Island Cruising NZ is pleased to announce the acquisition of the Down Under Rally from its founder, John Hembrow.

This exciting development marks a significant expansion for Island Cruising and reinforces its commitment to providing exceptional yacht rallies in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.

The Down Under Rally was founded by John Hembrow in 2015. Since then, John Hembrow, with the assistance of his wife, Leanne Hembrow, has run a variety of yacht rallies & events both within Australia and the South Pacific. During this time, the Down Under Rally has provided the owners of cruising yachts with the opportunity to experience the cruising grounds of this beautiful part of the world, connect with the people of these locations and experience their unique cultures all in the company of like-minded individuals.

As well as offering opportunities for Australian sailors to voyage to the South Pacific from Australia with the Go East Rally and NC2V Rally and, more recently, within Australia as part of the Beyond The Barrier Rally, the Down Under Rally’s highly acclaimed Go West Rally encourages international cruisers to sail to Australia from the South Pacific and spend cyclone season enjoying the Australian hospitality whilst cruising the East Coast of Australia. Most Go West Rally participants also take this opportunity to carry out maintenance to their vessels in readiness for their onward voyages into Asia and beyond.

Viki Moore

With the acquisition of The Down Under Rally, Island Cruising is poised to further enhance the connection between Australian and New Zealand cruisers and to bring some fresh ideas and energy to the rallies that both companies offer. Viki Moore, the owner and visionary behind Island Cruising, has expressed her enthusiasm for this strategic acquisition. She stated, “We are thrilled to welcome the Down Under Rally members and supporters into the Island Cruising community. John & Leanne have done an outstanding job of creating and growing the Down Under Rally, and we are committed to building on their legacy by continuing to offer sailors unforgettable experiences in the South Pacific.”

John & Leanne Hembrow

John & Leanne Hembrow would like to take this opportunity to express their gratitude to all those who have supported the Down Under Rally since its inception by either becoming a partner business, participating in a yacht rally, or becoming a Down Under Rally Member. John had this to say when asked what the future holds in store:

“The future for me personally is uncertain at this time, but I can say with certainty that creating and running The Down Under Rally has been the most personally rewarding experience of my career. I am very proud of the achievements of the Down Under Rally over the past few years. The memories and the many friendships that I have made along the way are very precious to me. I am also confident that the combination of both Island Cruising & Down Under Rally will bring some great benefits to all our existing members and partner businesses. This is a positive step forward for both businesses, and I look forward to seeing the Down Under Rally flourish under Viki Moore’s leadership.”

Island Cruising has been running yacht rallies for over thirty years, and Moore is the fifth owner of the business. Island Cruising NZ is renowned for its passion for cruising and promoting yachting tourism in the South Pacific in a sustainable way. “We aim to foster ongoing relationships with the communities we visit, educating sailors on how to be culturally sensitive and being aware of and reducing the impact we have on the environment,” Moore says.

The company operates with a strong commitment to safety, camaraderie and sustainable practices in the Maritime Industry, and their efforts in this sphere have recently been officially recognised, with a Yachting New Zealand Excellence award as well as Best Yacht Rally 2023 in the Global Nautical Tourism Awards.

The acquisition of the Down Under Rally is the beginning of a new and exciting phase for both companies. Island Cruising is looking forward to the opportunity to build on the solid foundation that John & Leanne Hembrow have established over the last 8 years.