Fire on the water

SARAH DUNN
Last updated 12:58 01/04/2014
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MARION VAN DIJK/FAIRFAX NZ

CHARRED HULL: Harbourmaster Dave Duncan pulls the burnt-out yacht into shore this morning.

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A yacht at the Nelson Yacht Club on Wakefield Quay has been set adrift and burned down to the hull.

The Nelson Fire Service found the four-metre Flying Dutchman class washed up on the beach, still burning, shortly after 1am today. Firefighters spent around 40 minutes putting out the blaze.

Station officer Kevin O'Connor said the presence of a trailer on the ramp suggested that an arsonist had wheeled the yacht into the water and launched it before setting it alight. Partially obscured letters suggested the boat's name could be Freedom.

Harbourmaster Dave Duncan agreed that the fire was likely to be the result of arson, saying that class of boat did not commonly catch fire. He understood that this particular boat had been deliberately "let go" into the harbour about a month ago.

Duncan said it was the first incident of its type in his four years as harbourmaster. The yacht's owners had been contacted and the issue would be handed to police.

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