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WRITING BY
REBECCA HAYTER

Featuring WILD SEAS TO GREENLAND, a book for DIY fans, ocean sailors and adventurers everywhere.

All photos by Rebecca Hayter

 
 

WILD SEAS TO GREENLAND:

I WOKE TO A SCREAM SO TERRIBLE

THAT ICEBERGS SHATTERED.

IT WAS ME.

Multiple award-winning journalist Rebecca Hayter spent four months on a voyage into the Arctic Circle with 1994 Whitbread Round the World Race winner Ross Field. Wrap up warm, take some brave pills and come onboard to learn from one of New Zealand's most successful ocean racers, through the words of one of its best yachting writers.

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THE HARDEST PART OF A REFIT? DECIDING WHAT TO DO AND HOW TO DO IT.

Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.

When veteran ocean racer Ross Field planned the refit of his newly purchased, 20-year-old, aluminium yacht Rosemary, he drew on 35 years experience as a professional yachtsman, including many new build and refit projects. All yacht refits have different requirements, but they all benefit from a clear, overall decision-making process.

In Wild Seas to Greenland, I aim to capture not only what Ross did, but why. It's perhaps the most important element of a successful project.

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THE WILD RIDE WENT ON AND ON THROUGH SWATHES OF SOUND...

Highly Commended,
Best International Feature, Travcom Media Awards 2019

The noise… the wind that roared against the tiny bit of staysail and double-reefed mainsail, the screaming whirr of the windvane. I’d heard people liken monster waves to freight trains and now I heard the Midnight Express roaring past my station – or not. Occasionally the brakes failed and it smashed against the hull beside me in my port aft berth, rolling me into the pillows I’d lined up against bulkhead: boomph. It sounded worse than it was; the aluminium hull was a drum. Once there was a mighty deluge from above and yelps from Ross and Nick as the cockpit filled and drained.

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"WEATHER ROUTING IS ONE OF THE GREATEST ADVANCES IN SAFETY AT SEA" - ROSS FIELD

Weather routing: a major reason I wrote this book and why you might want to read it.

Storms at sea remain the greatest threat to safety offshore, but no New Zealand yachting media has covered in detail the most important advance in ocean safety: weather routing, also known as route optimisation.

Ross Field and his son Campbell Field are experts in Expedition weather routing. Wild Seas to Greenland applies weather routing to a real-life scenario: our two-handed sail across the North Atlantic around intense storm systems, plus a technical chapter and appendix for more complex aspects of the technology.

 

THE BOOKSHELF

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WILD SEAS TO GREENLAND - A SAILING ADVENTURE WITH OCEAN RACER ROSS FIELD NZ$39.95

On sale, March 2021, New Zealand
230mm x 153mm, approx 220 pages & 50 colour photos.
Available soon as an e-book.

When I sailed to Greenland with 1994 Whitbread Round the World Race winner Ross Field, I knew many yachties would want to know how Ross applied 35 years' ocean racing experience to the refit of his 20-year-old, 55ft aluminium sloop; how he managed his boat at sea, especially through North Atlantic storms; follow closely as Ross weather-routed us around dangerous storms and hear some war stories from his yacht racing days. Wild Seas to Greenland has many tips for safer, more comfortable cruising, as well as a glimpse of the wildlife and people we met in an extraordinary Arctic destination.

With thanks to Kiwi Yachting for supporting Wild Seas to Greenland.

SHEILA IN THE WIND BY ADRIAN HAYTER (DAD)

UK & Europe readers: available from Lodestarbooks.com
NZ & Pacific readers: available April 2021 on link below, NZ$55.00

More than 60 years after it was first published and in the 30th anniversary of Adrian Hayter's death, Lodestar Books, UK republished one of New Zealand's great sailing classics.

In 1949, an intensely self-reliant, introspective New Zealand soldier emerged from the War, the Partition of India and the Malayan Emergency feeling the world had lost all sense of humanity. He set sail single-handed from England to New Zealand, despite having no sailing experience. The story of that voyage in Sheila II has continued to inspire readers as a sailing achievement and a journey of the human spirit. But what drove Adrian to make the voyage and what did it come to mean in the context of his life?

