The R. Tucker Thompson is a gaff rigged schooner, essentially a two masted olde time pirate ship. She sails around the bay of islands during the summer months, which being New Zealand means October through April.

In the mid 70’s this fellow named Robert Tucker Thompson started building a boat with his son Tod, unfortunately he died before it was complete and the hull sat rusting and unloved for a few years until Tod decided to finish building it and put the damn thing to work. Being that the ship was being built by some guy with limited funds a lot of the parts were acquired from rather unusual sources, the Anchor came from a pub in Auckland, the winch for the anchor is a from a modified bulldozer, and the beds on board are from a rail car.

Despite being a weird hodgepodge of mismatched bits and pieces the ship is absolutely beautiful and crewed by some of the friendliest surly wharf rats I have ever come across. They do engage in a fair amount of press gang behavior in that they ask the unqualified idiots like myself to do things like steer and assist with manning the sails throughout the journey, but that is actually quite a bit of fun.

One of the main reasons they allow yahoos like myself aboard is to fund their wintertime charity “Learning for Life through the Sea” where they take at risk children out into the ocean for a week of sailing and fun. I do wonder if perhaps the kids were previously at risk of falling overboard or choosing a life of piracy at sea, and most certainly if they were not, they are now.

Gorgeous Skies

Note the calm seas and beautiful skies between the rigging of our fine vessel, it couldn’t have been a better day to go sailing

Isle de Tim

I attempted to claim this ‘Island’ in the name of Tim only to discover that it is in fact within New Zealands territorial waters

All Due Respect

Sandra saluted with a minimal amount of smarm as I took the helm and declared myself El Capitan

Tim Driving

Being that there was nearly no wind and we were quite some distance from land there were no casualties cause by my steering of the ship

Sexy First Mate

Wondering aloud if perhaps now that I was in charge we were in fact all going to die, Sandra likely reconsidered supporting my mutiny…

Lost

It became abundantly clear at this point that in addition to not knowing how to navigate properly I also had no idea what the various gauges before me indicated

Captain Steve

Luckily however a somewhat imposing and knife wielding Captain Steve appeared to reclaim command of his vessel

DSCN5850

The rest of the trip, properly captained, went according to plan as seen in the reflection on Sandras sunglasses as she pretends to have had no part in my disastrous and brief command

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