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Old 29-04-2009, 11:33   #1
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New Zealand Tips ?

So I know this trip has been done many times before and I'm curious what others with this experience under their belt have to say.

My two brothers and I, all fit young men with a variety of sailing experience, myself having crossed the pacific a tall ship and worked tall ships a fair amount; we are planning to make way in august 2009 to panama/ecuador over land and from their hustle marinas, crew websites, etc for sailboats heading west for the galapagos, marquesas, samoa, tonga, and ultimately New Zealand.

We are well aware that the more experience we get the better, as well that many cruisers if we get taken on will expect us to pay our way yatta yatta.

How feasible is this plan gals and fellas? and how long from land fall to new zealand can we expect the trip to be, counting on getting boats all the way to little N-Z?a
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Old 29-04-2009, 15:08   #2
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I would doubt anyone would take 3 people (all male) on board as crew. No doubt someone will post that I am an idiot and someone took 3 blokes in 1966 and delivered them to NZ after a luxurious pacific cruise of 5 months.

However in the real world it ain't gunna happen.

You need a big boat before 3 thundering fellers don't take over psychologically.

You would have to wonder the low self esteem of anyone that thought so lowly of themselves in their sailing ability to suddenly feel the need for 3 extra crew.

Most boats we saw on the trip were husband/wife combinations.

The only boat with crew (2) was trying to offload them in Tonga... they didn't want to go and it was a bit precarious for a while! LOL

Your best bets are Colon on the Caribbean side of the canal when people are stuck for a week or so waiting transit. I would not like to be a land based tourist in Colon. There are significant safety issues.
The Pacific side of the canal is good too, the Balaboa Yacht Club is one... however many boats have already provisioned in Colon and are ready to head off as soon as they transit.

The boats coming down from Mexico dont come into Panama as its a far way out of the way.

All in all, you could be waiting for months if not a year or 2.


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Old 29-04-2009, 15:54   #3
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Why not buy your own boat?

With boats reportedly selling for (relatively) low amounts at the moment why not buy a boat your selves for the trip.

With that much energy, labour and experience preparation would be a breeze.

If you include in your budget the import duty/sales tax it could be possible to sell the boat when you arrive and not lose too much.

Surely 3 fit young men can come up with the money needed.

Try emailing a few brokers in Australia to find out what sells well here.
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Old 29-04-2009, 15:58   #4
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to new zealand tips?!

i appreciate the reply its always helpful to get feedback.

the idea has been pretty rough and I know it sounds ideal. so what i want is info, where to go, should we break it up, should we hang out in san diego? hawaii? samoa? or is panama the best bet?

In honesty we want to sail INTO new zealand and we would be willing to say fly to samoa or french polynesia or tonga kind of a thing to catch a ride from there. I'm well aware that the possibilites of getting "that ride" from here to New zealand is far fetched and a likely story feasible a hundred years ago.

so if anyone has more specific crew websites for the south pacific or any other ideas here they are very welcome.

the other thing i've been wondering is the time of year. we're up here in van bc and ideally it seems we would sail to hawaii from say san diego and from there make way south, hopping boats between islands. right now i feel if we left in august with enough determination and luck we could make new zealand in november.
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Old 29-04-2009, 16:07   #5
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about buying a boat hunh? well there's an idea. looking at it that way i imagine with preparation, getting the necessary experience in order to make well a safe passage and raising the funds would be at least several months let alone even getting underway.

i'm open to the idea. i need more convincing though. can you give me some idea of how much we're talking to purchase and outfit a boat for passage across the south pacific?

anyone made the trip with minimal small boat sailing and a sextant before?

