New zealand oysters taste like the ocean smells. Given that the beaches here don’t smell like the gulf of mexico that is just a salty fishy flavour. That’s what I had for lunch…the smell of a clean ocean.


That, with a delicate veggie quiche and some fresh bread, was the lunch I was pampered with before beginning my sailing adventure.


Today was no baby cruise around the harbour. Today was racing day. So 6 of us on a 30 foot yacht set up in wet gear and approached the start line just as the gun sounded. A shaky start (we had just changed sails from the 1 to the 2) but we trudged along. The Auckland weather gods were benevolent and suppressed their anticipated wrath and instead bathed us in intermittent sunshine. A glorious day for sailing clear green waters.


What I learned on the boat, is that my skiing bruises would soon have yachting bruises. My main job was weight. When you race, you push your boat to its breaking point, the force on the sails pushes one side of the boat deep into the water – I was counter weight. No big deal until…you come about. Coming about means the big heavy – thwack you in the head and give you a concussion if you are lucky – sail thingy (the technical term) swings from one side to the other with great force to turn you.


That forces me, sitting with my feet dangling on the high side to scramble up to the top of the boat, then lie flat to avoid getting hit, then scramble down what soon becomes an upward incline as the boats center shifts.


At one point early in the day I almost fell overboard – hanging precariously upside down with just my fingertips gripping a piece of wood. One of the crew had to grab me by the foot and hold on for dear life…because in racing the boat comes first.


All said and done…it was amazing…great weather…not too cold…I actually helped out a little…I stress little…pulling hilliards and sheets (my beginner yacht talk) and helping to clean up after all was said and done.


So finally…thanks to some very hospitable Rotarians…I have been sailing in the city of sails!



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