Father sails 7000 nautical miles for Kiwi Christmas with son

Dmitry Pelevin and his son Andre.
Dmitry Pelevin and his son Andre. Photo credit: Supplied

By RNZ's checkpoint 

One father has gone to some pretty extreme lengths to make it home for Christmas and reunite with his seven-year-old son Andre after being nearly a year apart. 

With borders closing and flights becoming scarce, Dmitry Pelevin decided to sail solo, 7000 nautical miles from the Caribbean to Auckland.

Pelevin cleared customs in Opua, where he passed a COVID-19 test, and because he was at sea for more than two weeks he was granted entry into the country without having to go through managed isolation.

Just after he reached terra firma he shared with Checkpoint that the journey had not been all plain sailing, but that his son was delighted to see him.

"He was very excited... the last leg was quite tough, so I couldn't get inside to the marina because the wind was very strong and... it was just a struggle to arrive inside.

"Some people were waiting here for me - my son and friends."

After persevering and docking in the harbour, the family are now looking forward to a Kiwi Christmas together.

"Now it's all fine. I'm with my son and we are now planning what we are doing for Christmas.

"Andre will stay with me on the boat tonight and I'll talk to him about the boat, about the journey and starting from tomorrow we ... probably will go somewhere and go to the beach."