Robin & Linda in New Zealand travel blog

The NZ32 team--Tom is one of the design team

NZ32 design

NZ32 when built

NZ32 in the maratime museum now

the NZ catamaran that won the last America's Cup, us and Tom...

Us with Tom and Annette after dinner


The ferry trip was much smoother this time, and the Hilton, where we are staying is pretty much at the ferry dock. We dropped our bags off and headed up hill to the shopping area. A good portion of the streets are a mess – they are torn up for construction of a subway system. Quick stop for a sandwich for Robin and coffees for the rest, and then we headed back to the hotel in time to meet up with Tom.

In Auckland, we met Tom Schnackenberg who is a guy Robin was at UBC with. Tom is Robin’s example of a physicist who did well. When Tom was at UBC, he did some sailing and eventually quit his degree and went to work for North Sails. Robin then lost track of him until many years later he was on an airplane and picked up a Time magazine. The cover story was about the America’s Cup race when the Australian boat was the first to ever take the cup away from the Americans. The story described the Australia boat’s sail designer—Tom Schnackenberg—hiding below decks of the chase boat during the last race because he was too excited to watch. Tom went on to a huge career in many aspects of the America’s Cup, including pivotal roles in two New Zealand winners of the cup. See

Tom took us for a tour around the waterfront district and showed us all the preparations for the next America’s Cup that is going to be held there in 2021. Then we had a wonderful evening and dinner at Tom and Annette’s home.

Auckland harbour is a busy place. The view from our room is filled with various sized ferries going to and fro.

The next day we spent the morning touring the Maritime Museum. Clearly ships of all types have been a big part of the history of New Zealand and the museum is very large. We spent quite a while looking at the exhibit of NZ32 which was the “Black Magic” boat that won the 1995 cup. Tom was a big part of the design and was the navigator on the boat. NZ32 is in the museum and it is quite interesting as it had a unique keel design which was kept secret until the actual race time and proved very effective.

Tomorrow we are off to Taupo.

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