Adrian Hayter explained

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Adrian Hayter Sheila in the Wind at the Alber Strange Association site

The cover of Adrian Hayter’s account of his voyage to New Zealand
in the Albert Strange yacht Sheila

Just a few years ago it seemed that every other second-hand bookshop in the UK had a copy of Adrian Hayter’s book Sheila in the Wind, which describes a voyage from the UK to New Zealand in an Albert Strange-designed yacht.

Nowadays there don’t seem to be so many exmples around, but there’s no doubt that Sheila sold in numbers, and I’m certain many sailing enthusiasts around today will have read Hayter’s account. I’m pretty sure too that they will have wondered who he was and what he did with the rest of his life: he was clearly such a powerful and individual personality that his life could only be extraordinary.

Finally, last week I came to understand the man and to learn the story of the rest of his life from an article about New Zealand lone adventurer posted by the Albert Strange Association website.

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6 thoughts on “Adrian Hayter explained”

  1. Owen Sinclair has written to say that Hayter also wrote a book called "Business In Great Waters"; an account of another voyage from England to NZ, this time via Panama. (Hodder & Stoughton 1965).

    His daughter, Rebecca, is Editor of Boating New Zealand magazine.


  2. I was named after Adrian Hayter and at the age of about 20 after reading "Sheila in the Wind" I was compelled to meet my name`s sake. So after enquiries made I managed to get Adrian`s address and wrote to him. He replied with an invitation to go and meet him.

    Delighted I rode my motorcycle from CHCH to A hippy outcrop up this winding dirt Road near Nelson and spent four days with Adrian and asked questions and listened intently.

    Sadly he passed away a couple of years later and I never got the oppurtunity to see him again and at least say goodbye.

    He was a remarkable pioneering man and I vivdly remember wishing that when I grow old I`d like to be like him…. he gave me and signed some of his books…"From Adrian to Adrian "

  3. Nobody possibly reads this sight any more but I was reading about the gourkha and it reminded me that I was lucky to know the first New Zealander Adrian Hayter to serve as an officer in a Gourkha Regiment .

    I would like to say who ever reads this that the finest man I have ever met on this earth was Adrian.

    I live in my 80s in Noyer sur Serein a beautiful village in Burgandy France….and as an adventurer have traveled this earth and done so since at 16 I went to India.

    I met Adrian in New Zealand in Nelson. We talked a lot. We both had a love of the sea and like Adrian I had lived as he did in India for many many years. We both loved women which we agreed was Gods greatest gift to man. Both he and I had suffered because of love.

    I was in Pondicherry which is the old French Colony in India. I lived there on he beach in a grass house for some years. To my surprise all that Adrian had ever written was available in the Public Library. We do not even honor him that way in New Zealand.

    I loved that man and I am not gay but he certainly had a soul that was greater than any other I have seen.

    He died a long time ago but I often remember him. His friends and there were many were the sort of people you find hard to ind these days…….they were honorable and true. You can judge a man by his friends and this was so true.

    If Adrian and Robert Burns are not in Heaven when I get there it will be the saddest period of this great adventure.

    Ian McWhannell

  4. Just finished Sheila in the Wind today. Amazing chap, voyage, yacht and tale. Days on end with food rationing and with no self-steering gear and a different sort of voyage that is made today by the single-handers. Excellent read and will read more from Adrian.

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