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November 2002

Dear Friends:

Thanks to all of you who have encouraged us with our new project. Making the Storm tactics video has been a new kind of adventure for us. As I am typing this, the webmaster who takes care of this site is putting the time coded table of contents on line along with the words for the song that begins and ends the program, The Yacht Club Bar.


This is our cove here at Kawau Island. Its one of the few hurricane proof anchorages along this coast that is not up a river. Great for sailing in and out at any state of the tide.

Every time I hear that part of the tape I laugh as I remember the hundreds of times we have sung that song for friends in far-flung places. We first heard it here at our home in New Zealand when Chris and Dick Todd sailed in on their BCC 28 footer to share the holidays with us. We learned the words and sang it to folks in Hobart, Tasmania when we all were anchored in a quiet cove. At Cocos Keeling 12 crews shared fresh speared fish on the beach and laughed to these words. Even sang them to two sailors we met in the wilds of northern Namibia. But enough nostalgia.

Jonquil, the boat we maintain and use here in New Zealand, is gaff-rigged and has an amazing turn of speed. I am still a bit cautious about sailing her in really heavy stuff, as she does not have a self-draining cockpit. She also has no real galley - but that is a bonus, as I do not feel like I have to be a real cook when we go out for weekends, just bread and cheese and one-pot meals to cook on her portable stove. Means I have a real holiday myself, with an excuse to dine out.

Though the Americas Cup is as far from our style of sailing as you can get, we still find much of the intrigue and racing sneaks into our lives. Since we have spent three days most weeks in town on the video project, we were asked to attend a few cup functions including an interesting luncheon at the Royal Yacht Squadron where the organizer of the Louis Vuitton Cup made it very clear the whole idea is to help tune up which ever team wins the eliminations so they can whip the New Zealand team. What was very obvious from this luncheon and from other events we've witnessed, this affair is about big bucks, big egos and being part of the "in crowd". In a country known for being low key, this is leaving a lot of bent feelings. News coverage here is extensive, with about half a page a day devoted to the cup. Team New Zealand supporters point to the fact that the contenders are not allowed to race in winds of less than 7 knots or more than 23 as a boost for their chances to win as they can create rules that allow for stronger wind races.

With summer almost here we are looking forward to days of wine and roses with local sailing friends.


On the other hand, for the general public, ourselves included, the big plus for the cup is the entertainment and cafes that have opened up to cater for the crowds that are definitely arriving. There is a real buzz going already. The viaduct basin has almost 50 cafes of all types that are filled with sailors. There is a wide promenade all around the basin and past the different bases where everyone meets to enjoy the coming and going of boats. Free concerts and street entertainment draw folks to the waterfront. Where normally there are about half a dozen concerts, plays and exhibits available downtown, now there are dozens to choose from each evening. Almost wish I lived in the city.

Though the local shops and supermarkets here in New Zealand make life easy, I miss the small shops of less sophisticated villages where even buying eggs becomes a social occasion.

Out here on our island, we are busy too. Larry has just finished building a new bridge deck and binnacle mount for a neighbor's 40-foot wooden sloop. He is putting new toe rails on the Buzzards Bay 25 we sail and maintain for a local lady. He is also putting a new bottom on the barge we use to bring building materials over from the mainland. I am doing some writing, organizing and yes, even gardening (I have learned enough to lower my kill rate to 1 out of two plants). A few foreign yachts have sailed in to our cove to say hello. We have also taken time to visit sailing friends in other parts of northern New Zealand. Alvah and Diana Simons who sailed John Henry to the Artic, decided after 20 years of voyaging, to buy a house near Whangerei. Like us, they wanted a homebase for later. We joined them and about 40 sailors from five countries at a house warming that featured a 70-pound spit roasted pig. Lots of sea stories flowed with the wine and beer.

I also miss the fine flavors of home grown produce you find when you shop at small town open markets.


I am, however, beginning to be slightly homesick for our other life (dare I say our real life), and am beginning to gather charts and bits to take with us when we rejoin Taleisin in Puerto Montt, Chile. At the moment it looks like that will happen in early February. Plans are to head north after some exploring among the islands of Chile.

Best wishes from the land of the long white cloud.

Lin and Larry


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