New life for abandoned cruise yacht
By RENEE REDMOND
IT was Port Macquarie businessman Michael Macarthur's $75,000 bid that blew punters out of the water on Saturday.
And with that he gave a new lease of life to the Otama ? the 16-metre steel-hulled cruising yacht, which was abandoned at Brunswick Heads three years ago.
The auction of the yacht by the NSW Maritime Authority, because of unpaid registration fees, drew 40 registered bidders and more than 100 curious onlookers at the Brunswick-Byron Fishing Co-Op.
The Authority believed it would fetch anywhere between $40,000 and $80,000 for the yacht which was recently valued at $100,000.
Coffs Harbour auctioneer Glenn Aylward opened the bidding at $30,000 saying he could not offer any guarantees or warranties with the boat.
"The NSW Maritime Authority is selling the yacht with a clear title. The terms of the auction will be 10 per cent on the fall of the hammer and the balance due in seven days," Glenn said.
"We've turned the motor and checked the oils. We're selling the boat where it is, as it is."
At $42,000 the yacht reached the reserve price, but another 21 small bids were made before Michael, a 47-year-old importer and small business owner, took the price up from $72,100 to his final bid of $75,000.
"I heard about the sale last week and I did my homework first. My final bid was the exact amount I was prepared to pay," he said.
Michael said he planned to bring the boat up to condition before sailing it home to Port Macquarie.
"I don't think it's a pretty boat but it's seaworthy and I got it at a good price," he said.
Michael said the Otama would only need around $30,000 in repairs to get it up to scratch.
"I used to sail a lot of small to medium size yachts in Sydney and I've always loved it," he said.
Michael said the boat would stay at Brunswick Heads until the repairs were complete.
"I'll be checking out what parts I need to buy and then coming back to fit them," he said.
"I think once the boat is ready, our first major trip will be Lord Howe Island (in the Tasman Sea east-northeast of Sydney)," he said.
Michael said he was putting off calling his wife Dianne.
"There'll be a lot of shock and trepidation," he said.
Auctioneer Glenn Aylward said BOAT stood for 'bring on another thousand'.
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