PIC Insurance Brokers Cruising and Motor Yacht Series

 In Member Interest, Uncategorised

‘Best Kept Secret of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron’

Article and Photos by Ivor Wilkins – this article originally appeared in the 2023 Breeze Spring Edition.

At the annual Cruising Dinner in September, The Quarterdeck Restaurant was buzzing with friendly chatter as RNZYS members, friends and family gathered for dinner and to listen to entertaining speaker Geoff Thorpe relate his passion for cruising a catamaran around the world. “Just push off and take one leg at a time, just go!” was his mantra, “and before you know it you’ll be thousands of miles from home.”

As a proud member for 42 years, the Squadron burgee flying from Salanjo’s starboard shroud required regular replacement as the winds

tested the fabric’s endurance, even blowing a hole through the middle! This was far from the worst of Geoff’s mishaps caused by inclement weather while cruising.

Once, when a wave took out all the nav gear in the middle of the night, Geoff was able to fire up Navionics, which proved to be a capable back-up on more than one occasion. “A big advantage of a catamaran is that you have two of everything.” Geoff said this was a big help when doing repairs and maintenance on the go.

Solanjo’s world voyage took in historic villages basking in the sun (header) and spectacular anchorages in the shadow of mountains (above).

Geoff’s scariest experience was a lightning storm off Indonesia, which took out every chip which operates all electronic systems on board. He was about to throw in the towel and return home, but decided better of it and elected to replace everything. Ever since (especially returning to New Zealand from Fiji in November last year) he has been very aware of approaching storms, electing to significantly alter course to avoid their passage overhead.

A new season of cruising is imminent, and we are all looking forward to more sunshine and enjoyable boating weather. The Cruising Committee would like to also encourage launch owners to join us at our destinations for the sharing of stories, friendship, and promoting RNZYS by flying your burgee with pride. Look for the PIC and RNZYS flags ashore and join the new WhatsApp group to keep in communication. Remember to bring your reusable beverage vessels for drinks ashore, and a bucket for the beach clean with prizes thanks to Ecostore.

As our first PIC Insurance Brokers Cruising and Motor Yacht Series is quickly approaching, now is the time enter online via rnzys.org.nz or at RNZYS Reception for the series of six cruising events, and don’t forget about the Easter Rally!


2023 – October 28, November 11, December 2

2024 – February 17, March 16, April 20

Colin Forbes Easter Rally March 29 – 31

Geoff Thorpe (above) regaling a rapt Cruising Division audience (top) with tales of his adventures on the catamaran Solanjo

Article by Sheryl Lanigan.

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