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Seafaring couple find freedom in a life on the water

Aug 13th, 2013 | By | Category: Editor's Picks, Front Page Layout, Latest News

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WHEN Janet Nixon and David Mason sail out of Wellington Harbour this summer, they will leave a rare live-aboard opening at Chaffers Marina.

The couple are leaving to sail the world after living on board their boat for about five years.

The central city living is so popular there is a waitlist for the 29 live-aboard berths.

Marina manager Ken Burt said more may be added when the construction of Clyde Quay Wharf is finished, which is due next year.

Janet says saving money and the lifestyle attracted them to Chaffers.

“We first moved onto the boat five to six years ago when we were saving money for a Pacific trip,” she said.

It meant they were able to rent their house out and use that as a source of income.

Freedom is also a factor.

“When we’ve had enough, we can just cast off.”

Janet and her partner, David, own the berth at Chaffers Marina where they moor their Pacific 38 MKII cruising yacht, Navire.

They pay a monthly docking fee of $250, which is far cheaper than housing costs in the area.

It means giving up usual household conveniences but allows a simple, flexible and economic lifestyle, and she makes sure they don’t have anything that needs ironing.

“You need to like a simple life. Things have to be basic.”

Hot water is boiled and while out sailing there is a solar shower, but when berthed the marina offers bathroom facilities.

“It’s like camping on water.”

To live-aboard at the marina there is an approval process to ensure the lifestyle fits the applicant.

Being surrounded by like-minded people turns the marina into a community, which is a major draw-card for Janet.

“Everyone gets to know everyone.”

The downside is there’s less privacy. “If we have a fight, there’s nowhere to go”.

The boat is easier to heat than the house, so cold weather conditions are not an issue.

The Chaffers Marina is known for its high winds, so it can get quite windy, but she only has to get off the boat three or four times a year.

However they do get the wake from ferries.

Janet and David plan to sail to the north of New Zealand in January, then to Fiji in May.

“We don’t know how many years we’ll be.”

“We could go to Canada, Asia, and Australia.”

They have never been that far, but they have already done Samoa, Tonga and Nuie.

David is Canadian and he would love to sail up to Canada, but the trip would take two months.

Wherever they end up she will be writing a book about cruising and cooking, says Janet, who already writes a blog about their adventures.

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