what about cargo ships and freighters? any experience crewing or paying for passage there?
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Old 29-04-2009, 19:36   #6
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Permit me to inject a dose of reality, some of which Mark has already stated:
  1. The odds are VERY small 3 of you will get aboard 1 yacht. Most yachts seeking crew are looking for one person, occasionally you'll find a situation where there is an opportunity for two persons.
  2. You are picking perhaps the WORST time of year to go South! Yachts leave from CA (mainly as part of the Latitude 38's "Ba Ha Ha: Baja Ha-Ha Cruisers Rally: Sailing from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas) in late October-early November. Yachts continuing on across the Pacific will mostly sail from Puerto Vallarta (PV) Mexico, and depart in late April-early May. Do the math to determine when most yachts passing through the Panama Canal will be there heading West as all, regardless of their 'departure point', want to cross the Pacific during the same low-risk weather period, and nearly all will be headed for the Marquesas Islands (French Polynesia) as their first stop.
  3. The odds of getting a yacht to take you from Panama or Mexico all the way to NZ is close to NIL! Most yacht owners want someone to assist for only long distances, then want their yacht ALL FOR THEMSELVES. On the other side of the coin, yet closely related is another very real world reality:
  4. As the "Yacht VHF Net Controller" once told me in PV: "People who need crew need 'help'. 2 out of 10 times something is wrong with their boat, and 8 out of 10 times there is something wrong with them or the captain." When I did this trip, of 14 individuals who left PV crewing on yachts, I was the only one who made it all the way to NZ ... and it took several yachts for me to accomplish that ... AND be very assured, the PV "Yacht VHF Net Controller" was as we say here in NZ: "Spot on". BTW, I've known of others who have learned this reality ... the hard way...
BTW, I am writing a book about this 2+ year journey (which took me from San Fran to Singapore). Thus the above information is NOT an opinion, it's based on personal, hands-on knowledge and experience!!!

William aka 'The PIRATE'
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Old 29-04-2009, 22:50   #7
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'Banana Boat' cruises, etc.

Yes, it's possible to purchase rides on some commercial ships. Not all. And it's not cheap. In fact, it's probably not going to be as inexpensive as air fare - you'd probably eat that much in stores over a cruise from North America to New Zealand.

The question in my mind devolves to: is it the journey, or the destination? If it's the journey, pool your resources to purchase a boat now, live aboard while working and preparing the boat for a cruise in 2010. Or break up the group and find shorter cruises to join for the learning opportunities, but don't plan on getting to New Zealand at all. If it's the destination, fly there this summer.

These are just my personal musings, trying to be both pragmatic and realistic. But the whole goal of your quest is pretty romantic, so you and your crew will have to decide what works for you.
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Old 30-04-2009, 00:34   #8
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the reality

blue soverign. or "THE PIRATE".

so i get the reality. now if you wouldn't mind give me some piece of mind. we want to sail to new zealand. we don't care how many boats it takes to get there. we would like to get there by december 09, but thats not in stone.

so what i'm asking is, is there another way? hawaii? fly into samoa catch a ride to new zealand?

i understand that it would be tough to get the three of us on a boat, and at that with someone we wouldn't go insane from, but cut us the credit of sharing the same dream and gimme something to work with.
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Old 30-04-2009, 02:45   #9
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Show me the money...

Working out the cost of doing the trip you are proposing is like measuring a piece of string. Find the string and put a ruler on it. Find a boat and work out purchase price, preparation costs, voyage costs, sale price at the other end and applicable taxes/duties/brokerage. Do the math.

I am not familiar with your market but assuming a purchase price of $60k, preparation of $20k, 18 month voyage costs of $30k and net proceeds of sale of $50k you would be up for an intitial $110k and could walk away with $50k.

If you each put in $40k and nothing serious went wrong you might walk away with $20k each.

Of course it would be your responsibility, your money and your future on the line.
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Old 30-04-2009, 03:03   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsparks View Post
sharing the same dream and gimme something to work with.
Yes, but don't you see? Our dream is to sail these oceans ourselves. Not with strangers.
The whole challange is to go an do it with our loved one on our boat without outside help.

Occasionally we need it... on a long passage some boats need 1 crew. That doesn't 'break' the dream because its just 1 crew.

If you are talking about Super Yacht crew, thats something completely diffierent and you wouldf only quality with great credentials, and again, not the 3 of you.

You want to be in NZ by Dec 2009. But people are all in NZ by Nov 2009 because its cyclone season.

nd one final bit thats important... jut like people can't just fly into the USA with a one way ticket nor can you just flit into NZ one way. You need money in youre account to prove you can get out if deported.

