$200 penalty for yacht sinking that injured woman

By Amelia Wade

Photo / Brett Phibbs
Photo / Brett Phibbs

One of the two skippers involved in a collision on Waitemata Harbour - in which a 71-year-old classic yacht sank and a woman was seriously injured - has been fined $200.

The 18m yacht Antaeus and the classic sailboat Gypsy collided on Auckland Anniversary Day, when thousands of boats were on the harbour.

Kawau Island resident John Pryor spent five years and $100,000 restoring his 71-year-old classic yacht Gypsy, only to see it smashed to pieces and sunk in the collision.

His partner, Jill Hetherington, suffered serious injuries after being dragged under Antaeus' bow.

The Auckland harbourmaster has investigated and ruled that "one of the parties" was at fault - understood to be the Antaeus.

Harbourmaster Christian Moss said for privacy reasons he couldn't name the person who had been fined.

"We all know the reality of what happened but ... all I can say is that the bylaws were applied and the appropriate people were issued their infringements as required."

The Herald contacted Mr Pryor who said it wasn't him who had been fined.

Mr Moss said the responsible party had been found to have breached the collision prevention clause of the navigational safety bylaws.

"It was quite clearcut for us, we just went through our ... checklist and we ... processed that."

The fine was $200 - the largest the Auckland Council can give under the bylaws.

Mr Pryor and Ms Hetherington did not want to comment about the outcome of the investigation.

"It'll be best for both parties that we leave it there," Mr Pryor said.

Maritime NZ said it had some initial discussions with the Harbourmaster about the collision.

"While this incident was catastrophic in the sense of the damage to the Gypsy, from an enforcement point of view, it was a relatively simple case of failing to give way," spokesman Ross Henderson said.

Antaeus skipper Charles St Clair Brown did not return the Herald's calls last night.

At the time of the collision, he said he was slowly motoring back to Westhaven Marina when the collision occurred just after midday.

"The sail boat just came across the bow of my boat and I didn't actually see it because there were a lot of yachts around and I was trying to manoeuvre my boat up the harbour - it was literally just one of those accidents," he said at the time.

- NZ Herald

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