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Sailing in New Zealand’s most spectacular waters..

Sailing tours, scenic sailing, daily trips, catamaran charters, combination packages, sea kayaking, national park walks, water taxis, sky diving, birds, seals and dolphin sighting and many more fun Abel Tasman activities.

A perfect Sunday spent on the catamaran, a gentle journey to anchorage, a spell on the beach, swimming in the pristine waters of Abel Tasman, back on to the boat, cruising, then the experience of “sailing under wind power” sails side to side, excitement of the powers of the wind through the “mad mile” incredible! then another gentle cruise back to Kaiteriteri. An unforgettable Sunday, loved every minute, a true Sunday of perfection. Thank you so much for the day! “

Abel Tasman Sailing Adventures is a family owned business operating since 2000.  Owners Jane-Maree and Martin Holmes have been sailing most of their lives.  For many years they worked as professional sailors around the world including crossing the Atlantic, Indian, Pacific and Southern Oceans.

They love their Nelson Tasman region and it’s with great pride they share it with you. In their opinion it is the most scenic sailing in New Zealand.

The Abel Tasman Sailing Adventures team are locals who are passionate about their Abel Tasman environment and sailing.  Our skippers have been working for Sailing Adventures for years and their local knowledge means you experience the very best on your Abel Tasman holiday.

Our Boats …..

 We have three 10 metre performance sport sailing catamarans for your enjoyment S.Y. Stray Cat, S.Y. Alley Cat, S.Y. Mystify. Our yachts are fun, sail fast and stable.  The large, open, flat decks allow you to relax and enjoy the wind in your hair.  Experience the joy of sailing while taking in the fantastic sights of the Abel Tasman National Park.  No experience necessary, our skippers take care of that!  But you are welcome to take the helm, pull up the sail, or just sit back and relax! Our yachts’ features –

  • 10 metre in length, Malcolm Tennant Turissimo Design.
  • Fast sports sailing catamarans – the sailing equivalent of an open top sports car!
  • Retractable rudders & centerboards allow shallow draft, excellent for exploring lagoons, beaches and bays.
  • Transom extensions allow the yacht to back right up to the beach for easy walk on access.
  • Large, flat decks make for easy movement around the yacht.
  • Comfortable seating.
  • Forward trampoline areas for sitting & lying to view the water rush by.
  • Galley (kitchen) facilities.
  • Toilet facilities on board.
  • Internal areas for bag storage and changing.
  • Quiet, efficient, 4 stroke engines for use when there isn’t much wind! Low emission and environmental friendly.
  • Full set of sails including spinnaker.
  • All safety equipment including lifejackets provided.
  • All yachts are Maritime New Zealand surveyed with regular external auditing and inspections.
  • Passenger numbers are 22 maximum per yacht, with 3 yachts available.
  • All trips are skippered with the skipper as your host and guide.

Come and find us
We are based at the top of the South Island of New Zealand, in the most vibrant and sunniest region, one hour drive from Nelson City …exploring the most beautiful coastal national park, the Abel Tasman.

Sailing Adventures
relax, unwind and enjoy…
Join our finest most popular tour. Experience scenic sailing while taking in golden beaches, lagoons, islands, NZ fur seals and forests. An hours-long lunch on anchorage beach perfect for exploring, swimming, or relaxing.

Combination Trips
see more, do more all in one day…
Combine sailing with: National park walks, sea kayaking, water taxi and sky diving…for a day packed full of fun and adventure!

Overnight Sailing Tours
have an adventurous day and then…
Imagine falling asleep, to the gentle rocking of the ocean, in an awesome slice of Paradise……

Exclusive Charters
your boat, your time table…
Book one or more of our spacious performance catamarans, to be yours for the day.

Peaceful, Quiet, Relaxing
Sailing feels good. View our video to view some highlights of cruising the Abel Tasman for us.

Trip Options:

Full Day Sail
Relax, unwind and enjoy….
Join our finest, most popular tour. Experience scenic sailing while taking in golden beaches, lagoons, islands, NZ fur seals and forests. An hours-long lunch on Anchorage beach perfect for exploring, swimming, or relaxing.

Combination Trips
See more, do more, all in one day…
combine sailing with: National park walks, sea kayaking, water taxi and sky diving…for a day packed full of fun and adventure!

Overnight Sailing Tours
Enjoy a multiday holiday and fully immerse yourself and relax in the beauty of the Abel Tasman. Choose a 2, 3 or 4 day tour where your yacht is your accommodation, activities and transport …..

Exclusive Charters
Your boat, your personalized tour…
book one or more of our spacious performance catamarans, to be yours for the day. Enjoy the freedom of an exclusive charter for any special occasion!

Charter vessels in Abel Tasman National Park, D’Urville Island,  and the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand

Nelson region’s most extensive and longest operating boat charter company.

Priding themselves with friendly professional and personal service on quality vessels.

Catamaran Sailing Charters is owned and operated by Martin and Jane-Maree Holmes.

Martin, sea going manager and skipper, is a commercially qualified skipper and marine engineer. Jane-Maree, shore based manager, holds a Royal Yachting Association Offshore skippers certificate. Martin worked for many years at sea before they teamed up becoming professional sailors sailing many locations around the world and across the Atlantic, Indian, Pacific and Southern Oceans – the latter route was used to deliver Jamarh from her South African homeport to New Zealand. Very experienced with great stories to tell!

Martin and Jane-Maree purchased their sailing catamaran Jamarh and set up their yacht charter business in 1998. Jamarh proved to be a successful charter yacht and with this success lead to the growing and expanding of the business to include other vessels.

