CoastguardMana Saving Lives at Sea

Pride and joy wrecked in Wgtn fishing trip

03 Dec 2006
Posted by Mark Presling
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04 December 2006

By Lane Nichols (Dominion Post

A "gutted" Papakowhai boatie is heartbroken after his $300,000 launch ran aground and sank during a fishing trip southwest of Pukerua Bay, Wellington.

John Thompson watched helplessly yesterday as his 13.6-metre launch Incognito began breaking up in rough surf, with debris littering the isolated Wairaka Pt coastline.

He was skippering the launch on Saturday, while fishing with two friends, when it foundered on rocks in fine weather and 25 to 35km/h southerlies about 1pm.

He left the controls momentarily to fix a "gear foul-up" when his unanchored pride and joy was pushed on to rocks.


"A wave just picked us up. It swung her around. There was a bit of a graunch and I quickly tried to get us back under control but found we were right between two rocks.

"It was top of the range at the time she was built," Mr Thomson said. "To replace it is a million dollars. I would just love to have her back because I know I can't replace her. I'm gutted."


Mr Thomson made a mayday call about 2pm and the Mana Coastguard ferried the occupants to safety on a row boat.

Though the launch's pumps and those of the coastguard initially held the incoming ocean at bay, they eventually ran out of fuel before the boat slipped off the rocks, began listing and taking on more water.

The decision was made to abandon it overnight rather than attempt an immediate salvage. But by yesterday the launch was nearly submerged, bobbing in the surf about 40 metres offshore.

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