Finally... how the hell does someone know you and the other 2 are not drug trafficers?

We all have very expensive boat and have brains on our heads... most things that are easy have beeen worked out months or years before. Its not that we are old dim-witts.

Go ask a couple in their RV Motor Home to drive you from LA to New York. Because thats what you are expecting from us.

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Old 30-04-2009, 03:29   #11
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Samoa might not be your best jumping off spot. If you are in Fiji or Neiafu, Tonga in early October 2009 all three of you might find a ride on a boat down to New Zealand. That leg is traditionally very challenging and more people, particularly older couples and shorthanded crews are often looking for assistance. Friends of ours left their boat in Neiafu, helped crew a megayacht down to NZ, then flew back to Tonga a few weeks later to take their own boat south. So it is doable.
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Old 30-04-2009, 03:52   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsparks View Post
blue soverign. or "THE PIRATE".

so i get the reality. now if you wouldn't mind give me some piece of mind. we want to sail to new zealand. we don't care how many boats it takes to get there. we would like to get there by december 09, but thats not in stone.

so what i'm asking is, is there another way? hawaii? fly into samoa catch a ride to new zealand?

i understand that it would be tough to get the three of us on a boat, and at that with someone we wouldn't go insane from, but cut us the credit of sharing the same dream and gimme something to work with.
You want "piece of mind" or "the truth"??? Sorry however you can't have it both ways!

Listen very carefully: the same natural forces that dictated when and where Cook, Columbus, Magellian ... pick any explorer you want ... could go, still dictates when and where a sailboat can go today. Ever hear of Jimmy Cornell's "World Cruising Routes"??? If not, perhaps you should go to the nearest library and "discover religion"!

Here's reality plain and simple:

You and your mates needed to be in PV or at the canal at least 3 weeks ago to catch a boat going West. Anything out of Hawaii (and there are not many yachts leaving from there for the Marquesas or Tahiti) also start NOW.

Yachts are allowed to spend only 3 months in French Polynesia which means having to cover the Marquesas, through the Tuamotus Islands, then through the Society's (Tahiti, Moorea, Huahine, Raitea, Bora-Bora, etc). A lot of geography to cover in just 3 months!

As stated earlier people mainly seek crew on the long-distance stretches. That means PV to Marquesas and if you're lucky onto Tahiti, and then again from Tonga (and in a few cases Fiji) to New Zealand.

Want to be in NZ for Dec 09???:

Then really gamble a ****-load of money away, and show up in Tahiti in late June-early July. Tahiti is an extremely expensive place, which offers few if any crewing opportunities. I spent about 5 weeks between Tahiti and the other Society islands, which required I take a freighter from Tahiti and then hitch a ride with yachties that I knew, but 3 islands later in Raitea, to join a 65 footer with an alcoholic captain in Bora Bora, which enabled me to get out of the Society Islands (in my case to the Cook Islands).

Of course you could also gamble more money away, and fly from Tahiti to Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas in late May-early June, hang out and see if by the middle of June, you and your mates can find two or three yachts who want some additional help after having to "bust their ass" sailing for ~25-30 days across the Pacific.

A lot of American boats will leave the Society's (usually from Bora-Bora) and go to American Samoa in August to stock up on depleted food stocks and especially cheap booze. However again, those in Samoa will mostly be just moving onto Tonga from there ... a relatively easy "trade-winds" sail ... crew is not required.

Want your odds for a crewing opportunity to substantially increase? Show up in Tonga (problem is where, as there is either Vava'u, the northern most island group, or Nukuʻalofa, the capital and the southern most group ... and you can't be in both places at once!). However the only crewing you will do from Tonga is a potentially 'very rough trip' from Tonga to NZ (~9-12 days)

What do I think is your BEST bet? You and your mates "chill out" until Sept/Oct 09, attend the Ba Ha Ha crew parties in San Fran and San Diego, get on Latitude 38's crew list for the 09 Ba Ha Ha ASAP, and "go for the dream" then!

Like I said, "it ain't pretty" what is written above, however it sure as hell is "the truth", based on personal knowledge and experience....

Good luck

William aka 'The PIRATE'
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