Tainui has been sold and in Belfast I took delivery of her successor Blue Dove. She is a pretty little Rival 34, whose custodianship I have signed over to Maxine. She (the boat, that is) is 40 years old and no racing greyhound, but she’s seaworthy and ideal for poking back into Russia’s inland waterways next year. First though, some cruising in Scotland before a third refugee rescue mission off the Libyan coast.

Moving on from Tainui after 20 years was a serious wrench – strange and more than a little unpleasant. I have such rich memories.  As Fitzgerald said, “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past”.

Since then my sojourn working on the out islands of Milne Bay in PNG has taught me that there are other vessels, other ways of practising medicine, other adventures. A difficult lesson, but learned.


Cruising Russian waterways – With pride  and some trepidation, Maxine and I have now published an account of our Volga River journey from the Arctic to the Black Sea.
How to purchase – This book is available on line from Amazon.co.uk, Arthur Beale in London, Morkinga in Moscow and Boat Books in Sydney and Melbourne.  North American and Australian purchasers note – you should order through Amazon.co.uk (not Amazon.com) or Boat Books (Sydney and Melbourne). You can find further information at http://www.sailinginrussia.org


 OCC Route map
 More Russia stuff –  You can see a map of Tainui’s travels through Russia athttp://my.yb.tl/tainui. For Maxine’s account, check out her Facebook page (Sail through Russia 2013) or, better still, buy our book! Ever resourceful, Max is setting up a new website for cruising yachts interested in exploring Russia’s waterways. While we are promoting our book, access to the website’s Russia posts has been blocked and we hope you will buy the book instead!   

In the spring of 2005 Tainui sailed south from Hobart to Macquarie Island, New Zealand’s subantarctic islands (Campbell and the Aucklands), Stewart Island and the fjords of South Island. She then returned to Sydney via Nelson and Lord Howe Island.

Following a brief sojourn back in Australia she again crossed the Tasman to New Zealand and the Chatham Islands, then across the Southern Ocean to spend 2 rich seasons cruising Patagonia. Tainui then sailed north along the east coasts of the Americas via Cuba and New York to Labrador. Then, turning east from Nova Scotia, she crossed the North Atlantic to Scotland via Iceland, Faroe and the Shetlands. After wintering in Scotland she cruised the Baltic to St Petersburg before heading back through Sweden to the Norwegian coast for a late summer visit to Svalbard.

In 2013 Tainui spent a chilly winter on the hard at Skattora in Tromso (arctic Norway), in anticipation of her journey from North Cape into the Barents Sea and across to Russia. In early June she entered the White Sea and cleared into Russia at Archangel’sk. With belated cooperation from Russia’s bureaucracy and the enthusiastic support of local people, she followed the Volga and Don Rivers for 2,000 miles down to Ukraine and the Black Sea.

After a well-earned rest at her winter quarters in Marmaris (Turkey), Tainui then sailed west via the Greek Islands, Croatia and Venice to La Linea de Conception (Gibraltar). In February 2015 she crossed the Atlantic from Cabo Verde to Trinidad, then via Venezuela and Colombia to Panama. She passed through the Panama Canal in November and has just arrived home in Sydney after the long trade wind passage from Ecuador via the Galápagos, French Polynesia, Niue, Tonga, Fiji and New Caledonia.

In 2017, after nearly 20 years in our hands, Tainui has been sold. For friends and family, this is an account of her travels. And perhaps also, some voyages which follow in Blue Dove, her successor.

First though, a couple of images:

Haitian fishing boat


... and Venice





Schooners at Stonington