Home on a shipwreck?

Auckland man's future uncertain after yacht, his home of 15 years, runs aground.

1472698568063Mark Thomas with his yacht Astrid. Photo courtesy of Stuff.co.nz

There's a temporary shipwreck in Auckland's Herne Bay, visible from the Harbour Bridge.

Astrid, a 47ft yacht owned by Mark Thomas, smashed ashore in the 60 knot winds of a ravaging storm last week.

Wind and waves have gutted the vessel - Thomas' home for 15 years - and holes in her hull mean she can't be refloated.

Home on shipwreckMark Thomas with his yacht Astrid. Photo courtesy of Stuff.co.nz

Strangers helped Thomas clear his larger belongings off the foreshore, but he was still finding photographs scattered through rockpools.

Three van loads of Thomas' saltwater ruined power tools, electrical equipment, miscellanea and memorabilia got taken to the dump.

"I feel sadness for where she [the wreck] is now, but fondness for all the adventures we had… and I wish her well for where she goes next," said Thomas.

"I just really really hope it's not in pieces."

Astrid was built in 1976 and featured 10 berths, two bathrooms, a kitchen, and living area.

Her once-comfortable interior is now a sodden, smashed mess of bedding, souviners, and kitchen items, with ripped out flooring boards.

Timing-wise the shipwreck couldn't have been worse; Thomas had been trying to sell Astrid for a while, keen for a spell of land-lubber living.

He was in Hastings during the storm and hadn't given it much thought when he heard about Auckland's wild weather on TV.

But on Friday morning he got a call from the harbour master - and arrived in the city that evening.

Living aboard Astrid had let Thomas escape Auckland's hostile housing market, plus "at that time I was all about freedom, adventure, and exploration," he said.

Referencing Janis Joplin, he said he was aware that he now had freedom - if it is just another word for nothin' left to lose - to an extreme.

"I don't know what I'll do… Not what I had been planning to do, I'm not able. The mission now is to get her sold and into her new life, then I'll enter mine."

The boat was not insured.

He reckons she would have fetched around $60,000 - but that expectation had now plummeted to less than a tenth of that.

"The wreck itself is worth a lot more - and even holes can be patched up cheaply enough. But the hassle is the lifting, the refloating, and inside damage."

The Harbour Master has given Thomas a two-week deadline to get the wreck of Astrid moved.

The kindness of strangers has been a positive to have come out of the ordeal, said Thomas.

"So many people came out of the blue - I'm now staying on a stranger's boat out in the harbour, another one's been looking after my dog, and even more have cooked me meals and helped with the beach tidy up.

"On that Saturday morning, when I first saw her, a lot of boaties were around and we all shared stories of bad luck."

While bad luck was definitely at play in his moorings breaking, Thomas said, the incident could be an opportunity for mooring regulations to be revisited.

"I'd hate this to happen to other boaties - moorings break rarely, but for clear reasons."

Thomas has set up a Givealittle page to to offset the shipwreck's removal costs.

Astrid was also listed on Trademe - as is - and has attracted a slew of queries, as well as some abuse.

The beached yacht has also lured her share of curious passersby and children "wanting to treasure hunt on a shipwreck," said Thomas.

"We've weathered so many storms - some of my best memories are of sailing through howling winds around Kawau island… I never imagined her ending up like this," he said.

- Original article from Stuff.co.nz

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