Birthday treat turns ugly

JULIAN RAETHEL
Last updated 10:41 06/03/2014
Red Spencer

SHIPWRECKED: Red Spencer sunk on February 23.

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A birthday joy ride turned into a nightmare for four people on board a small yacht which sank near the Whau River.

Skipper and owner Bruce Joseph Williams took three people out on February 23 to Rangitoto Island to celebrate a birthday.

But things turned ugly just after 3pm when the seas started becoming rough with 7.5 metre Red Spencer situated near the mouth of the Whau River. Jeff Eastlake was on board when the boat began taking in water from a hole in the hull.

"The seas got too rough and it was halfway full when luckily another boat came past," he says.

"The other three guys jumped on to it and I had to force her to ground on a sand bar."

Mr Eastlake says he wanted to drive it towards the beach but a rope got caught around the propeller.

"The motor stalled and by that stage it was full of water, that's when I had to abandon her myself."

The vessel was salvaged and all debris collected and towed to Te Atatu Boat Club on Friday.

The boat, worth around $3500, will now be used for scrap.

Mr Williams says going through the harrowing ordeal, he wasn't too frightened. As far as buying another boat goes, he says he'll "think about that at a later date".

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- Western Leader

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