Tortuga Launch - Outward Bound

Tortuga Launch

Project Refresh

With nearly 1,800 people coming through Anakiwa each year, it's essential that all of our safety equipment is ready to rock in the rare case of an emergency. Outward Bound requires three fully operational launches to ensure that all educational sea activities can take place, such as sailing and waka ama.

Over the past few years, Outward Bound has been fortunate enough to have two launches of the Tortuga design, by Barnett Offshore Design. The third launch in the fleet is the Matakana, which is now very nearly ready for retirement.

Mature Students 2006 Frank Gasteiger 121

The Sir Roy Tortuga shadowing students out on their sea expedition

These launches shadow our students when they are sailing the cutter, or journeying by waka ama. They're essential in ensuring the safety of our students, and are used to support the journey in many different ways - coach students, carry gear, provide privacy, tow, and deliver crucial supplies such as milo, flapjacks or first aid. They also ensure that Outward Bound is not relying on external agencies to support students or vessels.

Once students have been taught to sail, instructors leave the cutter and are able to supervise from a distance in one of these launches. This provides students with an important and unique opportunity to be in sole charge of a sailing vessel for significant parts of what is normally a three day journey. This experience teaches skills such as collaboration, knowledge-sharing and leadership, and aims to strengthen organisation, communication and decision making qualities.

The ability to carry out these activities is dependent on a full fleet of three escort vessels. The Tortuga design has proved to be an excellent fit for our needs. Replacing the Matakana with the same design as our existing launches will greatly help with training, compliance and maintenance.

We had perfect weather for three days out sailing the cutter, and the sights of the Marlborough Sounds were truly special. We sailed isolated bays, saw dolphins and slept aboard the cutter at sea. You have to be there to know what it's like. It's one of those things in life that you can't fully describe. There is just some inexplicable magic that you can't put into words.

Aidan, Rutherford 600

Did you know?

The Matakana was built as a lifeboat for the ill-fated Wahine, but the ship sank before it could be put on board. The lifeboat was donated to Outward Bound by the Union Steamship Company. 

After over 40 years supporting students at sea, the Matakana is sadly approaching the end of her working life. School Director Simon Graney described the important safety vessel as ‘a fantastic work horse’ who has reached retirement after a solid run with us.