Bay of Islands Sailing FAQ’s

How do I find the boat?

Picture-of-lady-sailing-catamaran-with-sun-setting-int-the-backgroundYou will find us on the beach at Paihia. We won’t be hard to find once you get there, just walk along the beach and you will see the boat anchored very close to the shore line.

Will I get wet?

Absolutely! But not too wet -you will have to step into the water to get onto the boat. Sometimes it is ankle or calf deep, other times a wave will roll in and it may be up to your knees. So kick your shoes off and roll up your trousers before you step aboard. Sometimes we get the odd wave splash on the boat, it’s all part of the fun!

What should I bring?

Just the usual – bottle of water, warm clothing/ jacket, footwear for island walks, swimwear, towel hat, sunglasses, sunblock (please not spray sunblock it eats the paint)

Do I wear shoes on the boat?

Nope, just like the name suggests we are Barefoot Sailing Adventurers!! Kick off your shoes at the shore and experience the Kiwi barefoot culture for yourself, it’s quite liberating!

Does the boat lean over?

No, the boat sits flat while sailing which means it is a very comfortable experience, especially for first time sailors or families with children. There is plenty of deck space and we have bean bags to relax on if you are sitting on the front half of the boat, the back half has seating.

Can I help sail the boat?

Yes, our skipper loves to get people involved if they want to take the helm or help set the sails. There are some conditions or points of sail that it is not practical to have others helm the boat, but for the most part you are very welcome.

Sailing Trip in Bay of Islands New ZealandDo we have a motor?

Yes we do. We use the motor to get in and out of the beach to anchor. We just love sailing! So we like to sail as much as possible, the boat performs far better under sail than under motor so sailing it is! There are times where if there is not enough wind to reach our destination we will have to use the engine, or to keep to our time schedule – we don’t like to make anyone late to catch their ferry/bus.

Will we see Dolphins?

Yes we do see dolphins, not every day but they are there and if they happen to be where we are sailing it is a lovely experience to see them in their natural environment. We like to advise you that the resident dolphins in the Bay of Islands are very sensitive to human interaction, we do not encourage any interaction with them. As of 15 Dec 2021 the Department of Conservation have declared the Bay of Islands a Marine Mammal Sanctuary. This means if we encounter dolphins or other marine mammals there are rules which we must abide by: when within 300m of the vessel we must stop the boat (so long as it is safe to do so) until the marine mammals have moved away further than 300m. There is no swimming or water activities allowed within 300m of a marine mammal. This may cause some disruption to our planned cruise but we hope to keep the disruption as minimal as possible, we thank you for you understanding. If we happen to encounter a marine mammal on our sailing cruise,  this is a completely natural encounter, it is very special and possibly the best way to experience dolphins as they can choose to interact on their own terms.

What about the weather? The million dollar question!

New Zealand can be tricky to plan for with the weather particularly when choosing outdoor activities, so to be realistic you just have to be prepared for anything.

We do try our best and are very vigilant when it comes to weather forecasting.

Safety is always our foremost concern, then comfort. We are generally not too bothered by a rain shower here or there. It is an open boat, so we have rain poncho’s to cover up and stay warm/dry, or you can pop down into the cabins if you want. If the forecast looks like a serious day of rain we which will make the trip an absolute misery we will cancel/postpone, as we would like our guests to have a good experience.

The skipper is experienced to make decisions based on the weather, and the final decision will be his (keeping in mind that we are reliant on information that is given to us, we can’t promise the forecast will be correct). If we decide to cancel a full refund will be given if we can’t make alternative arrangements for another day that suits your travel plans.

We understand that everyone has a different level of comfort when it comes to the weather, and we do our best to make everyone as comfortable as we possibly can. Sometimes people are not used to the wind, the sea state, salty splashes, or a bit of rain, or even the sunshine. But as Kiwi’s this is all part of our lifestyle, and it is how New Zealand has become so well known for it’s Adventure Tourism, because we are so good at it!


Please see the cruise pages for specific FAQ’s for each different cruise.