SUNKEN DREAMS: The yachts mast juts from the Clarence River at Grafton before it was salvaged yesterday.
SUNKEN DREAMS: The yachts mast juts from the Clarence River at Grafton before it was salvaged yesterday.

Waterlogged yacht lifted from Clarence River



A NINE-METRE yacht that sunk in the Clarence River near Grafton Bridge last Thursday was yesterday salvaged by a team of divers from the Gold Coast.

All that could be seen of the yacht above the water was half a mast, but a small crowd of onlookers gathered on the riverbank to watch as divers worked to get the boat off the bottom of the river.

The salvage mission took more than six hours until the yacht finally popped afloat after the divers inflated large air bags under the hull.

The waterlogged yacht was then attached to a crane on a barge and taken to a slipway to be assessed for damage. Owner David Irons, of Grafton, said he would not know why the yacht sank until it was assessed, but he thought one of the sea cocks may have failed.

"It was floating at 7am on Thursday, but by 10am it had sunk," he said.

"I got a phone call at work telling me it had sunk. We'd only just had it painted and the next step was to put all the electricals on it, so luckily there wasn't any expensive equipment on board."

Mr Irons said the salvage operation had cost him at least $5000.

However, he said the amount could have been a lot more if friend Laurie Duff had not let him use his barge free of charge.

Mr Irons said the damage to the yacht could have been a lot worse and he was just happy to have it out of the water.



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