Tess Nichol is an NZME. News Service reporter.

Herne Bay 'home' a bargain on Trade Me auction

Mark Thomas' 14 metre yacht ran aground in Herne Bay after breaking its moorings in stormy weather last Friday. Photo/ Mark Thomas
Mark Thomas' 14 metre yacht ran aground in Herne Bay after breaking its moorings in stormy weather last Friday. Photo/ Mark Thomas

An "eye-catching" property in Herne Bay is up for auction on Trade Me, with the lister taking offers from as little as $2500.

It's a first home buyer's dream - as long as you're happy to live on a beached shipwreck.

The 14m yacht was Mark Thomas' home for 15 years before he returned to live on land in Hastings about six months ago, leaving his boat, Astrid, moored at Watchman's Island in the Waitemata Harbour.

There she stayed until her mooring line broke in stormy weather in the early hours of last Friday.

The yacht hit rocks at Masefield Reserve and was holed before running aground at Point Erin in Herne Bay.

After getting a call last Friday from the harbour master telling him he needed to deal with the boat, Thomas made his way up to Auckland from Hastings to find the boat was not salvageable.

"I met with the salvers and we discussed possible options [but] there was nothing immediately possible," he told the Herald.

Now, Thomas is saddled with a broken boat he can't afford to fix or have removed.

Auckland Council has told Thomas the 10-berth boat will cost tens of thousands of dollars to remove if he does not deal with it soon, a financial cost he says he's not able to shoulder.

Mark Thomas is hoping he can sell Astrid on Trade Me as he doesn't have the money to pay for her removal from the beach in Herne Bay. Photo/ Mark Thomas.
Mark Thomas is hoping he can sell Astrid on Trade Me as he doesn't have the money to pay for her removal from the beach in Herne Bay. Photo/ Mark Thomas.

On Trade Me, Thomas was selling Astrid in a "tongue in cheek" property listing for as little as $2500, but hoped he would get about $5000 for her.

"It really depends on what offers get made to me."

He had a second serious auction running with a $5000 reserve.

"It's very difficult," he said of the situation.

"I have to pay for the removal. It's in excess of $25,000 is what I've been quoted.

"'I'm hoping that someone will buy her before then."

Whoever bought the boat would also have to pay for its retrieval or removal from Erin Point, which was why he was selling it so cheaply.

"She is a fantastic home and I would not like to see her cut up and broken into pieces - I would really like to see her re floated."

Apart from a few trips to Europe and the Pacific with Thomas, Astrid has lived in Auckland most of her life since she was built in 1976.

"She's an Auckland girl."

Thomas said he had received good-natured suggestions to turn Astrid into a tourist attraction, but the council said she had to go.

"[There have been] lots of emotions. I felt very sad for myself but also for the boat having ended up in this position after all these years."

Astrid is stuck in Herne Bay after hitting rocks when her mooring broke in stormy weather. Photo/ Mark Thomas
Astrid is stuck in Herne Bay after hitting rocks when her mooring broke in stormy weather. Photo/ Mark Thomas

The silver lining to the whole ordeal was the support he had received from the community, Thomas said.

"The good stuff starts with all the help from everybody.

"Lots of local boaties have given me their moral support, kids have helped with salvage effort to collect stuff off beach, dozens of people have come up to express their sympathy."

Local boaties had been helping put Thomas up while he sorted things out in Auckland, but he was now back in Hastings.

Thomas was down "tens of thousands of dollars" because of the mooring breaking, and had set up a Givealittle page to help with the cost of removing Astrid in case he didn't find a buyer.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 10 Dec 2016 11:40:00 Processing Time: 620ms