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“Perfect day”
Review of Phantom Sailing

Phantom Sailing
Ranked #1 of 17 Tours in Russell
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: A day out on Phantom gives you a chance to get away from the crowds. This is adventure, relaxation and scenic beauty all in one with the personal atmosphere created by your hosts, Rick and Robin. Enjoy a great home cooked lunch amongst the beauty of the islands on this great owner- operator boat.
Reviewed 2 December 2013

We loved our day sailing with Rick and Robin on the beautiful 'Phantom'. They made us feel relaxed and at home right from the start, and were excellent company. We shared the day with a young French couple and an American young lady, but the atmosphere was congenial and we all mixed nicely.

Rick and Robin are hugely experienced sailors, and are just the right type of people to host a group of strangers and put them at ease. And as for the lunch - just perfect, home-made specialities from Robin. No pressure to do anything in particular, just sit back, relax and feel the breeze in your hair.

We did this from a cruise ship, tendered, have no fears all will be fine. Probably a thousand times better than the tall ship replica used by the ships shorex, and less than half the price. Worth every penny, cannot praise this enough.

Thank dexter05
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Robin B, Owner at Phantom Sailing, responded to this reviewResponded 4 December 2013

Thank you so much for your review. We always hope to create a relaxed and engaging atmosphere. The beauty of the Bay speaks for itself and we think sailing is the best way to travel through it. You do not have to be an experienced sailor to enjoy the day on Phantom - get involved as much or as little as you like. Thanks for coming along!

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272 - 276 of 360 reviews

Reviewed 18 November 2013

We were a group of 10 from the cruise ship who joined together to do this day of sailing. Most of us didn't really know each other very well and were even uncertain of each other's names.....not a problem for Robin within minutes she knew and remembered everyone's names!!

We were made to feel so welcome and at ease on Phantom (Rick and Robin' home!).

Getting to Russell was really very easy. We were a bit apprehensive seeing Waitangi was a tender port and we needed to dis-embark as early as possible. But Robin had outlined what we needed to do in emails prior to our cruise and it was indeed as easy as she said it would be. Upon disembarking we caught the shuttle from Waitangi to Paihia (took about 10 minutes) and then we caught the ferry across to Russell (about 15 minutes) - a gorgeous trip and we were early enough to explore the beautiful historic town of Russell before jumping aboard Phantom.

It was a perfect sailing day. Bright blue sky and blue, blue water and a great sailing breeze. The dolphins swam alongside and "played" with our boat - so close I could almost touch them!!

We sailed around to Roberton Island where we stopped for lunch. Rick offered to take us by dinghy to the beach (too cold to swim across) but we all chose to just sit back on the boat and chill. Robin prepared us a fabulous lunch while we just sat around, got to know each other and enjoyed the view. (I actually settled back and had a little nanny nap, I felt so comfortable and at home :)).

Our homemade lunch of frittata and coleslaw was delicious, followed by a yummy syrupy cake and iced tea. So nice. (Thanks Robin!)

Then we were off for another sail around the bays before heading back to Russell to make it back in time for our tender to the ship. My husband was given the wheel and he had a ball. Luckily for him none of the others showed any interest in having a turn at the wheel so he got to hog it all the way. He was in seventh heaven.

Perfect. Perfect day. Perfect sail. Perfect lunch. Perfect company. Simply Perfect.

Thank davannSydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Robin B, Owner at Phantom Sailing, responded to this reviewResponded 22 November 2013

We were so pleased to read this very lovely and detailed review. It was a lovely day and a pleasure to have a whole group from the cruise ship. You all seemed very relaxed and that is what we aim for. A day on Phantom is also a brat way to get to know one another and have interesting conversations in a great atmosphere. We also can confirm the pleasure your husband got from driving the boat - we always feel the same. Hope you get a chance to do it again, we really enjoyed hearing about your own experiences and remember the good works you do. Have fair winds on your own boat. Thanks again.

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Reviewed 11 November 2013

The brochure said “Dolphins in paradise”. They all did.

We didn’t come to the Bay of Islands to see dolphins. We see dolphins nearly every time we go out on our yacht at home. In one offshore race at night a group of “glow in the dark” dolphins left glowing trails through the fluorescence in the water as if they were torpedoes coming straight towards us that went under the boat or swerved away at the last minute.

We didn’t come to see the dolphins but no one told the dolphins so they came to see us.

We’d hardly left the jetty when Rick said “head over there, Dolphins”

“Why’s that one slapping its tail Rick?”

“I don’t think it likes us being here”

For a bunch of dolphins that didn’t want us there they sure hung around for a long time. Plenty of time to grab the camera. They were very cheeky and didn’t leave until we put the cameras down.

They were bigger than the ones back home. Robin said they were “common dolphins”

We’d chosen “Phantom” for our day on the bay because they only take small groups. We were the only couple on “Phantom” that day so we had Rick and Robin and “Phantom” to ourselves. We had a personal guided tour of the bay and heard some of Rick and Robin’s many interesting tales.

“This is where Captain Cook anchored” said Rick as he threw the anchor over the side into the crystal clear water. We stopped for lunch at Motuarohia (Roberton Island) and while Robin cooked lunch Rick took us ashore so we could follow the track up to the lookout. The view of the bay was spectacular.

