Bay storm sinks $75,000 launch

By Amy McGillivray

The owner of a launch which sank after wild weather battered the Western Bay is gutted by the loss of the $75,000 vessel that he spent the past year refitting.

Yesterday's gusty winds and heavy rain also flooded roads and knocked down trees and power lines.

The owner of the 10-metre Vindex, which was moored near the Omokoroa boat ramp, noticed the bow was sitting low in the water when he went to check on it on Sunday night.

The man, who did not want to be named, tried to row out to it but rough seas prevented him from getting there.

He checked his boat again yesterday morning, found it was sinking and called Tauranga Coastguard but the launch sank before help arrived.

He was unsure how the boat, which had just undergone a year-long refit, had taken on enough water to make it sink.

"It's gutting. It's just got to be salvaged now and we'll see what the insurance says."

The wind and rain caused chaos on the roads yesterday. Heavy rain last night caused substantial surface flooding at intersections on 9th Ave and 17th Ave.

A half-metre-wide pine tree toppled down a bank blocking the south lane of Pyes Pa Rd at the intersection of Taumata Rd earlier in the day.

Greerton fire station officer Paul Van Kol said firefighters helped with traffic control and cut up the tree with a chainsaw to get it off the road.

The wind blew down power lines on Reid Rd, Papamoa, about 8am yesterday and delayed operations at the Port of Tauranga early yesterday.

The Daisy Hardwick Walkway around the Waikareao Estuary was closed due to the collapse of a section of the seawall. That part of the track was likely to be further eroded in the next high tide.

This latest bout of stormy weather comes just a week after heavy rain caused a series of landslips and flooding which forced the closure of the Karangahape Gorge, part of State Highway 2 from Papamoa to Tauranga, and Athenree Gorge last Monday and Tuesday. A section of Ohauiti Rd was also reduced to one lane due to a slip last Tuesday.

Katikati business owners spent yesterday morning bracing themselves for a repeat of the flooding they had earlier this month but by the afternoon things were looking up.

Katikati Unichem Pharmacy and Gift Shop owner John Allan was keeping an eye on the water level after floodwaters came about 20cm up the front window of his store during the deluge earlier this month.

MetService forecaster Daniel Corbett reported 68mm of rain in the Kaimai Range between 3pm on Sunday and 3pm yesterday. Tauranga Airport recorded 42.8mm in the same period.

Another 40mm-70mm of rain was expected in the Bay of Plenty by about 3am this morning, Mr Corbett said.

"After this comes through it turns a little more showery. It'll be a week where the rain cloud never really leaves."

Safe mooring

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council has some helpful tips to keep boats safe while moored:

  • Check your mooring regularly

  • Check your headline regularly for signs of chafe

  • Fit a plastic hose or something similar to protect your headline from chafe

  • Check that your mooring buoy has a yellow identification tag with a mooring number

- Bay of Plenty Times

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