Maybird Classic Sailing

Doves Bay, NZ To River Hamble, UK

April – July 2007


Doves Bay, Keri Keri, Tauranga, Ipswich, Hamble

dramatis personae

Melanie MacDiarmid - In charge of New Zealand logistics
Danny Clement and Gillian MacDiarmid – delivery crew Keri Keri to Tauranga
M V Eemsgracht - bulk carrier – 25,000 tonnes of onions – plus Maybird – Tauranga to Ipswich
John Jonas (‘JJ’) - Harbour Master, Fox’s Marina, Ipswich
Bill and Sue Creer - Delivery Crew Ipswich to Hamble
H M Customs and Excise - Maybird’s owner for some five days during this voyage


Keri Keri to Ipswich via Tauranga

After an emotional farewell at the Dove’s Bay quayside, Maybird sailed out of the Bay of Islands for the last time whilst Robin and the MacDiarmid clan looked on with tearful eyes. The three day sail down to Tauranga was made in very gentle weather conditions with the wind averaging just 10 knots. Maybird was craned aboard the MV Eemsgracht on 7th May once the 25,000 tonnes of onions had been loaded. She arrived at Ipswich in the UK on 19th June.

Diplomatic Incident


Notice of seizure from HMRC

Whilst awaiting customs clearance, Maybird was inadvertently taken beyond the boundary of the Port of Ipswich by some 150 metres whilst being towed over to Fox’s Marina on the other side of the River Orwell. This technical breach of the rules resulted in Maybird being seized by HMRC and she was chained to the pontoon until the paperwork was sorted out. For some 5 days, Maybird became the property of the Government but took it all in her stride. Once an apology had been made and the correct documents lodged, ownership was transferred back and Maybird was set free from her chains and honour was restored.

Ipswich to the River Hamble

Unloading at Ipswich

Unloading at Ipswich

The sail to Hamble took 37 hours via the Thames Estuary, Ramsgate, Dover and Brighton. As Maybird rounded Selsey Bill, she seemed to ‘know’ her way through the Eastern Solent to the River Hamble. That night she seemed contented on the Harbour Master’s pontoon at Hamble. I had to pinch myself when I saw her the following morning knowing that she was about to embark on yet another great adventure.

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