Stopover in New Zealand for Tara’s Annual Check-up

© Nicolas de la Brosse / Fondation Tara Expéditions

10 July 2017

Having completed the first year of the Tara Pacific expedition, on June 18 Tara docked in Whangarei, northern New Zealand. Samuel Audrain, Tara’s captain since he embarked in Kobe, and 6 sailors are participating in this mid-course maintenance session. This is a classic check-up, including verification of the engines and other vital elements. At the end of this week, the sailors will take a break and go to Auckland for a week. Invited by the Sir Peter Blake Trust, Tara and her crew will participate in many festivities.


9_Arrivee_NZ_iminente_credit_Noelie_Pansiot-2230082After 8 days of sailing, Tara arrives in New Zealand with the first rays of sun. © Noëlie Pansiot / Fondation Tara Expéditions


As soon as they arrived from Fiji, the crew set to work. For Samuel, it was important to reach New Zealand on this date and this season, for two reasons: “First of all, we couldn’t stay in the northern hemisphere with the cyclone season coming up and still maintain our schedule for the rest of the expedition. Moreover, in Whangarei, we have an ideal technical platform for the overhaul.

The workers are efficient, competent and available to do what we had planned before the next departure on August 9th”.

VH: As always aboard Tara, time is short. How did you organize the work with local shipyards?

SA: “Over the past few weeks, we established 2 lists for the chantier. The first included all the work to to be done by local service providers. We know we can delegate certain tasks to them, including a lot of welding. Then there’s a list of things to do ourselves, including the revision of the 2 new engines Brigitte 2 and Thérèse 2 which are celebrating their first year of operation. We also intend to reduce the overall sound level by installing silencers. Among the important micro-projects already accomplished this week, we completely repainted the freshwater reservoir.

On the way back from Auckland, around July 19, the second part of the chantier will begin. We’ll take Tara out of the water to clean the hull, and also remove the shaft lines of the 2 engines. The engine cooling system does not work well. The temperature gets too high and we have to find a solution. Installing a new, more efficient refrigeration chamber is the right thing to do. We will also take the opportunity to install 2 new propellers. Tara will be in dry dock for about 10 days, then we’ll finish the last tasks with the boat in the water”.


Samuel Audrain (capitaine) vérifie le câblage de la timonerie depuis le carréSamuel Audrain (captain) checks the wiring of the wheelhouse from the main cabin. © Maeva Bardy / Fondation Tara Expéditions


VH: It’s been more than 10 days since you started to test Tara. How do you find the schooner after the first year of expedition in these hot latitudes?

SA: I find that the more time passes, the better Tara is! When we return to Lorient next time, it won’t be difficult to be quickly operational again.

The annual maintenance session will also be the occasion for several visits and certifications. Since we are registered in the Merchant Shipping Registry, we will have the annual visit of the Bureau Veritas, the certification organization that gives us the right to sail.

There will also be an official fire inspection, and a mandatory sanitary visit which happens every 6 months.


19_Arrivee_a_terre_credit_Noelie_Pansiot-2230178For a few days the schooner will have some repair work done before the Auckland stopover. © Noëlie Pansiot / Fondation Tara Expéditions


VH: Tara, formerly Seamaster, is returning for the first time to the homeland of its former owner, the late Sir Peter Blake. Before the big festivities in Auckland that will last a week with many visitors on board, how did the locals welcome you in this quiet town of Whangarei?

SA: As soon as we entered the channel leading to our berth at Whangarei, we saw people photographing Tara from the surrounding hills. Some told us they had recognized the boat and were very surprised to see it here again. Since then, photos have been published in the local press, as well as important coverage by the national press.

When we started working on Tara with local service providers, they said: Welcome home”!

There’s no doubt that when Tara arrives in Auckland on Saturday, July 1 at 1 pm, there will be a great thrill on board.

The tribute will be immense. The memory of the sailor with the generous blonde mustache is still very much present. Especially since New Zealand just won the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda. The last time this trophy was brought back by the kiwis to their island, it was with Peter Blake.


Vincent Hilaire

Related articles