The SV Vega is an 11.5 metre ketch launched in 1949 near Whangarei. Built on a Northland beach without the aid of power tools, she was planked from a single kauri log. In the early 1970’s she was bought by David McTaggart, a Canadian living in New Zealand, who went on to become the Chair of Greenpeace International.
Vega has participated in campaigns around the globe promoting Nuclear Free Seas, highlighting toxic issues, opposing driftnets and working to protect the environment.
Infinity is used for environment research and awareness raising, sailing extensively across the Pacific Ocean. Skipper Clemes Oestreich says “We didn’t want to be a spectator and use the Pacific for our pleasure. We wanted to contribute”.
The crew of Infinity have participated in scientific research into the coral reef crisis across Asian waters and the Pacific Ocean, whale observation and threatened bird research with Birdlife International.
An ongoing project is filming interviews of Pacific people’s observations and oral history on climate change impacts they see in their lives and their vision of the future.
Siome is just over 20 metres long, made of steel and built in 1988 by Alan Meyer and his family. Siome has had a busy life from being a family home for 20 years where six kids were raised as they travelled round world to being used to tag turtles on the Atlantic for research.
The next year, the crew of Siome successfully urged the Government of Vanuatu to make a stance against nuclear fuel ship movements through their waters.
Secret Affair is a 44-foot long gulf cruiser built in 1982 that has been with David Armstrong for 14 years. She’s very fast and weathered a few Pacific cyclones and challenged the French Government’s nuclear testing in the Pacific.
Windbourne, originally built in England, came to New Zealand 30 years ago where she was renovated in Nelson. Windbourne has been with current skipper Avon Hansford for seven years. He says much of her history is lost.
The current flotilla is possibly Windbourne’s first time at the environmental front line.