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 [or singlehandedly] 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.

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 departs 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.

STATS ON ELANA’S BOAT WINDFOLA
Designer: Roger Hewson
Built: 1985
Builder: Sabre Yachts (Maine, USA)
LOA: Approx 10.33 metres (34 feet)
Beam: Approx 3.2 metres (10.5 feet)
Draft: 1.7 metres (5.5 feet)
Hull construction: hand-laid fibreglass (GRP)
Deck and cabin: through-bolted inward flange joint fibreglass composite with balsa wood core
Hull type: fin keel with rudder on skeg
Engine: Inboard Westerbeke 27 (original)Tankage: 76 litres diesel 137 litres water

Windfola is a 34′ GRP-hulled, masthead sloop designed by Roger Hewson and Sabre Yachts in Maine, USA. Her spar was replaced by a previous owner in approximately 2002, and the cable rigging was fabricated and installed in August, 2020, by McCormick Rigging in Tauranga.

Approximately 350 watts of flexible solar panels power all of her systems, including AIS receiver and transceiver, radar, under-deck ram electric autopilot, and Raymarine instruments. Other critical additions include an ACR EPIRB, auxiliary-rudder type windvane, 4-person Viking hard-case liferaft, AirHead composting toilet, Garmin InReach, Iridium GO! satellite modem, handheld VHF, Dyneema lifelines with netting, Rocna anchor and 40 meters of 8mm chain with 80 meters of triple-strand nylon braid. She has no heating, generator, inverter, refrigeration or freezer. Elana is grateful to Mike Delamore of Waiheke Working Sail for loaning her an ACR PLB and cruising guides for her voyage through New Zealand.
ITINERARY
6-13 Oct – In Auckland with VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai and Spirit of Adventure Trust
14 Oct – Depart Auckland to begin Figure 8, sail to GMI
16-18 Oct – Whitianga and MBBC
19-25 Oct – Bay of Plenty Region & East Cape
26 Oct – 4 Nov – East Cape, Gisborne, Napier
5-19 Nov – Transit Cook Straight to Marlborough Sounds
20-26 Nov – Marlborough Sounds through Port Nelson, Kahurangi
27 Nov-15 Dec – West Coast through Fjordland
16 Dec – 1 Jan – Southland to Dunedin
2-10 Jan – Dunedin to Christchurch
11-18 Jan – Christchurch to Wellington
19-25 Jan – Wellington
26 Jan-2 Feb – Wellington to New Plymouth
3-15 Feb – New Plymouth around Cape Reinga to Doubtless Bay
16-23 Feb – Northland East Coast
24 Feb-2 Mar – Arrive in Auckland