Tess Nichol is an NZME. News Service reporter.

Herne Bay shipwreck gets second lease on life

A shipwreck is getting a second lease on life nearly a month after it hit rocks in the Waitemata Harbour before running aground in Herne Bay.

The yacht spent weeks washed up at Pt Erin before being successfully tugged to the Orams Marine boatyard on the waterfront this morning.

The refloat was the result of weeks of hard work to get it watertight again after it was badly damaged during a storm.

For 15 years Mark Thomas lived aboard the 14m Astrid moored in the harbour.But when the boat broke its moorings and ran aground during a storm in late August, Thomas found himself being asked by the council to stump up tens of thousands of dollars he didn't have to get her removed.

Thomas, who now lives in Hastings, turned to Trade Me hoping someone would buy it cheaply, listing a tongue-in-cheek auction offering a "Herne Bay home" for just $2500.

Astrid, which washed ashore at Pt Erin, will be getting a new lease on life up north, possibly in the Bay of Islands. Photo/ Mark Thomas
Astrid, which washed ashore at Pt Erin, will be getting a new lease on life up north, possibly in the Bay of Islands. Photo/ Mark Thomas

"It was on Trade Me as a wreck for about two weeks," he told the Herald.

"I knew somebody would make a bid, the question was what would they pay and what would they do with it - what value would they see in it."

The Auckland man who bought Astrid, who preferred not to be named, planned to take it up north, potentially to the Bay of Islands, and settle it on a plot of land with ocean views.

"I thought that's a grouse way for her to go, because she can't be a ship any more, she's too badly damaged," Thomas said.

The man had big ideas for the yacht, but hadn't yet settled on what exactly he would turn it into.

Current options included making her a pirate ship for kids to play on and turning it into an Air BnB rental.

"I'm very relieved and I'm very grateful that someone has spotted the potential in her and is going to see her through for a number of years," Thomas said.

"She's going to sail on, well not literally, but she's going to sail on for something useful for people and not just be discarded."

He didn't want to say how much the man had paid for Astrid, but said he was relieved to have found someone to cover the cost of removing it from the beach.

"Now everybody's happy - council's happy, he's happy, I'm happy. It couldn't have been a better outcome."

A team of volunteers had been working all hours of the day and night to make Astrid's refloating happen, clearing the inside out and patching up holes for the move to the boat yard.

Thomas had been up from Hastings to help out and said he planned to keep in touch with the buyer.

The new owner said there was a lot more work to be done before the yacht would be ready for its new life on land, but he was looking forward to the project ahead.

- NZ Herald

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