First time solo

With a three day weekend coming up I thought it best to be spent on the boat.

Unfortunately Kylie had to work the Saturday and the kids couldn’t be convinced to come without Mum.

So out the gate I went


The forecast for the Hauraki Gulf was a scary 40knot westerly, I chose not to push it on my first solo voyage and headed for the Rotorua lakes district.

north island arrow





I motored out of the bay and slowly organised myself. I realised the sun screen wasn’t onboard, So motored into the next bay that has a shop.


I tied up to the jetty and ran up to the shop. There is a posh cafe and adjoining building with a sign saying “general store” but inside all they had was ice cream , 3 bottles of milk and two tins of spaghetti…..



I left the jetty and using the tiller pilot to hold course I wandered about deck raising the main sail. This device is such an excellent piece of kit, I wouldn’t want to solo without it. It has an internal compass, so when you are facing the way you need to go you push a button and it steers in that direction.


I sailed around for awhile, and decided to head for the overnight spot that Owen and Frank would arrive at later.

Going into the arm




Tarawera lake is crazy deep


Corvine tied up for the might (in background)



I fished on into the night…..with splashing trout and a few beers for company.

Worlds best beer holder?


Later on Owen and Frank arrived in their own boats. It was pitch black by this time and with only my head torch to give a clue where the beach was, they headed in and tied up for the night.

It rained during the night and on into the next morning. It was cosy in the boat listening to the rain falling on the deck. The rain continued into the morning.




Home grown eggs, wild venison sausages, bacon and toast for breaky


The others where smart and slept in


I put on the wet weather gear and went exploring




Pulled up for lunch and to chill in a nice bay near the north eastern end of the lake. I  noticed Owen and Frank making their way out of the arm and heading my way.

As they neared I readied to pull anchor. I was determined to sail off the anchor despite the lee shore ( the shore is close and the wind is blowing that way) I  needed to set the tiller pilot to steer the boat at an angle away from shore but not to much angle so as to point into the wind and end up blowing backwards onto the rocks. Also the main sheet (main sail control) had to be set at the right length.

With my semi educated guess I chose not to even lower the motor and fully backed myself and the little tiller pilot. Now with Owen and Frank closing in, I went up on deck and raised the mainsail and headed to the front and hauled on the anchor, as it broke free of the bottom the bow started blowing around toward the shore, and perfectly timed the mainsail filled with wind Corvina sailed forward, the tiller pilot steered a course away from shore but not to much. I raised the anchor and stowed it in its locker.

I was stoked! I even had time to hoist the jib and casually stroll back to the cockpit where I didn’t even need to take over the tiller duty as the little tiller pilot was earning its keep.

I pulled out next to the others and couldn’t help but comment on my excellent manoeuvre, of which went pretty much unnoticed.

The Noelex out running the next shower



We tied up for the night in a sheltered bay at the northern end of Mt Tarawera.

I awoke next morning to find the rain had gone.




After a much earned sleep in I headed out into a stiff head on breeze for the journey back to Boat shed bay to pick up some important cargo. Tacking back and forth between the bush clad shore lines was proving time consuming and the race was on to meet at the jetty. I raised the “Iron sail” and lowered the rest.



I arrived first and had time to clean up my mess and organise things. Kylie and the kids turned up not long after. Out we went heading for the hot springs. We had a nice breeze from abeam and with two reefs in and the auto pilot steering us directly for the entrance to the arm we all had a very pleasant cruise across the lake. Plenty of time to sit in the cockpit eating our sandwiches and chatting away as the boat literally sailed us towards our destination.


Dabbing Tarawera style



We secured Corvina and headed off into the bush in search of the hot spring.

Captain leading the way (wrong way)


Kids leading the way (right way)


Found it


After our hot swim we headed back to the boat for a sausage in bread and then motored around the corner to hotwater beach. Despite the lake temp of 14 degrees the kids swam happily in the geothermally warmed water close into the beach. If you haven’t been here it is a Kiwi must.

Motoring back to the ramp Brianna and I had turns at steering. Brianna managed a near perfect coarse  according to the GPS track (better than I could achieve!)

Put the boat on the trailer and headed back to reality……

Author: gulfwanderers

Just an average kiwi bloke

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