Boat owner loses ‘dream of life’ and possessions after storm sinks his home

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A catamaran smashed to pieces against a breakwater during Thursday’s heavy swell in Wellington Harbor was also a home.

A Givealittle fundraising page has been set up to help the owner, who was ashore when he broke off his mooring at Lowry Bay in Lower Hutt, to get back on his feet and cover recovery costs.

Rachel Aislabie created the fundraising page for her father, who had spent years turning the boat into his home.

Her father had lived on the catamaran for quite a long time and had lost most of his possessions. He was uninsured.

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“He has been working there for 10 or 15 years. It’s been her life for so long,” Aislabie said.

“It’s devastating for him.”

The wreckage of the catamaran in Lowry Bay as cleanup began on Thursday.

Kevin Stent/stuff/stuff

The wreckage of the catamaran in Lowry Bay as cleanup began on Thursday.

He was now staying with his family.

By Friday morning, the boat had come to rest on the stony beach abutting Marine Dr. Personal property and debris from the catamaran had been cleared of the road, but still littered the shore and walkways.

The description on the Givealittle page said the boat was built “from scratch by James” as his lifelong dream.

Friday morning, the boat had come to rest on the stony beach abutting Marine Dr.

JUAN ZARAMA PERINI

Friday morning, the boat had come to rest on the stony beach abutting Marine Dr.

“All of James’ belongings were on board, leaving him with what he had in his car.

“It devastated our family and left James without a home. Money is tight and we all understand the limitations of payments and the long road to recovery.

As of Friday morning, $1,240 had been contributed to the fund.

Thursday’s swell produced regular waves of 6-7m in and around Te Whanganui-a-Tara – a 10m wave was also recorded.

Waves crashed into the coastal roads of Lower Hutt’s eastern bays, cutting thousands of residents from their homes. The winds were so strong that a Bluebridge ferry circled the harbor for several hours, unable to dock due to the strong winds.

Thursday's swell produced regular waves of 6-7m in and around Te Whanganui-a-Tara - a 10m wave was also recorded.

JUAN ZARAMA PERINI

Thursday’s swell produced regular waves of 6-7m in and around Te Whanganui-a-Tara – a 10m wave was also recorded.

Resident Paul Haines said the catamaran had been moored off the Lowry Bay reclamation for around four or five weeks and broke loose on Thursday morning.

“Sometime between 9am and 11am it broke its moorings. It came on the beach and was blown to pieces. One of the hulls ended up in the road with a lot of debris washed up on the road.”

The description on the Givealittle page states that the boat was built

JUAN ZARAMA PERINI

The description on the Givealittle page says the boat was built “from scratch”.

He described the storm as one of the worst he had seen in 12 years of living in the bay.

“We’re used to it now, of course, but it’s among the worst [storms] I saw. There are logs and seaweed in people’s driveways.”

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