The unnamed yacht that ran aground on a Christchurch beach may have to be chopped up for removal by land.

The Canterbury regional harbourmaster, Ian Fox, said the ferro-cement yacht that he estimated would weigh 25-30 tonnes grounded on quite a high spring tide. Lower high tides were insufficient to float it off.

It wasn't causing any problems where it was stuck in the sand of New Brighton Beach about 250m north of the pier, but could not be left there long term.

"The chance of refloating it is extremely slight. There are very few vessels in New Zealand capable of pulling something like that off the beach without undue risk."

Advertisement

That was likely to mean the only way of removing it was to drag it up the beach for a crane to lift it onto a truck. It might be too large to do this without breaking it into smaller sections.

Fox said it wasn't clear why the boat had run aground. He understood from witnesses that it had been sailing south toward Lyttelton Harbour with a northeasterly blowing from behind. The wind died and the boat's motor couldn't be started, leaving the vessel to drift ashore.

The boat's owner and sole occupant, a man, swam ashore last night and was taken to hospital to be checked over. Fox understood the man had been discharged from hospital but his office, despite trying, hadn't yet been able to communicate with him directly about what plans he might have for the boat's removal.

He said the removal of the boat was the owner's responsibility.

Canterbury regional harbourmaster Ian Fox said the chance of refloating the yacht, which grounded on quite a high spring tide, was extremely slight. Photo / Kurt Bayer
Canterbury regional harbourmaster Ian Fox said the chance of refloating the yacht, which grounded on quite a high spring tide, was extremely slight. Photo / Kurt Bayer