South Island Rally 2023 - 2024
The South Island Rally 2023 - 2024 is now open for registrations!
Watch the Webinar!
What to Expect
What is a Rally?
A yacht rally is a group of sailors who choose to sail in approximately the same direction around the same time. Our focus is on safe and social cruising. We will help you prepare for the adventures ahead, assist with finding crew, provide a detailed guide book for the destinations you'll be visiting, give you support with weather, shore crew assistance if you have any questions or problems, provide some great discounts and events and socially connect you with all the other yachts and power boats heading in your direction.
You are free to cruise with the group, or do your own thing. The choice is yours!
Cruise with the group or at your own leisure the choice is yours.
You can choose to just stay and enjoy the wonderful Marlborough Sounds and Abel Tasman or venture further south to spectacular Fiordland and Stewart Island, Otago and Banks Peninsula.
The group will gather in Opua on the 27th December - or you can depart at your own leisure, the rally will head south, firstly for the stunning Abel Tasman area. This is a 500NM passage and will take you around 3-4 days.
On arrival you can explore the golden sandy beaches and stunning walks in the Abel Tasman and reprovision or make any repairs in Nelson.
From there you have the choice - either to stay and explore in the Abel Tasman and Marlborough area - or for those keen to head south it is around 350NM or a two day passage South to spectacular Milford Sound.
For those staying in Marlborough, there is much to explore. D'Urville Island, Pelorus, Tennyson, Kenupuru & Queen Charlotte Sounds. You'll find great fishing, hundreds of bays and inlets, wonderful walks, remote lodges and stunning anchorages.
There is so much to explore in Fiordland and Stewart Island, scenery, history, wildlife and friendly people. There is very limited phone coverage in this part of the world, so you'll need an IridiumGO, IridiumExec, Starlink or some other kind of satellite communications to be able to keep in touch. Weather is also another challenging aspect of sailing in this part of the world. You'll need to be confident with anchoring and sailing in challenging conditions, be well provisioned, bring some good wet weather gear & sand fly repellant too.
- Visit remote lodges
- Hike some of the fantastic walks
- Catch some fish & meet the fishermen
- Enjoy a quiz at the Stewart Island Pub
- Explore this wild and remote part of New Zealand
After Stewart Island it is a short hop up the coast to Dunedin, should you wish to stop and explore this lovely city. You can then day-hop up the coast to Oamaru, Timaru or sail straight up to Akaroa arriving early March.
Then it is on to stunning Banks Peninsula. Akaroa & Lyttelton harbours are great safe spots and interesting places to visit.
- We'll help you find a mooring or give you some tips on the best place to anchor
- Join in the Akaroa Yacht Club Sunday racing, or come up to the club for drinks and a BBQ afterwards
- Enjoy visiting the great shops restaurants, walks and sights in Akaroa
We will then sail around the Peninsula and visit:
- The Penguin Colony, take a tour of the farm or a sea kayaking safari in the marine reserve
- Anchor in a remote bay, and take your dinghy upstream to a quirky museum
- Explore some of the stunning bays and inlets of Banks Peninsula
- Join the local yachties at the finish line of their annual peninsula race for a big party in March
The Rally Includes:
- A printed Yacht Manual checklist to help you get prepared
- A detailed rally guide - we've done all the research for you! Our rally guide book contains lots of local information on things like tides, VHF channels, where to get fuel & groceries in remote places, contacts for moorings & things to see and do along the way.
- The LINZ paper chart of the South Island.
- Stewart Island Cruising guide by Alastair Walker - for those heading to Stewart Island.
- A free Fiordland cruising guide
- Passage plan template & workshop
- A rally pack with sponsors goodies
- All you need to know about biosecurity requirements and clean vessel passes
- Assistance with getting prepared, including webinars, workshops and regular updates containing detailed content on destinations, weather, anchoring techniques, fishing regulations, radio stations and more
- The PredictWind tracker if you have an IridiumGO which you can share with your friends & family. Check out last year's tracker here.
- 20% discount on PredictWind weather routing subscriptions & advice & support getting set up and downloading weather routing
- Access to discounted summer membership of Waikawa Boating Club and use of their extensive mooring options in the Sounds - (at an optional extra cost)
- Making great friends to sail with and meet the locals along the way
- Shore crew support - I'll be on the end of the phone if you need help or advice
- Guidance from Peter Mott our Passage Guardian.
- Coordination with Maritime Radio & RCCNZ so they are aware of the rally movements
- An ICNZ burgee
- Lots of great deals and discounts from our suppliers including charts, cruising guides, safety gear, lines and much more
- Events along the way
- Flexibility to cruise with the group or do your own thing.
NZD$500.00 per vessel
Optional extra to add on - Waikawa Boating Club package $350.00 per vessel. This includes use of the extensive network of club moorings and facilities over the rally period.
I recommend signing up early to take full advantage of all the content and assistance with getting ready to go.
You'll also need to become a member of Island Cruising if you aren't already, which is $95 per year. This will also give you access to all our cruising preparation content to help get you, your crew and your boat ready for the adventures ahead: https://www.islandcruising.nz/register
We encourage your crew to join too so they can also access all the resources and updates about the rally.
We can help with crew too if you need an extra hand for the passages or just cruising in general. We recommend your crew also become members of Island Cruising so they can swot up on all the handy things to know such as passage planning, safety, navigation, watch keeping and get access all our other content and resources as well. Check out our CrewSeeker list here or if you'd like to sign up and crew please do so here.
A rally is not a race, and you can expect to encounter some bad weather and challenging conditions on this voyage. You and your vessel need to be well prepared. We will help you with tips, discounts and advice to help you prepare you and your vessel for the adventures ahead. Island Cruising will provide the information, advice and events and assistance along the way to help you prepare and undertake the voyage, Maritime Law states that the skipper has the sole responsibility of the safety of the vessel and its crew, and the decision to set sail or participate in the rally or any events along the way is entirely up to you.
We would love to have you join us and a deposit of $200 will secure your spot with the balance due by 30 October 2023.
Register online here:
We will then send you an invoice for the rally and once we receive your deposit, you'll get your printed copy of the Yacht Manual checklist and will start getting the first rally preparation updates.
Read some articles about other sailors adventures on previous rallies:
Yachting Monthly - by Alex & Lesley Stone - Exploring New Zealand by Catamaran
Fiordland by Amy Richards & Luke Hodgeson - Read in the Waikawa Latitude 41 Magazine here.
If you have any questions or feedback, please let me know.
Thanks for your support.
Island Cruising NZ
P: 021 438 977
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