Summer Sailings

Tall Ship Sailing in the Bay of Islands

This summer, experience a day on the water on the iconic R. Tucker Thompson, a traditional gaff-rigged schooner with her own unique history. Choose to make it an active adventure, help hoist the sails, climb the rigging or just relax with a cold drink as you sail around the Bay of Islands. It’s a trip you’ll never forget!

Summer sailing dates 3 December 2024 – 21 April 2025

Why sail with us


Profits made from tourism goes to support our youth development programme, and provides local youth the opportunity to join a 7-day youth voyage. So sail away knowing your day out is going to a good cause.


The R. Tucker Thompson has retained a Qualmark GOLD Sustainable Tourism Business Award. A Gold Award recognises the best sustainable businesses in New Zealand, with the delivery of exceptional customer experiences. We are a member of the Sustainable Tourism Charter and have always focused on operating in a socially responsible way.
sustainable tourism
qualmark gold

Day Sail

The best way to discover the Bay of Islands

A day sail on the iconic R. Tucker Thompson is one of the few opportunities to go sailing on a working tall ship, in one of the most spectacularly beautiful parts of New Zealand, the Bay of Islands.

“Sailing on the R. Tucker Thompson was the best day of our holiday!”

With the wind behind us, this is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to see the Bay; you can be sure your carbon footprint is minimal. Our day sails operate from December until April, after which time we revert to our youth development voyages. 

Day Sail includes:

If you are visiting the Bay of Islands for the day on a cruise ship, we would love for you to experience a day out sailing in the Bay on the R. Tucker Thompson. Check if your cruise ship has organised a charter with us otherwise you need to make your own transfer arrangements.

See more information here.

Cruise ship information


Adult – NZ $179
Child – NZ $89

Includes morning tea, lunch and ferry transfers from Paihia. Infants under 5 go free (no meals included). 

Sailing Dates

Our 2024 Day Sails resume on 3 December and continue to 21 April 2025.

The ship is available for charter or school sailings throughout the year subject to availability.

Adult (16+ yrs)
Child (5-15yrs)
Infant (0-4yrs)

Sailing Times

9:30 am Paihia (via passenger ferry)
10:00 am Russell Wharf

3:30 pm Russell Wharf
4:00 pm Paihia (via passenger ferry)

NB: Times shown are latest departure times. Ferry tickets are transferable so that earlier and later ferries can be taken if required. 


Sundowner Sail

A perfect way to end the day!

This short Sundowner sail on board the tall ship R. Tucker Thompson is perfect if you don’t have time for a full day in the Bay but still want a unique tall ship experience. Departing from Russell wharf at 4.00pm, the trip is a relaxing sail through the Inner Bay around the area of Paihia, Waitangi and the Black Rocks.

You can head over to Russell earlier in the day to explore this historic village before boarding the ship at 4.00 pm. After the sailing, you can choose to dine at one of the restaurants in Russell before heading home.

Scheduled trips are offered on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, until the end of April.

A Sundowner Sail includes:


Adult – NZ $99
Child – NZ $49

Includes your return ferry transfer from Paihia if required and shared antipasto platter; infants under 5 go free (no food included). 

Sailing Dates

Scheduled Sundowner sailings are on Fridays, Sundays, and Wednesdays.

Our 2024 Day Sails resume on  3 December 2024 and continue to 21 April 2025.

Adult (16+ yrs)
Child (5-15 yrs)
Infant (0-4 yrs)

Sailing Times

3:30 pm Paihia (via passenger ferry)
4:00 pm Russell Wharf

5:45 pm Russell Wharf
6:00 pm Paihia (via passenger ferry)

NB: Times shown are latest departure times. Ferry tickets are transferable so that earlier and later ferries can be taken if required.

3-day Discovery Voyage

Discover the Bay, discover yourself!

Sail and explore the world-famous Bay of Islands for 3 days and 2 nights on board the iconic R. Tucker Thompson tall ship.

Now is your chance to stay overnight on this beautiful tall ship and experience the Bay of Islands through a different lens. You’ll get to explore the amazing history and stunning scenery of this beautiful part of Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Learn about tall ship sailing, the history of the bay and this special vessel. Wake up and enjoy a morning swim and spend your days exploring, diving, and if you are lucky enjoying some fresh seafood, along with the beautiful sunsets and clear waters. The 3-day voyage includes all meals, bunk style accommodation and shared facilities. Bring your friends and have an adventure you will remember forever! We can take a maximum of 10 people.

Surplus income from our summer sailing goes towards funding places for young Northlanders on a 7-day youth development voyage.


From $1825 per person

Sailing Dates

By charter only


These sailings are currently only available via private charter,  contact us at to enquire about dates and prices.

You don’t need to be super fit to enjoy yourself but a reasonable degree of mobility is required to get below decks and in and out of the tender. The walks on the islands would be classified as low to medium grade difficulty, generally no more than a couple of hours. Our goal is to make the ship accessible, and we have taken people with minimal vision, limited hearing and physical disabilities before. Ask us if you have any concerns.

This is not a cruise, it’s a tall ship experience. You’ll be sleeping in bunk beds in a shared space, which are more comfortable than hammocks but definitely more on the glamping scale. If you’ve slept in a marae, you’ll know what that’s like! We do recommend that you bring ear plugs in case other passengers snore.

You can see a full interactive scan of the ship here.

We have a fully enclosed Head (toilet) complete with a hot water shower. However, this is a shared facility so treat the experience as if you were camping. You won’t be showering each morning although we have a fresh water shower on deck for you to rinse off and warm up.

Your Discovery Voyage will be based on our successful Youth Development Voyage format although morning swims will be subject to agreement from the group. We’ll be keeping the sailing, navigation, history and environmental modules from our programme, which will form the basis of your voyage.

Meals are delicious and simple: they are prepared in the galley and of course as one of the team, you’ll be helping too. We can cope with vegetarian meals and can work around gluten free, but if you have special dietary requirements, we do recommend you bring your own items e.g. bread and cereals.
Our primary concern is your enjoyment. If the forecast looks like it will be pouring rain for all three days, we will cancel. However, if there are showers forecast and some good winds, then that is great sailing weather. It’s a judgement call we are used to making. We will discuss it with you but be assured we will want to make sure your experience is the best.