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R Tucker Thompson Cruise in the Bay of Islands (2007)




Taking the Wheel of the R Tucker Thompson (2017)
Set sail with the R Tucker Thompson
Adventures in the Bay of Islands
Hotels in the Bay of Islands
Photos of the R Tucker Thompson

By Richard Moore

As an avid devotee of Horatio Hornblower this fellow boarded the tall ship R Tucker Thompson with a huge amount of anticipation surging through the body.

Would I be able to make my way out to the end of the bowsprite?

Would I climb the main mast?

Would I be seasick?

There wasn't much chance of the latter on a sensational and calm day in the Bay of Islands but, hey, that at least raised the chances of completing the first two.

The R Tucker Thompson is square-rigged schooner built in the traditions of the old tall ships.

She is 26-metres long, five metres wide and has two masts that carry 179 sq m of sail.

She is also an absolute beauty.

Brass gleams, ropes are neatly tied, the decks scrubbed and clean and the cabin and below-deck areas have stunning woodwork.

Above all, there is a touch of the romantic about being on a tall ship.

On a day with good wind the R Tucker Thompson can zip along at 9 knots and when the power source drops there is always the safety of the engine.

There is an incredible calm about being on a sailing vessel.

Sit back and enjoy the scenery as it slowly passes by, get fed a scrumptious Devonshire tea with scones groaning under jam and whipped cream, or a lunch fit for a land-based restaurant, and partake of beer and local wines.

The wines are particularly good.

After a couple of those the courage is up for a stint aloft and bearing in mind the wooden deck looked quite hard and the mast quite high it was on with a safety harness.

Oh, a reminder, don't take your shoes off before going up the mast because the rope ladder does play havoc with city-boy feet.

Then up you go to witness some excellent views of the surroundings and stare down at your fellow passengers.

And don't wear shorts as some people - particularly boisterous middle-aged ladies - can give you a really hard time about your legs.

The cheek!

The R Tucker Thompson makes a lunch stop at Motuarohia Island, or Robertson Island, where you get an inflatible trip on to the shore for either a swim or chill out, or for a good walk up to the island lookout.

The views up there are excellent and the effort not too exacting.

Then it's lunch and we had a terrific tandoori chicken meal that was more than enough for any stomach given a huge appetite by sun and sea.

Weighing anchor it was up with the sails and off for a light-breeze cruise at about 2 knots.

While it would have been nice to have had heavier winds that would allow R Tucker Thompson to show her pace, the tranquility of just mooching along was very restful.

The sail with the R Tucker Thompson is about US$109 for adults and children about US$55.

You can buy beer and wine on board and also some nifty T-shirts.

While I have left them until last the crew of the R Tucker Thompson we sailed with were excellent.

The R Tucker Thompson is a memorable way to spend a day in the Bay of Islands and left we landlubbers with an urge to do it all again.




Set sail on a voyage with the R Tucker Thompson



Copyright Richard Moore 2018 | Contact Us