After losing two yachts, the first off the coast of Africa and the second on a reef in New Guinea, many friends encouraged Jan and John to write a book of their adventures.
So they have …
However, the loss of two boats was only a small part of their adventurous life story.
John first met Jan in 1966, when John was building a trimaran, with the intent of sailing it back to England. The boat was only 29-feet long and, unfortunately, he was unable to entice Jan to join him on that adventure. So, to John’s dismay they parted company after sixteen months and went their own ways for nearly eight years.
John was building the “Heart of Edna”, a 50 foot ketch, with his brother David, when Jan turned up unexpectedly one day with her parents, who had agreed to drive her in search of John. Jan had been living it Melbourne for five years and had heard of John’s exploits. Soon their relationship was all on again—John was chuffed!
They chartered the 50-foot ketch for nearly four years before her loss. After building Tafua, they chartered in Northern Queensland before returning to the Western Pacific. It was exciting times for Jan and John, and their new daughter, Kelly.
However, it was clear they wouldn’t continue to take Kelly out of school, so their next big move was to increase the size of Tafua from a 60-footer to a 70-footer, thereby tripling the number of guests they could have on board on Sydney Harbour. It was a great move, setting the way for a prosperous future.
Over the next few years they built three more sailing catamarans ranging from 90 to 100 feet, which also became extremely successful on the harbour.
In 1997, they were made an offer for Sail Venture Cruises (their company). It was an offer they couldn’t refuse. That started another challenge, which was to be their last, the building and running of a five-star lodge in the Gold Coast Hinterland, Queensland.
In 2014, they finally sold their beautiful lodge and bought a home in Newport on Pittwater, New South Wales, where they happily live to this day.
They hope those who read this book enjoy it as much as they enjoyed writing it. John has one last challenge and that is to produce a coffee-table version with over one hundred colour images covering every aspect of their fascinating story. If you would be interested in such a book, please keep an eye on their website.
Losing two yachts, the first off the coast of Africa and the second on a reef in New Guinea, would be enough for anyone, but not John and Jan Nicholls. They recovered to live the dream – building four sailing catamarans, chartering on Sydney harbour, and finishing by building a luxury lodge in Queensland.