Yacht gets that sinking feeling

ONLY a day after being launched, all that could be seen of a 43ft yacht was its mast sticking out of the water. Today mystery still surrounds why Arctic High, a Wauquiez 43, sank - even after a huge crane pulled it out of the water yesterday.

ONLY a day after being launched, all that could be seen of a 43ft yacht was its mast sticking out of the water.

Today mystery still surrounds why Arctic High, a Wauquiez 43, sank - even after a huge crane pulled it out of the water yesterday.

On Tuesday, it was floating on Fox's Marina, in Wherstead after being launched for the new season, but by Wednesday morning it was sat on the bed.

It was only when the marina looked back over CCTV footage to see what had happened that it realised the yacht had gradually sunk and was completely underwater by around 3am on Wednesday.


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Ralph Catchpole, services manager at Fox's Marina, said: “We launched it on Tuesday and checked it all and it was bone dry. It then sank in the early hours of Wednesday morning.”

He said the owner, who had bought the boat from new, was “devastated”.

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A huge salvage operation was mounted yesterday involving a crane barge courtesy of Haven Ports Construction.

According to the harbour master, who did not want to be named, sailing the massive crane barge into the harbour was an operation in itself.

“It was a seriously tight squeeze,” he said.

Divers attached strops underneath the yacht so the crane could gradually lift the vessel out of the water.

While this was going on, a machine was pumping water out of the boat, which weighs between 12 and 15 tonnes, so it was less heavy.

“We made a start on it first thing this morning,” said the harbour master.

“We took the mast off it first so it couldn't get damaged.

“They're salvaging property and finding out where the water has come in. Once we know what caused it hopefully we can rectify it.

“We have no idea why it sunk. There was just a mast sticking out of the water.”

He added: “I've seen recovery operations like this before. It's unusual. It's never a happy sight to see them in this condition.

“The owner is absolutely devastated.”

The yacht was lifted entirely clear of the water last night and is now resting in the marina's travel lift.

Mr Catchpole said: “She will be laid up now at the yacht club while we wash her as many times as we can to get rid of the salt crystals. All the water is out now.”

Insurance surveyors will now assess the damage and decide whether the yacht can be repaired or whether it is a write-off.

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