River Queen breaks motor

19:00, Nov 20 2012

A strong wind gust and a submerged snag have dealt the owners of the River Queen a blow after the imitation paddle steamer hit a concrete block and broke one of its motors on the Opawa River in Blenheim at the weekend.

River Queen co-owner Peter Makin said the accident happened on Saturday morning when skipper John Grey was reversing the boat into position at its jetty below the Boathouse Theatre before beginning the day's cruising.

A strong gust of wind hit the two-level 35-tonne boat, pushing it into a partly submerged concrete block sticking out of the bank and shearing off the lower part of one motor.

"Generally you can avoid it [the block], but this time the wind caught the boat and it was all over," Mr Makin said

No-one was injured and the section of motor was fished out of the river and taken to a marine yard for repairs. "Whether we get parts or a whole new engine, it will take three weeks as it has to come from Japan," he said.

In the meantime, staff at Marlborough Marine had "cobbled together" a replacement motor so the company could continue running pre-booked cruises this weekend, Mr Makin said.

Scheduled daily cruises would be suspended until December.


The Marlborough Express