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Newsletter for Summer 2017

Posted by on June 15, 2017

Dear Friends

A few weeks ago I flew to Rarotonga for a wedding that didn’t happen (run-away bride, but that’s another story.) Rarotonga, the capital of the Cook Islands, is right along the so called “Milk Run”. But on the chart and from the description in the Sailing Directions, the only possible anchorage didn’t appear to be terribly inviting. So though we had previously sailed close by on three different occasions, we had not chosen to call in. Now, as a visiting tourist I had to get on the local bus and take a ride right around the island to see what Larry and I had missed.

1. A visit to Rarotonga got me thinking of the places we missed.

When I reached the port area I jumped off and walked down to where three yachts lay secured, facing toward the sea, bow to a mooring, stern lines stretched across fifty feet of water to bollards on the town quay. I found a bench to sit on as I contemplated other places we’d missed as we voyaged, missed because of choices forced on us by weather concerns, seasonal concerns, seamanship concerns.  We’d had to by-pass so many possible destinations during our voyaging years. And as we cruised it was often hard to avoid wondering if we might have missed something unforgettable, possibly life changing. This concern was fanned not only by our own imaginations but by other cruisers who would say, “whatever you do, don’t miss….” Then they would go on to tell us about unforgettable destinations highlighted by stories of their wonderful encounters and experiences.

When we were headed from Scotland’s Outer Hebrides towards Norway we’d missed sailing to the Lofoten Islands where other sailing friends told us they’d been taken right into community life and given a chance to sail on longships little different than those sailed by the Vikings who discovered Greenland. We’d missed sailing to the Vanuatu where I’d have had a chance to watch a volcano spewing fire into the night skies, and to dive among the WWII planes and vehicles which had been shoved into the sea just off Million Dollar Point. Though we came within 150 miles of Chagos Archipelago, with its deserted atolls and amazing diving, we missed it too. The list of places we missed could go on for pages. But as I sat watching the yachts at Avatiu dancing to the swell that rolled through the anchorage I began thinking of the opposite side of that coin.

2. By missing the Lofoten Islands, we got to participate in the Risor Wooden Boat Festival

If we’d sailed to Lofoten, we’d have missed the Wooden Boat festival in Risør where more than 200 stunning boats arrived from all parts of Norway and other northern European and Scandinavian countries, their multinational crew eager to race and socialize. We met dozens of local sailors who included us in their summer sailing plans then tried and almost convinced us to stay the whole winter through so we could ski along paths all the villagers worked to keep clear for visiting each other.

We lay hove to just 100 miles to the east of Chagos, unwilling to take the risks posed by running before gale force winds and blinding rain through the reef strewn waters surrounding its inviting atolls. Egged on by other cruisers stories of the relaxed weeks and even months they’d spent there, we were determined to visit and lay waiting for three days hoping the weather would improve. Finally we gave up and turned south for Rodriquez Island, a place we would otherwise have missed. The weather cleared, we arrived in Rodriquez just as a United Nations commission was working toward improving the lives of local fisher men and women. We were invited to join in and among the commissioners were some of the people who later added immensely to our time in southern Africa.

3. A highlight of our Norwegian summer was sailing as mascots to the fleet of classic Colin Archer Rescue boats as they raced to half a dozen different ports along the Kattagat and Oslo Fiord

When the approach of the cyclone season forced us to choose between heading north of the equator towards Vanuatu or south of the cyclone zone towards New Zealand, we let a toss of a coin make the choice for us.  If that coin had come up tales, we might not have found the perfectly protected spot where we eventually built up a home-base and boat repair yard, one which we returned to between voyages and where I now live full time. (Click here to see more about my home base in this short video from the TV New Zealand series, Neighbourhood.)

As I sat on the waterfront at Avatia thinking about places we’d missed, the places we’d chosen to visit instead, I was reminded of an important truism, one I often share with potential cruisers who worry about the risks inherent in their decision to cut the ties of land and head off on a sailing adventure; No matter how many things you do in your life, each choice you make means you are going to miss out on a million other possibilities. But making no choice at all might mean you miss out on even more.

Fair winds

Lin Pardey


Note, I hope to meet up with some of this summer in the USA.

At The Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival I will be at the authors tent near the Sail Loft between seminars.

In Annapolis, look for me at booth M5 next to the Gin Barge. With me will be Behan Gifford, one of the authors of Voyaging with Kids.  I will be part of Cruising Worlds Friday seminar series at the show

Also at Annapolis, I will have Tom Doherty of Cardinal Publishers Group with me at booth M5. He is looking for potential nautical book projects.

During the Annapolis Fall Cruisers University following the boat show, I will be presenting three seminars, Storm preparation, Storm Tactics; Creating the Unstoppable Boat and Writing, Blogging, Video – how to make it pay.

5 Responses to Newsletter for Summer 2017


    Thanks for the little video about your home and Larry.
    I have an unfulfillable wish to meet and chat with the two of you at your home, with my 28′ double ender, (daydream), “South Seas” floating in the Harbour.
    The thought is one of those positive, affirmative action things I use to motivate my day and gives me a nice feeling even though it can’t happen now.
    I wish you as much more happiness as it’s possible to get in one lifetime

    Kind regards

    • Lin & Larry

      Thank you for the very nice wishes. When you get down to the South Seas, sail in and introduce yourself. Hope your wish comes true sooner than you think.

  2. Rosa

    Thank You Lin for sharing with us all. We so look forward to your news letter.

    We, while in our mid seventies, are still able to sail our William Atkin cutter out of Slidell, LA. We can so relate to You and Larry and the boats you have chosen and your basic proven methods. We feel like the proverbial dinosaurs, with our old school craft, and associated amenities like oil lamp lighting etc. YOU TWO stand right next to the Hiscocks and Smeetons, legends all.

    Think of YOU TWO each and everytime we board “ROSA”, where we store all of your offerings of books and videos.

    Thank You Both for all which you have shared and given over the years.

  3. Tropic Bird

    Dean Lin and Larry,

    Several of my close sailing friends suggested I reach out to you, as I have been working on writing a book chronicling my father’s two-year cruise with three close friends that began in June of 1948.

    My father was a lifelong sailor, who passed away in 2009 after suffering from dementia and Parkinson’s for several years. Ever since these diseases began to affect my father in 2009, I collected his Tropic Bird logs and photographs, and interviewed him and the other surviving crewmate extensively. I have documented this in detail, in what has become a 150-page book, complete with photographs, log entries, and prose.

    Many people have read “The Log of Tropic Bird” and provided me their comments, yet I have not felt comfortable that this tribute to my father was really complete. I thought you might have ideas on the book, and/or recommendations on how I might proceed to publish it.

    Would this story be of interest for you to read? I would greatly appreciate any recommendations you have, including professional editing. I attempted to email you but was unsuccessful. I look forward to hearing from you.

    Thank you,


    P.S. I enjoyed reading your Summer Newsletter as well as several of your other publications. It sounds like you and Larry had an exciting time in the Cook Islands and beyond. I look forward to reading about your next adventures.

  4. tony bird

    Lin, if you’ll be in Southern California, you have fans around Marina del Rey. Would you be interested in speaking at one of the yacht clubs?

    Just getting into the L & L books, and I find many resonances, from Euell Gibbons to Rabbie Burns to Italy being the world’s friendliest country. My sailing friends and I would love to meet you. As my Italian Nonna would say, “Gonfie vele!”

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