I am leaving Auckland, New Zealand today on 50-foot SV Avalon, headed east to Waiheke Island and then north to Whangarei, where we hope to arrive by Saturday.  This will be my first shakedown sail with the beautiful Deerfoot-designed, cutter-rigged sailing vessel Avalon.

We will have the boat hauled out of the water in Whangarei next week for inspections and maintenance. 

Then we will have another week of preparation before the 1,200-mile passage to Fiji.  We will do more shakedown sails, pick up our remaining crew, and provision the boat with food, water, and fuel.

In late April, we begin watching for a weather window that will allow us safe passage north to Fiji.  The skipper, who has made this passage before, says the first 400 miles can be pretty rough, with big seas and wind. 

I'm excited because the conditions will test me, giving me another data point as to whether I'm cut out to be an ocean-going sailor.

The weather conditions and sea state are not the only tests. Essentially, I will be sharing a floating one-bedroom apartment with four guys in the middle of the ocean for 8-10 days.  So the passage will be a psychological and behavioral test as well as physical test.

I can't wait!  Let the adventure begin! 

We have WIFI on board but it's reserved for specific navigational and safety purposes... Updating Facebook is not one of them. 

I'll respond to emails and update DBT.com again once we have the boat out of the water in Whangarei next week.   

True to DBT purpose, I have lined up a family to stay with in Whangarei.  I will help them in their garden, harvesting and clearing the summer growth.  

Just like in the old corporate days, I like to work hard, stay busy, and keep active.  But these activities I'm doing now are just so much more fun for me....

Goodbye Auckland!  See you upon my return from Fiji!

Afternoon showers yielded a beautiful rainbow over the central business district of Auckland.

Afternoon showers yielded a beautiful rainbow over the central business district of Auckland.

SV Avalon on the morning of departure, needing a couple of hours of set-up before we set sail.

SV Avalon on the morning of departure, needing a couple of hours of set-up before we set sail.

DBT on the morning of departure, needed a couple of coffees before we set-sail.

DBT on the morning of departure, needed a couple of coffees before we set-sail.

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