In September I decided to try out the adventure of sailing on one of the former America’s Cup yachts in Auckland. NZ was the first country to be able to wrestle the cup out of the Americans hands and it is a feat that is very proudly regarded here.
With a little bit of emotion and a good dose of adrenalin, I boarded the yacht with ten or so passengers and 4 crew. This seemed like a pretty good ratio until the skipper explained that during the America’s Cup this boat was crewed by a team of 17. We were going to have to roll up our sleeves and put in some hard work, especially seeing it was Friday and the crew had decided it was the start of their weekend.
Before we could hoist the sails, we listened carefully to our safety briefing and in particular the different commands we would be given during the sailing. At a reduced speed, we navigated out of the port and into the Hauraki Gulf, from where we had a great view out towards Devonport and Rangitoto Island.
The adventure started as all but the skipper left their posts so we could take over, my job was to hoist one of the sails with a fellow passenger. Face to face we had to turn the crank as quickly as possible, we thought we were doing pretty well but laughing a little our instructor told us we weren’t going fast enough. With the sail finally up we had a moment to catch our breath but 2 minutes later we had to start bringing it down again, reversing what we had just done until we got halfway and were asked to hoist it again.
Once we had finished the process he explained the technical side of what we were doing in relation to the wind which was fairly strong that day. The “cruise” is one and a half hours in total, along with the way the skipper let some of the passengers try out taking over the helm, it was a fantastic sensation to take over control of the boat as it sailed along in the wind tilted to the left. For those who love sailing or those who can’t bear to leave the City of Sails without trying it out we highly recommend doing this cruise. For anyone who wants to do something more high energy, there is the match race where two yachts go head to head, a minimum number of passengers is required.
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