Alex Stone talks to an extraordinary Kiwi sailor and organiser.

She has a megawatt smile that out-dazzles the midday sun. She’s also an astute businesswoman, an organiser of people (including politicians) and logistics, and previously a planner and facilitator of complicated travel itineraries to exotic places.

In sum, Viki Moore is the perfect person to be running the Island Cruising Club. Although it was established as a limited liability company, the Island Cruising Club is, in reality, more like a club or a cooperative. With Viki at the heart of it.

It’s been around since the 1980s, with the purpose of assembling and managing rallies for New Zealand cruising boats to visit the islands of the South Pacific, in the relative safety of a group of other yachts, sharing resources such as professional weather forecasters and passage routers.

Viki bought the business from Whangarei-based Nigel and Amanda Richards a year ago. Obvious reminder: in the middle of the Covid years. You may recall.

The window to cruising in the Pacific had been Covid-slammed shut. Irrepressible as always, Viki figured “Why not explore the South Island?”


So, the 2021 South Island Rally was born, attracting 23 yachts, of which we were one – Lesley and I and assorted crew on our 12m cruising cat Skyborne. In fact, the rally included half-a-dozen catamarans. So, in a very real sense, Viki was herding cats with cruising yachties being a fairly free-spirited lot at the best of times.

Recognising this, Viki amended the model for Island Cruising Club rallies. Previously, they had depended on a mothership, and followed a more set itinerary with sectional passage plans. The 2021 South Island Rally still offered the same levels of support – planning and preparation seminars, shared access of the weather forecaster, discounts on safety gear – but it also allowed far more freedom for each skipper to go their own way.

Viki Moore & Naval Point Commodore Willie Newman.

Great practical support was received from Bruce Buckley, a weather forecaster and yachting route planner, who Viki engaged for the South Island Rally fleet. Although based in Perth, Western Australia (!), Bruce’s predictions were always spot-on. In one case, for us, he predicted a significant wind bend down to the hour it would arrive (2am off the Kaipara Coast – no more beating, hooray). There were other group advantages to be had, accruing from the dedicated What’s App group, the PredictWind subscriptions and fleet tracking maps, the evenings spent poring over nautical charts with local experts.

Through it all, a focus rather on independence, own onboard skills, and autonomy. Aha! The answer to herding cats.

Still, lasting friendships were made on the rally. The young folk on our boat, for instance, took an instant liking to fellow catamaran sailors Helen and Ben Everts on their well-appointed Lagoon 44. Which had an onboard coffee maker, with Helen as a barista who certainly passed muster.

One of the positive outcomes of the 2021 South Island Rally was its completion by the cruising cats; with many of the stern seamanship tests the rugged south, Rakiura, Fiordland (and the Wairarapa coast on the way home) successfully faced and overcome. A strong legacy of the Island Cruising Club is its contribution to constant learning about safety at sea. Sailors in all the rallies have many opportunities to take part in online planning seminars, or to read first-hand reports from other sailors. Viki also produces a fine online magazine, Cruise News.

The Island Cruising Club also has a lively crew-seeker section, with Viki expertly matching people and boats – take a look at the latest Cruise News for some truly attractive sailing opportunities. Our South Island Rally adventure was saved by this service, as the darned Covid thing buggered up our plans for friends to come down from Auckland to join the boat. Viki saw us right with great replacement crew.


The links of friendship and practical support made on the rallies are, for the participants, perhaps the most valuable thing. Three of the yachts on the 2021 South Island Rally had medical emergencies, and each was resolved quickly and efficiently with the help of Viki’s contacts.

“We can help when things go wrong,” she says.

“When I took over the Island Cruising Club,” she reflects, “I wasn’t sure what to expect. But the human issues, the connections and friendships made – that’s been the most rewarding aspect of it all. It’s been a win-win-win situation for me.”

The participants of the 2021 South Island Rally gathered at Richmond Yacht Club in late June to reminisce and compare notes. Naturally Viki was there.

In fact, her life since taking on the Island Cruising Club has involved constant travel. Two weeks later, talking with her about this article, normally Christchurch-based Viki had already flown to Fiji and back and also to Whangarei to farewell the last nine of the 38 boats on this year’s South Pacific Rally. This had Fiji as first landfall, but in the spirit of things, many boats were planning to extend their cruises to New Caledonia and Vanuatu. The main body of this fleet left New Zealand in May.

Now, on top of being in the middle of logistical and support work for the 2022 South Pacific Rally, Viki is multi-tasking big time, busy with planning three more.

To Japan in early 2023, restricted to 10 yachts (the maximum number of safe guest moorings at Guam), with seven spots already taken. Then there’s the next South Island Rally, leaving the North Island soon after Christmas 2022, and finishing up at Lyttelton in mid-March, to be there for the big SailGP event. It’s bound to be even bigger than the last one.


“I learned so much from the last one,” says Viki. “And at least I won’t have to start from scratch in re-writing the guidebook again.”

And then the next South Pacific Rally to Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia, scheduled for May-October 2023, to avoid the hurricane season. Already taking bookings.

Viki has always been a sailor. She’s owned the fast Young 88 Wildwood at Lyttelton for 19 years; and has also cruised the same boat up and down the South Island’s coast a lot, especially to the Marlborough Sounds. She’s done some sailing in the South Pacific. Right now, she’s thinking, “In the next couple of years, I’ll get my own Pacific cruising yacht.”

But she seems too busy for that right now. She also helps to run the family business, the huge Hunting & Fishing franchise store in Christchurch, after her husband passed away three years ago. She’s also been on the board of Yachting New Zealand for the past five years, one of two board members stipulated to be from outside Auckland, and will also be helping with the upcoming SailGP event in Lyttelton. She’s enjoying that work too much to give it up.

For the past eight years she’s been the president of the Little Ship Club of Canterbury, which organises guest speakers and skills training and passage planning seminars and good ol’ fashioned yarning at the Naval Point Yacht Club. And she’s recently been appointed the South Pacific Regional Rear Commodore of the Ocean Cruising Club. “Sounds fancy, eh?” say Viki with the trademark twinkle in her voice.

Viki’s mantra with the Island Cruising Club is “To create a thing that people want to do over and over again. I’m excited to be able to help people realise their sailing dreams.”

We’re sold: Lesley and I are already talking about joining the next rally. All thanks to New Zealand’s indefatigable Lady of Sails.