After finishing 5th in the Abu Dhabi World Cup Final, we continued our journey South to New Zealand, where an intensive 3 week training period awaited us. It was the first time in New Zealand for Francisco and Nina, so we were really excited to see this beautiful country!
We got to stay in the wonderful apartment of Esther and Jan Pieter in Mission Bay, with a view from the living room that was so beautiful that it was pictured on many of the touristic post cards for sale! Each day we were treated with 20-25 degrees Celsius and wind ranging from 5-20 knots. After a quick recovery from our jet lag, we planned again to make many hours on the water each day. Little did we know that the Portuguese definition of ‘many’ is a lot more than the Dutch ‘many’!!
Luckily we got used to the new training regime quite quickly, and we were happy to enjoy ourselves on the incredibly blue waters of New Zealand. One of our highlights was definitely a penguin swimming by our boat!!
Together with our training partners, the New Zealand FX team of Alex and Molly, we celebrated the Dutch St. Nicholas (Sinterklaas in Dutch) on the 5th of December. The celebration includes a drawing of lots, each lot has a name on it, and each person makes a poem and buys a little present for the person on his lot. Definitely our poems let to some hilarious moments and revealed some funny facts!! 😉
We also met the boat builder of our own new boat, John Clinton from Mackay Boats, and paid a visit to the North Sails loft in Auckland to get our new spinnakers branded. We are very excited to use them during the next regatta’s!!
Despite the beautiful surroundings, we didn’t do much sightseeing. We spent one weekend in Tauranga, a village on the West coast of the Northern Island, where we were invited by the family of Molly. The road to this village took three hours and was incredibly beautiful and peaceful. The roads were so empty compared to Holland! We saw a lot of nature including 1 million cows and sheeps..;-)
In Tauranga we did a hike on a mountain and some surfing, not bad for a weekend off!!
The last few days of our training camp were extra fun. We got Francisco to show us some of his skills in the boat and we closed with a crew/crew versus helm/helm race. Unfortunately the crews won the race in light winds (they must have cheated?!) but the helms are ready for a revenge!!
“Life is better when you are laughing!”
On Christmas Eve we arrived back home to celebrate with our families and to have some rest during the holidays. We had a wonderful time in New Zealand and we hope to come back next year! Thank you Royal Akarana Yacht Club for your friendliness, support and for having us as international members!
Have a good year-end everyone!