what is it like here? Our front windows are only five feet from a bay that seems to change every minute. A dozen boats on moorings, two ferries that run through the bay two or three times a day, something is always on the move since there are no shops on the island and everything comes in by water. With 200 cottages on this six square mile island, there are 68 long jetties as landings and absolutely no roads. Three times a week our mail is delivered by the ferry - and we become a tourist attraction as we run out holding one canvas mail bag with a massive bronze lock on it, hand it to the ferry driver and receive another one with our incoming mail and the local newspaper - then turn to wave to the passengers from around the world. We are surrounded by heavy native bush, and an amazing array of birds. Nine types of waders and seagulls, wood pigeons that weigh almost six pounds and get drunk on spring berries then act just as human drunks do, noisy, aggressive or silly.

Right now she is safely stored in Virginia. In fact, this photo was taken as we sailed her into the Yeocomico River to put her in her boathouse

We have had to do a lot of repairs and maintenance work as the house was left to renters for eight years - my writing has definitely suffered as we cut back the growth that threatens to engulf the house, re-build wooden structures that were not done properly long before we bought this place. We are also upgrading Larry's boatbuilding shop so next time we come home we can begin to build a new boat - not sure if it will be the tug we need, or a lightweight sailing craft to use if we once again leave Taleisin on the far side of the world.

We didn't realize how many friends we had here. They are trying to make sure we do not lack for sailing - three regattas planned for September of a 47 foot Giles designed gaff-rigged cutter and on a 58 foot Heresshoff boundy Ketch. We also have our Fatty Knees 8 footer - Cheeky Too, a gift from my brother. So though this place would look and feel a lot better with Taleisin right here in her berth, it is probably good to be having a break from her and our cruising life. But we still plan to be back in the Chesapeake come spring (northern spring that is). We would like to explore more of the U.S. before we begin the long voyage that brings Taleisin to her homebase.

Lin and Larry
at North Cove, Kawau Island, New Zealand


This is where she probably should be, on her pontoon at our little boatyard (it is called Mickey Mouse Marine). We took this photo here in 1988 when two good friends, Tom and Harriet Linskey and Doug Schmuck, brought their Hess cutters here to celebrate Christman with us


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