Yacht's watery end

A 12-METRE yacht that had spent the past few months on the bottom of Emigrant Creek at Ballina was salvaged yesterday.

The yacht, owned by a local man, was believed to have been hand-built in France in 1935.

It is not known exactly how, or when, the vessel sank.

But it is understood the yacht – which had to be floated once before and also had to be saved from a fire – was in a poor condition and had been left to deteriorate.

A NSW Maritime spokesman said that despite repeated official requests to the owner he refused to have the sunken vessel removed.

“The vessel had become a navigational hazard and there were pollution concerns,” the Maritime spokesman said.

“So NSW Maritime has had to have the vessel removed.

“We will now negotiate with the owner about the payment.”

It is estimated that the salvage efforts would have cost thousands of dollars.

The yacht sank near the boat ramp beside the Ballina Waterfront Village and Tourist Park.

Although NSW Maritime could not confirm exactly how long it had been under water, nearby residents said it was between four and eight months.

Yesterday an excavator, diving team and demolition crew spent more than four hours trying to salvage the yacht.

Seven attempts later the crews realised the boat could not be saved, and it was brought ashore in several pieces.

One local boatie, who did not want to be named, said it was a ‘terrible shame’.

“The yacht was made out of timber that could have been 100 years old from forests in France,” he said.

“If it had been restored it would have been priceless.

“It’s heartbreaking that this has happened to it. Watching this (the salvage) is like going to a funeral.”

Other locals said the yacht was commonly known as the ‘Dollar Yacht’, named because it had been sold for $1.

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