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Sapphire II
Owner John O'Connor
Design Discovery 67
Length Overall 20 m 80 cm
Flag United States of America
Sail Number 60345

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Sapphire II - 19th July, Sapphire's Farewell

Today the World ARC fleet set off from Vanuatu headed for Australia. We leave the rally here and plan to sail upwind to Fiji, where we will leave the boat for a couple of months, waiting for the weather to be favorable for the trek to New Zealand.Vanuatu has been the perfect last place to visit on this half-circumnavigation. Although the weather has been "iffy" (high winds and frequent rain), the abiding memory is of the charm of the people. They are extraordinarily pleasant , relaxed and welcoming. The villages are the poorest we've seen (rudimentary thatched huts with small vegetable gardens), but while they have no worldly goods they are hospitable, generous and charming. Vanuatu has been the perfect country to provide the last memories of our Pacific odyssey.My memory of the. read more...


Sapphire II - 14 July, Nearing the End

Happy Bastille day to our French friends!Now as we near Port Vila, Vanuatu, departures from the family of the World ARC are beginning. These are the boats who wanted to spend time in the Antipodes. Two boats departed today for New Caledonia. We had a nice celebration of their contributions to the Rally a few nights ago, But they will be missed from the fleet.Two more boats (us included) will leave in Port Vila on the 19th, in order to head for New Zealand later this year when the weather is more favorable. It's sad to part from friends which have become more established recently.We will wish only the best for the fleet continuing their circumnavigation. We will also remember friendships made and good times enjoyed. But it won't be easy to part from friends who've shared the experiences. read more...


Sapphire II - 13 July, Vanuatu

After a speedy but uncomfortable passage from Fiji (25 kt winds and confused seas) we arrived at the island of Tanna in Vanuatu (formerly New Hebrides) on 10th July. After the turbulent sea, it was nice to be in the mildly rolly anchorage of Port Resolution.Tanna I think has probably fulfilled most people's expectations of what to expect in an undeveloped Pacific island. We visited a village near to the anchorage with some 300 inhabitants, of whom 120 were kids under the age of 10. The people are very welcoming and appear very contented with their life. The village has closely spaced huts with frond roofs, sand paths and pigs, chickens and dogs roaming at will. Everybody smiles and waves; many speak English and French (both countries shared ruling here) and we even managed to buy bread. read more...


Sapphire II - 1 July, Blue Lagoon/Avatar/Cast Away....

...just a few of the movies which used fabulous Fijian locations in their cinematography. We've visited 2 of these and they were striking.The Fijian islands (there are 330 or so), are verdant, hilly and most have deserted long white beaches. In contrast to the Tongan islands they are tamer, marginally more inhabited and English is more widely spoken.The tourist industry is the mainstay, displacing sugar cane, which was historically the cash crop and which encouraged the colonial power to bring in 60,000 Indian indentured workers. We have seen no sign of the ethnic tensions this has created.What we have seen is a myriad of low-cost "backpacker" style resorts on each island catering mostly to 20 something's who come mainly from the US and Australia. There are also 5 or 6 International. read more...


Sapphire II - Passage Making, 22 June 2012 in Fiji

We are all, of course , struck by the beauty of the destinations we reach and savor. But we tend to skate over the details involved in getting to these  places. For those non-sailors who read the blogs, I thought it would be worthwhile taking one blog to sketch what is involved in getting from Paradise A to Paradise B!  Our passage from Tonga to Fiji is typical and so, gentle reader, we can do a thumbnail sketch of it.First we decide roughly on what date we should leave. Not as easy as you might think. Check the weather forecast. Is it OK? Check with other crews to see what they might be thinking. See if there is something that one wishes to stay in the anchorage for ( a party, or in our case, the Rugby Test between Ireland and the All Blacks). We decided to leave on the Sunday. read more...

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