Eastern Courier : May 25th 2011
23 EASTERN COURIER, MAY 25, 2011 NEWS Tall ship sails into Manukau Harbour Land ho: The Spirit of New Zealand sails into Manukau Harbour for the first time in the ship's history. Photos: PHIL DOYLE Kicking back: Crew members enjoy the view as they enter the Manukau Harbour. Sea toil: Young crew members do the work of sailing the ship. On deck: Tasks on board the ship include the work of coiling lines ready for use. By TROELS SOMMERVILLE Bar crossing, left: The Spirit of New Zealand navigates the waters of the Manukau Harbour's bar. The Manukau Harbour witnessed a rare sight on Saturday. The 148-foot Spirit of New Zealand sailed into the har- bour for the first time in the boat s 25-year history. The 40 youth trainees and crew aboard the three-masted barquentine were greeted by a flotilla of Coastguard boats, surf lifesaving craft and local boaties. The kids here will have had a fairly unique journey, Spirit of Adventure Trust chief executive Dean Law- rence says. There was a good oppor- tunity. The bar was at the right level. It was rough enough to appreciate the dif- ficulty of it while it was calm enough to get across. Not many sailing ships come into the harbour these days because it means cross- ing the dangerous bar. But a $2 million refit and a new, more powerful engine made the bar crossing much safer for the Spirit, especially in the calm conditions. The bar is built up from sand and silt deposits from the Waikato River and changes position depending on the weather systems that sweep through the area. That makes it difficult to navigate, Manukau Coast- guard president Peter Van Rooye says. It changes constantly because all it is is a big bank of sand, he says. No two crossings are the same. But there was more to the occasion than just a bar crossing -- it was also a remembrance service for the worst maritime disaster in New Zealand s history. A wreath was laid in mem- ory of the 189 souls lost when the HMS Orpheus was wrecked while attempting a bar crossing in 1863. And after a few restless nights at sea the sanctuary of the calmer waters of the har- bour were appreciated by those with queasy stomachs on board the Spirit. Pukekohe High School s crew member Joris Melchers says he was one of only six people not to throw up on the first few nights at sea. I m looking forward to a swim because we haven t showered yet so the boys cabin is getting a bit smelly with old socks and spew. The boat dropped anchor in Big Bay where it stayed over- night before heading for the Bay of Islands on Sunday. Each year the Spirit of New Zealand spends more than 300 days sailing young people around the shores of the country as part of its leader- ship programme. Between 1000 and 1200 youngsters board the ship over the year to take part -- hoisting sails, climbing rig- ging and sailing the ship. Most of those on board have never met, which is all part of the bonding experi- ence of being on board the Spirit. Music players and cellphones are confiscated at the start of the voyage -- a shock to most teenagers -- but that didn t dampen the spirits of 16-year-old Epsom Girls Grammar student Kimberleigh Jones. I ve wanted to sail on the ship since forever, since I saw the boat in the Viaduct, she says. I love it.
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