Sailing odyssey around NZ

Almost ready to set sail on their journey around New Zealand are Jorg, Katrin, Mara (13) and Frauke (12) Hasse at the Otago Yacht Club yesterday. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Almost ready to set sail on their journey around New Zealand are Jorg, Katrin, Mara (13) and Frauke (12) Hasse at the Otago Yacht Club yesterday. Photo: Peter McIntosh
When the Hasse family explain their plan for the next eight months to their friends, half are very supportive - and the other half think they are crazy.

Later this month Jorg and Katrin Hasse and daughters Mara and Frauke will pack up their possessions and set sail on a eight-month adventure around New Zealand.

It will be the longest distance Mr Hasse has sailed.

''I started sailing about five years ago on Lake Dunstan, just in little dinghies, and went step by step to little bit bigger boats.''

About a year ago the family started planning the trip and they bought their H28 yacht.

What originally started as a joke, because the family had not travelled to the North Island, quickly became serious.

''It was always the problem how to get to the North Island and travel around and then someone said we could just sail there and now we do it,'' Mrs Hasse said.

Friends told about the trip were divided on whether it was a good idea, Mr Hasse said.

''So there are a few people who think it's great and they are really encouraging and other people say we are absolutely stupid - there's nobody in between.''

''I think they will be both right,'' he said.

The initial plan is to sail through Cook Strait then around the North Island before deciding whether to travel back down the east coast to Dunedin or complete the full loop.

''We have to take it as it comes because we never know what the weather will be and we want to stay well out of the way of bad weather,'' Mr Hasse said.

To finance the trip the couple sold their Dunedin home. They will pick up work along the way if needed.

''If we find a nice place we can stay there for a while and maybe we have to work for a few weeks just to get the finances right.''

Both of the girls will continue their education through Correspondence School, something Mara said would take a bit more motivation.

Most of her teachers at Queen's High School were in favour of the trip.

''They said I'm going to learn so much that I never would in the classroom and it will be something I will never forget.''

How the family of four will cope living in such close proximity is yet to be seen, Mrs Hasse said.

''We will find out how we do - but I hope by the end of the trip we will be closer with each other.''

tim.miller@odt.co.nz

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