I attempt to answer those questions in the Introduction, written especially for this edition of Sheila in the Wind.

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WHAT YOU WISH FOR - ONE MAN'S GUIDE TO LIFE, DEATH AND ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES - BY PAUL BLACKLOW AND REBECCA HAYTER NZ$14.95

Published June 2008

As New Zealand debates the End of Life Bill, this book is especially relevant. It is not the story of someone who wanted to die before their natural process, but it is the story of Paul Blacklow, aged 31 when he was diagnosed with MND, who took control of his dying process. That included research into alternative therapies and how to approach death as a journey of the mind, body and spirit. He understood that other terminally ill people may not do the same research so he set up a support group and then began writing this book.
Having cared for my father through cancer, I understood that the process of death can be a process of love, and I felt privileged to complete Paul's book after his death. I learned a lot from working on What You Wish For and remain grateful for the experience.

OCEANS ALONE - CHRIS SAYER'S SOLO ADVENTURES ON THE HIGH SEAS

Published by HarperCollins 2004 NZ$19.95

When I wrote Oceans Alone, I had followed Chris Sayer’s solo adventures for 10 years and sailed overnight with him on his tiny, complex Mini Transat 6.50 yachts.
When Chris took his homemade, wooden Mini 650 to France and competed in the Mini Transat Race, he became the first non-Frenchman to stand on the podium in 15 years.
He built a second, higher-tech version, was rescued from a liferaft mid-ocean, navigated a major political storm, built a third boat and finally became a reluctant, high profile pirate entry in the Mini Transat Race.
Oceans Alone has been described as the only book in the English language to describe how to tack and gybe a Mini Transat yacht.

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SAMPLES OF MY WORK

 
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SAILING ACROSS THE ATLANTIC

The ARC Rally is considered the Hi-Di-Hi of yachting - here's my take on it.

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WHEN RAN TAN LOST HER CANTING KEEL, MID-OCEAN

New Zealand's most high profile racing yacht lost her keel and nearly her three crew mid-Pacific in 2019. There was minimal follow up as to why it happened - yet other canting keel yachts could be affected by the same factors. That seemed a good reason to dig deeper.

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AFTER THE FLOOD

High Heels and Gumboots, North & South magazine, April 2018


Rebecca Hayter contemplates life without toilet paper in Golden Bay.


Nearly a week after Cyclone Gita dumped a quarter of our region’s annual rainfall in half a day, two factors have proved critical. One, that the big players in town, including Sollys Trucks and Fonterra, have long been thinking the unthinkable – that one day the Takaka Hill might close indefinitely. Secondly, that the weather has been kind.

Such good management has saved us from becoming the Town without Toilet Paper.

As the cyclone moved across the Tasman Sea towards the north-west of the South Island, I tracked it on windy.com. The predictions for our area were a maximum of just 25 knots, which proved correct. And that, I thought, was that.

But Gita had drawn in moisture from many miles of ocean and she dumped it like a petulant child in the ranges. The rivers surged in angry torrents of logs and fence posts out of bounds, taking sheds and orchards in Riwaka, shunting bridges from their supports in outlying areas. In Takaka township, 150 people and five dogs evacuated for higher ground. A state of emergency was declared.

The deluge opened great gaping wounds in the clay-coloured flesh of the Takaka Hill. Drone footage showed tidy curves of tar seal and decisive white lines ridiculously intact between the slips like broken links in a chain.

The Hill was munted.

The Takaka Hill carries the only road in and out of Golden Bay, home to 6000 people. Some locals haven’t been over it in 10 years. Others drive it regularly: business commitments or medical appointments in Nelson or to make a connection to an international flight. Milk tankers service the dairy farms; trucks carry stock to the works. Every shop in Takaka is stocked by trucks trundling over that road.