With our appetites sharpened but the trip ashore we were looking forward to lunch back on the boat.

We weren’t disappointed. Homemade pumpkin soup and garlic bread, egg salad from Robins home grown eggs, New Zealand cheddar cheese, Robins home grown oranges and homemade ginger cookies.

After lunch we had a leisurely sail back to Russell , “that’s Kerikeri , that’s Ninepin, there’s Waitangi”.

All too soon we were securely tied up back at the Russell jetty.

We bade Rick and Robin fond farewells and headed off to explore Russell.

Sometime later we were admiring the Russell petrol station. It looked like something out of an old movie.

“Hey, are you two lost?” It was Rick, he was filling the car and told us it is the oldest petrol station in New Zealand. “if you go up to the next street and down to the end you’ll find the oldest church in New Zealand, Charles Darwin helped to pay for it, it still has bullet holes from the Maori wars”

Rick the tour guide, at home on the bay and ashore.

Sunset from the verandah of the Duke of Marlborough hotel signaled the end of a great day.

Thank Earl D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Robin B, Owner at Phantom Sailing, responded to this reviewResponded 12 November 2013

It was so nice to read your review. Thank you for taking the time to detail your day with us on Phantom. We have a special job that we love doing and your review shows us that we must be doing something right. The Bay of Islands is a great place to sail and what a pleasure it is to pass on our joy to be able to show it off in our own special personal way. Thanks for coming aboard!

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Reviewed 8 November 2013

I wanted to give any cruise ship passenger a sense of the ease with which you could have a fabulous day on a shore excursion sailing with RIck and Robin on the Phantom; a day that you will remember, forever.
First of all, let me preface by saying that working with Robin in email communications could not have been more professional and easy. Robin has the warmth and caring of a dear friend and is a highly professional business woman. You are in good hands.
Yes, it takes a bit of organization to get yourself out to Russell from the Bay of Islands itinerary stop, a tender port for all ships. Most ships will tender their passengers to Waitangi, which is so frustrating as you hook that turn from where you really want to be to where the ship's tender will drop you off! No worries. The town of Paihia provides shuttles from Waitangi to the town of Paihia and you will catch a ferry to Russell, where the Phantom is moored. Our ship's tender was a 25-minute ride; the shuttle was no more than a 5-minute ride; the ferry was a 15-minute ride and cost $12NZ for the roundtrip; tickets are purchased onboard (actually there was a gentleman collecting money and dispensing tickets right before we boarded the ferry). We left our ship around 8:30am and were in Russell at 9:15am. Since our onboard time was 10:00am, we were able to walk around the quaint town of Russell and enjoy: the craft fair, delicious coffee and pastries. Bottom line: Robin assured me through many emails that I would be surprised at how easy it would be to get to the Phantom and she was absolutely correct. Don't hesitate to book this fabulous sailing if you're a cruise ship passenger coming to Bay of Islands.
The sailing, itself, was spectacular. I am not a yachtsman; in fact, I don't swim, but I never felt afraid or uncomfortable onboard the Phantom. Rick is an accomplished seaman, and it's obvious that the Phantom is kept in fantastic condition. The only caution that I would say is that you need to be nimble enough to climb down the boat's ladder into the hold to be able to visit the head.
As soon as we were able, we moved from power to sail and it was fantastic. I realize that dolphins playing with you is just magical and might not happen to everyone, but it's worth a mention that this could be a possibility (it was for us). We sailed and Robin clued us in on various historical sites and told beautiful adventure stories about Captain Cook; Rick regaled us with amazing and amusing stories of past adventures. We anchored at a sheltered cove and anyone could have been taken to the island in the boat's dinghy; unfortunately, the water was a bit cold and our group a little too lazy to take on the island adventure. Robin prepared a delicious lunch while we just enjoyed the warmth of the sun, lapping of the water, and conversation.
Spectacular day with Robin and Rick. We were brought back to Russell and repeated our transit of the morning: ferry ride to Paihia, shuttle to Waitangi, and tender back to the ship. The towns of Paihia and Russell are full of friendly people; the ferries run more often when a ship is in port; as is often said there, "no worries." Don't hesitate. You'll be making a lifelong memory. I know I will never forget my day onboard the Phantom Yacht.

Thank AZPamela
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Robin B, Owner at Phantom Sailing, responded to this reviewResponded 12 November 2013

You were so kind to write this lovely detailed review. It is a pleasure to help folks out when it is their first time to the bay. We often can all use a bit of reassurance when it comes to organizing such a group of people, as you did. It's a lot to take on and we really appreciate you putting it all together. We're so pleased we were able to show you a wonderful day on your ship's stop in the Bay of Islands. And we were certainly lucky with the weather. Thank you so much for joining us on Phantom and we hope it will remain one of your great memories of your visit to New Zealand.

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Reviewed 6 November 2013

Great day sailing in this beautiful place. Rick and Robin took really good care of us and also found time to rustle up a delicious lunch. Cheers guys. Great to meet you :-)

1  Thank Madscot70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Robin B, Owner at Phantom Sailing, responded to this reviewResponded 12 November 2013

Thanks for taking time to review your day on Phantom.we enjoyed meeting you as well and didn't we just have a most relaxing day!? - thanks for coming along.

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