Yachties at Whangarei's Town Basin are battening down the hatches ahead of a looming storm that's expected to bring torrential rain and heavy winds in Northland from tonight.
The place was packed and the marina had been turning yachts and catamarans away to other areas such as Marsden Cove which had spaces available yesterday morning.
German tourists Franz Dietrich and his wife Svitlana were roping stuff down in their 13m catamaran Miss Goodnight, moored at the Town Basin, although Mr Dietrich didn't think the weather would be as bad as predicted. "The winds will be strong but not very strong and the weather forecast I saw today [yesterday] said it was likely to turn west."
He sailed into Whangarei from Fiji in November last year after hearing a lot about New Zealand and said their expectations were met in terms of the things they saw and people they've met.
In eight years of sailing he has never experienced a storm.
"The worst winds were in the Bay of Islands about two months ago but that's when the catamaran was anchored in the bay. The winds were 40 to 50 knots and my wind generator bent back because I didn't lock it."
Mr Dietrich installed fenders or air-filled bags on the mooring side of his catamaran to protect the vessel from being smashed against the wooden piers.
"Usually the most dangerous are the waves but with the number of yachts moored here, I don't think they'll be many spaces for the waves to wreak havoc. This place is well sheltered," he said.
Another visitor Shine Herfindahl said she wasn't too concerned about high winds or big waves. "Just running more lines and putting a big buoy to give us a bit more cushion."
"Hope for the best, prepare for the worst," shouted another yachtie.