Boat Life, New Zealand

The Boat That Started It All

Rainbows End in the Water2
Rainbows End anchored in New Zealand.

We bought our first sailboat, Rainbows End, in December 2012 when we were living in New Zealand. She’s a Raven 26 (one of 400 built during the 1970s and 1980s), popular among local boaters, and considered to be a real Kiwi classic.

Unlike Mollie McGhie, the main character in Murder at the Marina, my husband didn’t present Rainbows End to me as an anniversary present. It was actually my idea to buy a sailboat. I’m not sure who was more surprised by the suggestion – him or me.

Scott had sailed quite a bit in Europe and had fallen in love with the idea of buying a boat, selling everything we own, moving aboard, and heading off into the sunset. I took a little bit more convincing. We had charted boats a couple of times in New Zealand and were talking about doing our next charter in the Whitsunday Islands in Australia.

When I did the sums, adding up airfare, car rental, and the charter costs, I realized that it would be more cost-effective to buy a small, relatively inexpensive boat in New Zealand. As a result, Rainbows End entered our lives as our “for now” boat. We decided to try out the cruising life in New Zealand and, if we both liked it, then look for our “forever” boat.

Although she was tiny (26 feet length, 8.9 feet beam), she was a great little starter boat. Sure, she didn’t have refrigeration, my husband had to sleep in the main cabin while I slept in the v-berth with the laundry (not enough room for both of us to sleep in the same spot), we didn’t have an oven, and there wasn’t any protection in the cockpit from the elements, but we loved her.

Rainbows End not only inspired us to buy another boat (a Moody 346 named Tickety Boo), but she also inspired me to write my cozy mystery series which follows the adventures of Mollie who is completely new to boats and sailing, much as I was back in 2012.

Rainbows End Inside
The interior of Rainbows End.

If you’re interested in reading more about Rainbows End and her specs, check out this post on our other blog, The Cynical Sailor.

Could you live on a small boat without refrigeration or oven?

Boat Life, New Zealand

Cruising in New Zealand

NZ Collage

When I told my husband, Scott, that I had a job offer in New Zealand, he was over the moon. Sure, the job offer was nice, but what he was really excited about was living in Auckland, otherwise known as the City of Sails.

During our time living in Scotland, Scott had become obsessed with sailing as a result of his time crewing on sailboats in the Mediterranean and racing in Scotland and Ireland. He had hatched a cunning plan to buy a sailboat, move aboard, and head off into the sunset. He just had one problem — convincing me that this was a good idea. What better place to win me over to the joys of sailing and cruising, he thought, than Auckland?

Turns out he was right. We chartered boats in the Bay of Islands for a couple of years, then I suggested that we buy our first sailboat, a Raven 26. Next thing you know, we moved aboard, cruised in New Zealand, decided that this was a great lifestyle, and eventually moved back to the States to buy a bigger boat.

My experiences learning how to sail (which is still very much a work in progress) and living aboard a boat in New Zealand are reflected to a degree in the main character of my cozy mystery series, Mollie McGhie. Mollie’s husband has a dream to buy a boat and go cruising, and then tries to convince her that it’s a good idea.

Have a look at the pictures below and you’ll get an idea of how wonderful sailing and cruising in New Zealand is. With scenery and anchorages like you find in New Zealand, is it any wonder that I decided full-time cruising was a good idea?

Peach Bay NZ (800x533)
Watching the sun go down at Peachgrove Bay, Mercury Islands.
Westhaven Skyline
Westhaven Marina in Auckland, where we kept our boat.
Sunset Te Kouma.JPG
Sunset at Te Kouma Harbour, Coromandel.
Paradise Bay
Our boat, Rainbows End, anchored at Paradise Bay, Urapukapuka Island.
Mt Hobson Walk 22
View from Mt. Hobson, Great Barrier Island.

If you want to read more about our adventures in New Zealand, check out this page on our other blog, The Cynical Sailor.

Have you ever been to New Zealand? Is it someplace you’d like to go to?