ELANA SAILS A SOLO FIGURE 8 AROUND NEW ZEALAND TO HELP AOTEAROA’S YOUTH IN FOSTER CARE GO ON THE SPIRIT OF NEW ZEALAND TALL SHIP’S 10-DAY, LIFE-CHANGING JOURNEY!
Former foster youth, Elana Connor (AKA Peregrina Sails), is solo sailing a figure 8 voyage around Aotearoa New Zealand to raise funds for VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai, enabling the creation of a new scholarship program for youth in foster care to attend the 10-day youth development journeys aboard the Spirit of New Zealand tall ship. The scholarship will cover the full cost of $2500 for a young person in care to attend this life changing experience.
Elana has made three major solo ocean passages covering more than 10,000 nautical miles in the Pacific over the past three years. She’s not completely alone; she sails with her 4 kg rescue dog, Zia, a papillon mix. After making landfall in New Zealand in December 2019, she was determined to use her skills and 10.4 metre sailing yacht, Windfola, to make a difference for foster youth in New Zealand.
Having gone through the transition from foster care to independence herself, Elana believes that foster youth are in need of access to experiences that will grow their self-confidence, teamwork skills, resilience, and personal aspirations. She knows firsthand how outdoor education opportunities can change the life of a teenager and help them transition into a healthy and self-actualized adulthood.
The Spirit of New Zealand’s journeys are life-changing, and Elana believes they will provide care-experienced youth with a pivotal opportunity to expand their horizon of possibility and reach greater potential. “By creating this fund, we will be expanding the horizon of possibility for foster youth, equipping and enabling them to realize their greater potential!”
Elana departed Auckland on 14 October, sailing southeast to the Bay of Plenty, around the East Cape, through the Cook Strait, down the west coast of the South Island, through the Foveaux Strait, north to Dunedin and Christchurch, through the Cook Strait to Wellington, and north to New Plymouth, around Cape Reinga and past the Bay of Islands to return to Auckland at the end of the summer. Her voyage will take approximately 21 weeks because she plans to stop in any port along the route where kiwi youth want to meet her and hear about the trip.