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April 2005
Dear Friends:

The long Easter weekend marks the psychological end of summer here in New Zealand. The weather forecasters for some reason always present a gloomy picture the four day holiday. This year was no different and only 9 boats showed up in our cove for the Mahurangi Cruising Club get together we hosted. The weather was glorious, sunny, hot, 15 to 20 knot breezes. Then phone calls started to come in from those who heeded the weather forecasts and stayed at home. But in a way I am glad there was a small fleet as for the first time in our lives, instead of racing; Larry and I were the race committee. (Larry only agreed because he is recovering from surgery to remove some infected bone from his jaw) I can now appreciate the efforts of those hundreds of volunteers who helped us enjoy racing through the years. We had to invent the course, be the starters and finishers and figure out some way to handicap boats that had nothing in common. It was definitely fun watching duels at the finish line, receiving the thanks of folks who all said they would not have gone to the trouble of actually getting out on the water if it hadn't been for a race with a bottle of whiskey waiting for the winner.

Here comes Thelma, wing and wing in 28 knots of wind during the International Classics
She was making ten knots as these shots were taken by Jill Dingle

The barbeque and prize giving on our patio was a resounding success, especially as at low tide, two friends helped me fill a five gallon bucket with green lipped mussels and another with pacific oysters from the pilings of our jetty. We put these on the grill and were surprised at how few people had known how delicious these shellfish were when opened this way and served with cocktail sauce.

Another treat was to encourage one of the couples that raced as they make final preparations for their cruise. Gina and Christian Selaries are planning to set off in two weeks on their 40 foot steel sloop, Caesura. Back in the 1990's Christian cruised for 5 or six years on an H28 which he sailed from France to New Zealand. For Gina it is a first.
As we are currently working on a new edition of Care and Feeding of Sailing Crew, I made notes of all her concerns about provisioning. In a way I envy her the excitement of making a very first ocean passage.

Our neighbor, Micheal Marris, took these shots of the Easter Day regatta.
Larry and I are acting as race committee in Jay Dee our 14 foot fizz boat (Kiwiana for a run about or speed boat.)

Here in New Zealand, as with our life afloat, we try to make sure boats do not become the only focus of our lives. A special treat was a five-day excursion to the WOMAD festival held in New Plymouth. World of Music, Art and Dance festivals take place in ten venues around the world. Musicians fill four stages, with an eclectic variety ranging from ethnic to jazz to opera and everything in between. The Plymouth show grounds, with a large race track, and beautiful natural music amphitheater and parklands, was a lovely place to be, especially as the audience was limited to 10,000 people at all times. We took along a picnic basket plus two folding chairs and spent three days soaked in music. Richie Havens of Woodstock fame was charming as he was joined by Taj Mahal to create some grand soul music. The famous Kronos Quartet was a bit of a disappointment, choosing dark music unsuited to the stunning sunset evening. Les Yeux Noirs, French violinists extraordinaire, combined gypsy, Yiddish and French sounds that got the whole crowd dancing and shouting. Of course the small world thing took over. First it was a couple that walked over and said, "Didn't we meet in Richards Bay, South Africa ten years ago?" then it was another who said, "we met you in Virginia." By the end of the weekend we had invites to visit and stay with half a dozen New Zealanders we'd met in other places at other times.

he finishing boats coming back into the cove.

Though we are busy planning a few weekends of sailing on Thelma, our thoughts are already turning towards Taleisin and returning to join her in the Pacific Northwest. It looks like this summer we will be lazily rejoining friends around the Gulf Islands. But I mentioned to a few folks that we were thinking we'd like to get to Alaska within a few years and our book distributor sent along an interesting new book. Called, Rescue coverRescue at the Top of the World, and written by Shawn Shallow, it tells of the attempt to find provisions to feed 300 whalers trapped in the Alaskan Icepack over a hundred and thirty years ago. Two men from the Pacific Rescue team (precursors of the Coast Guard) and two missionaries tramped 1500 miles along the stormy, icebound coast to acquire and drive a herd of reindeer north. I was intrigued by the number of small native villages these men encountered, and the rugged men and women who tried to scratch out a living along the shores of the Bering Sea, but also reminded that any plans to sail to Alaska should not be taken lightly.

We look forward to being on Taleisin this summer. Not sure if we will return to the wooden boat festival in Port Townsend where this shot was taken, but it sure is tempting.

Hope your summer plans are advancing well,

Wishes from Down Under,
Lin and Larry

P.S. Rescue at the Top of the World is available through our parent site, www.paracay.com.
Click here for more info about Rescue at the top of the world.





POSTCARDS

These pictures do not do justice to the stunning originals by Bryan Brennan, one of the artists who live near us. He is in his eighties, works in oils and is one of the most hospitable men around. Says he painted seascapes until he was old enough to paint what he really wanted to paint - the woodlands of New Zealand. His work is in many of the great collections in this country. www.bryanbrennan.co.nz















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