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7-day youth development voyages

Venture into the unknown and change your life forever!
Order a gift voucherTai Tokerau Challenge Voyage

Grow leadership, confidence and teamwork!

The R.Tucker Thompson Sail Training Trust runs life changing adventures, developing confidence, leadership and teamwork for young people aged between 13 and 18. They take place between April and November and are a suitable activity for those who are undergoing the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award  or the St John Cadet Ventureship Gold Badge award. A recent survey carried out of parents and former sail trainees to test their effectiveness can be downloaded here.

This was one of the most amazing things i have done. I learnt so much about myself, and made some life long friends. This voyage takes you away from the modern life of a teenager where it is all about Facebook etc and made you make genuine friends and great memories which i will never forget

Trainee feedback

Our youth development voyages are suitable for those taking their Bronze Adventurous Journey and their Gold Residential awards. We can also complete other awards on board but please check with us and DofE first. Contact us in advance if you would like to book a Duke of Edinburgh Hillary placement.

Unlost – Myra Shepherd

Lost at sea, I’m lost in the oceans of me. Need a new perspective to open up my eyes, I’m swimming blind.
Hope I don’t gotta blink, feel like I’m about to sink.
Hold out your hand, it’s so much easier done than said.
Breathe the wind it tastes of silver and gold, my new horizons, never growing old. This is where I know I am supposed to be, living free, unlost at sea.
Hope I don’t gotta blink, feel like I’m about to sink.
Hold out your hand, it’s so much easier done than…
Say you’re afraid to try your hardest. Gotta take the leap to get over me. But I gotta take this step for me, oh, oh. And I think I’m finally on my feet.
Hold out your hand, it’s so much easier done than said.
Produced by KING MUSIC (Maea Shepherd & Adam Roycroft), a Young Enterprise Company. 

Book your place!

If you have a preferred voyage date, and your funding already sorted, then just complete our voyage application form to secure your berth. Otherwise, fill in a registration of interest form and we’ll get back to you.

On your voyage, you will

  • Learn about sailing, general seamanship and safety at sea
  • Learn about the environment and marine ecology and visit some amazing places
  • Find out about navigation and how to read charts
  • Learn how to fish, and if you are lucky catch your supper (don’t worry, we have other food available if you’re unlucky!)
  • Take a turn at cooking in the galley
  • Meet new people and make new friends
  • Find out about Northland , New Zealand history and our culture
  • And above all have fun while you get to sail an amazing tall ship!

Our son has chosen not to be someone’s friend since the trip which was an awesome decision as this person had a huge influence on his decisions and outcomes. Now he is a changed boy and keen to become a volunteer for you!

Parent feedback

Taitokerau Tallship Challenge

12 students, 6 schools and 1 trophy!

The ultimate leadership challenge!

It’s the 10th year for the Taitokerau Tallship Challenge sponsored by Northpower and Top Energy and we are proud to have them as our sponsors. This is a competition to find out which school team can demonstrate they have what it takes in terms of leadership, initiative and of course teamwork.

Teamwork will play an important part for the selection of the winning school, and the winning team will also demonstrate that they can work not just with the partner from their own school, but also members from other schools to complete their tasks. There will be physical hard work, some mental challenges as well as a lot of fun.

Challenges set during the 7-day voyage will be based on a range of activities such as sailing, physical activity, standard of daily drills and duties, swimming as well as positive interactions between others. They will also need to demonstrate that they understand Safety at Sea and how they can work together to ensure they complete the challenges in a safe and responsible way.

The Tai Tokerau Tall Ship Challenge will be held once a year and is open to all schools with secondary aged students. School places are allocated as follows:

  • Whangarei District / Kaipara districts (3 places)
  • Far North District (2 places)
  • Any Northland school (1 place)

Only 6 schools can compete so schools wanting to enter will need to register their interest as soon as possible. For more information, or to register your school’s interest please complete the application form.

Taipa Area School take out this year's challenge

All we can really say is what an experience!

We would have never thought we would get a chance to participate in such an exhilarating voyage let alone taking the trophy and going home champions. We would really like to thank

The R. Tucker Thompson Trust for sponsoring Prairie and I and giving us a chance along with Northpower and Top Energy.

We would also like to thank the four crew members who made this voyage so special. Captain Tim (Cappy Tim) the skipper who taught us all how to have fun – with discipline; Wayne the cook who made the greatest feeds that we all thoroughly enjoyed; James the funniest, crazy crew member who made us all smile; and Chyna the crew member we could always talk too, who was so kind to us and made sure we were always having a good time.

They have all taught us so much – from every part of the boat to the history of the islands we travelled too. We participated in so many activities which all testing our knowledge, strength, problem solving ability and just how far we could push ourselves.

We are really going to miss waking up early, getting into our togs and sneaking up on deck while being careful not to wake up Cappy Tim! Then jumping into the water to earn our showers.

The nightly conversations at the dinner table did not leaving out any detail of ourselves, our daily adventures on islands around the coast – not to mention the maniac card games (until they were confiscated from us!).
We have met such amazing and unique people we could not forget. We will really miss the “Kummies” (Dargaville High competitors) – Kase Kerr and Kyah Suckling. You guys will always have a place in our hearts.

We have all had some great conversations and made many memories that will live with us forever! The past seven days were really a blast for us and we highly recommend this to anyone interested in the ocean and sailing you won’t regret it one bit.”

-Kristy Buchannan and Prairie Herk

Previous winners

Previous winners are:

  • Huanui School (2017)
  • Huanui School (2016)
  • Opononi Area School (2015)
  • Kaitaia College (2014)
  • Huanui School (2013)
  • Dargaville High School (2012)
  • Whangarei Boys (2011)
  • Bream Bay College (2010)

Left to right – Taipa Area School’s 2018 Te Tai Tokerau Tall Ship Sailing Challenge winners Kristy Buchanan and Prairie Herk, with R. Tucker Thompson Captain Tim Grant and Northpower Network’s General Manager Josie Boyd.

Order a voucher

Complete the voucher order form below and we will send you an invoice for payment, or alternatively pay by Paypal and we will email the voucher to you directly. We are happy to offer a payment plan over a 5-month period, noting the conditions outlined below.

NB: if you pay by Paypal you can select either to pay the deposit indicating you wish to take a payment plan, or pay for the voucher in full.

Alternatively complete our order form below and we will invoice you the deposit.


Order a voucher

15 + 13 =


  1. Trainee must meet our standard age and medical criteria
  2. Deposit must be received before the Voucher will be issued
  3. Voyage may not be taken until full payment received, although berth can be reserved once 50% payment has been received


Payment schedule Payment Date Option A Option B
Deposit Week 1 $195.00  $195.00
Payment Week 3 $77.00  $100.00
Payment Week 5 $77.00  $100.00
Payment Week 7 $77.00  $100.00
Payment Week 9 $77.00  $100.00
Payment Week 11 $77.00  $100.00
Payment Week 13 $77.00  $100.00
Payment Week 15 $77.00  $100.00
Payment Week 17 $77.00  $ 65.00
Payment Week 19 $77.00
Payment Week 21 $72.00
Total    $960.00  $960.00