Stricken boat recovered from the depths

A CRITICAL phase in the salvage operation of a 100-year-old boat which sank in an Ipswich dock has been safely completed.

A CRITICAL phase in the salvage operation of a 100-year-old boat which sank in an Ipswich dock has been safely completed.

There was, however, a slight scare when one the masts on the schooner broke during the £30,000 rescue.

But the damage was contained and it is thought the mast will be able to be repaired later on in the recovery.

The project required intricate preparation to ensure the delicate wooden vessel was not crushed and that around 300 gallons of diesel did not leak while it was lifted out of the water by two large cranes.

Jonathan Pack, owner of Eastern Structures, which oversaw the operation, said he was delighted it had gone to plan.

He said: “It went extremely well and I would like to thank the dock master and Haven Marina for their help. It was tiring work and I am absolutely shattered.”

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The boat became submerged after it sprung a leak last month while moored in the south west quay.

It is thought the water activated the automatic pumps, but these burnt out after they were left running for weeks while the boat was unattended.

The water in the dock was lowered by two metres over the weekend to allow divers to fix a sling around the boat before it was pulled up and pumped free of water.

The lift, which took place yesterday, lasted around six hours and work will continue tomorrow to remove the masts and motor before it is hoisted on to land at the Haven Marina.

It is then planned to carry out extensive renovation work.

Christopher Dean, the owner of the boat, said: “I am pleased it is out, but there is a mountain of work to do. She had an expensive soaking.”