Great Barrier, Party, and Prizes






After the frenetic and fairly exhausting period of the Round North Island Race (RNI), we were determined to have a quieter spell of local cruising. Despite a less than encouraging experience of Easter at Great Barrier Island in 2000, we headed back for what proved an altogether more pleasant time. The weather was delightful and the anchorages relatively uncrowded. We met up with Philip Yates and Jenni Peddie, who we had got to know in the Bay of Islands. If such a thing were possible, Philip is an even more enthusiastic advocate of S&S designs then we are. He has been reduced to motoring now but remains one of Olin’s greatest fans.





In company, we hiked up to the Kauri dam on the western slopes of Mount Hobson. These dams are a tribute to 19th century rustic ingenuity, creating a pool for felled timber above the dam, which is then suddenly released by a ‘trigger’, allowing the timber to be carried down stream to the sea, for collection, sawing and shipment. Of course beavers have worked out how to do much the same thing eons ago, but that is beside the point.


On impulse we decided to carry on up the summit of Mount Hobson, accompanied by Jenni. We remembered that there were a lot of carefully manufactured steps toward the top. This time we kept count and though the sum varied with the counter, the average was around 1000. The pains in our knees confirmed this total.








After several peaceful days in anchorages on Great Barrier, we made an equally peaceful passage past Channel Island, off Cape Colville, where it so often blows a gale – except when we are racing past it. The hills of the Coromandel Peninsula led south to Te Kouma Harbour and thence back to Waiheke Island and Auckland.




Looking around for an excuse to throw a party, we decided that ‘Sunstone’ should really be the venue for a QLD (Quiet Little Drink) for the RNI competitors. We were blessed with fine weather and a very good turn-out, including David Howie of, who was particularly welcome as he brought along several bottles of his sponsors product – Mount Gay Rum. Several members of the SSANZ committee also attended, including Race Director David Cooke, President Brian Murray and Chairman Cameron Thorpe. Also in attendance were younger potential crew members.






In April and May we suffered an embarrassment of riches. Even before the RNI we had been informed that we were to be honoured by the Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) with the Barton Cup, its award for the most meritorious voyage that year. Though the timing was not ideal, we felt that at least one of us should be in London to receive the Cup. Vicky was despatched, receiving the award from Mary Barton, wife of Humphrey Barton, the founder of the OCC.


Coincidentally, 12 hours later, was the occasion of the RNI prize-giving. In this case Tom received the prizes, ironically including one for Vicky as the best (and only!) female competitor in the race. Tom did his best to encourage others to follow her example.


Finally, in May, we were also awarded the S&S Association’s Global Challenge Cup for our result in the RNI. This was kindly received for us by Margriet Kroes who sailed on ‘Sunstone’ for our first really big success, when we won the Channel Race in 1985, beating the whole of the Admiral’s Cup fleet. Margriet and husband Frank now own an S&S Swan 41.