In July 2010 Jane-Maree & Martin seized the opportunity to purchase Abel Tasman Sailing Adventures, a long established sailing company focused on daily tours into the Abel Tasman National Park. The businesses are extremely complimentary making them the region’s specialists in skippered day sailing tours and multiday holidays. For clients this means with one enquiry all options are covered.

sailing in the able tasman new zealand

As the company has grown so has the need for further staff. It is very important to Martin and Jane-Maree to choose crew that offer the friendly professional and personal service that has become their business. They realize this is what makes your holiday a special and memorable time and they value that. Catamaran Sailing staff are a great team, so when Martin can’t skipper your boat you know you are in very capable hands.

As a tourism business so closely interlinked with the environment they are very passionate about operating in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. They are always looking to improve their sustainable business practices – your comments are most welcome.

Recognition of their commitment and business success in chartering both sailing catamarans and power boats has been rewarded by the Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce as winners and finalists in the Chamber’s Business Awards.

Martin and Jane-Maree like to discuss trip options with you personally. They emphasize that, due to the variety of yachts available and their versatility, they can tailor excursions to suit your individual needs.


Our Cruising Areas – Some of the Best in the World!

Nelson, Abel Tasman, d’Urville Island, Marlborough Sounds

Our central Nelson base means we are ideally located for exploring the top of the South Island.

For Sailing Trips

If you only have a few days or less we suggest cruising Nelson and Abel Tasman National Park areas. We have scheduled trips you can join or we can design a trip just for you. If you have more time – 5 days, a week or even longer – then cruising Abel Tasman National Park, d’Urville Island and Marlborough Sounds are options.

For Motor Yacht Trips

Bigger motors, more speed and therefore less time to get to some of the fantastic spots around. Day trips and longer overnight cruises available in all areas.

All Trips

We specialize in designing your holiday to suit your requirements. We can arrange for you to join and depart our vessels anywhere within our cruising areas.


Nelson City is New Zealand’s second oldest city and the main urban hub at the top of the South Island. Nelson is known for its sunny weather – New Zealand’s sunshine capital. It enjoys balmy weather, with mild winters making pleasant boating all year round. Cruise Nelson Harbour, Haulashore Island, The Boulder Bank and even visit Nelson’s Historic Lighthouse – the second oldest in New Zealand. Enjoy Nelson’s history and activities as viewed from the sea.

Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman is renowned for its golden beaches, beautiful bays, and its world-famous coastal track. It also has a mild climate and is a good place to visit at any time of the year. A fantastic marine playground. You can sail, swim, dive, walk the bush tracks or enjoy the antics of dolphins, seals and blue penguins. Then return to your yacht and a restful night’s sleep in the bay of your choice.

Tasman Bay – French Pass to Farewell Spit

Tasman Bay some 30 miles across and bounded by D’Urville, Nelson, Motueka, Abel Tasman National Park and Golden Bay, it is a boating paradise. Edged and protected by the Western Ranges and Farewell Spit on the west and The Richmond Ranges in the east, Tasman Bay forms it’s own microclimate. This means fantastic boating while much of the country may be suffering inclement weather.

D’Urville Island

D’Urville Island is a relatively untouched place with empty, silent harbours ringed by dark forest and farmlands. Other parts of the coast are wild and open to the ravages of Cook Strait and the outer part of Tasman Bay, they’re pure wilderness destinations.

Marlborough Sounds

The Marborough Sounds are a labyrinth of bays and coves. The maze of waterways consist of three sounds with d’Urville Island separating the Sounds from Tasman Bay. For many areas access is by boat only. Havelock, at the head of Kenepuru Sound, is a small village with excellent marina facilities and an ideal place to start or finish your Marlborough Sounds holiday.

Day & Multiday Holidays

Abel Tasman National Park

A great way to explore the Abel Tasman. Depart and return direct to Nelson eliminating the need for bus and water taxi transfers. The launch trip takes approximately 1.5 hours from Nelson to Abel Tasman and similar time for return, with the rest of the day spent in and around The National Park. We can arrange for pick up at other locations by request.

Trip Suggestion –
Depart Nelson Marina following the coast passing Mapua, Motueka, Kaiterteri and Marahau. At this point we follow the coastline through Astrolabe Roadstead with the National Park mainland on one side and Adele Island on the other. As we get to Te Pukatea Bay you have the option to walk the Pitt Head track to Anchorage.

After lunching in one of the bays, we slowly cruise towards Bark Bay and Tonga Island, known for it’s seal colony. We closely follow the National Park shoreline enjoying the bush, golden sands and clear water. Again a chance for a swim or beach walk is available.

We start the return journey following the National Park towards Adele Island before we cross Tasman Bay and head directly for Nelson.

D’Urville Island

Let us show you this rugged and remote island. The only access is by boat or air for the few holiday bachs and farms that exist there. With its steep cliff faces, luscious bush and winding natural waterways offering protective anchorage, it is truly a unique and special place.

Enjoy sightseeing, fishing, diving and snorkeling, swimming, bush walks and the peaceful isolation.

D’Urville Island is accessible by launch from Nelson and return in one long, but enjoyable, day out. To enjoy a most memorable time spend a night or two and really appreciate the isolation of this remarkable area.

For groups of 8 or less, accommodation can be offered onboard the vessel. Groups of 8 -18 people can be accommodated ashore at The D’Urville Island Wilderness Resort.

“Thanks so much for all your efforts to ensure our cruise was one of the highlights of our lives!! Danny & I just loved the experience and will definitely be planning another adventure with you on Jamarh. There is nothing we could imagine you should do better from the comfort of the cabins to the lovely spots you chose to take us into. A million thanks again and already looking forward to next time…”
Mari and Danny Schuster, Amberley, NZ