Stuck MegaYacht Finally Free

Yacht stuck for 2 ½ years finally free – 02/27/2008 –

Update Megayacht Stuck again

This was supposed to be the end to this ongoing sea saga, that has been one of this blogs most popular stories. From The Triton:

(FEB. 26, 2008) — S/Y Legacy is floating free today after being marooned off of Key West for almost 2 1/2 years. “We busted loose today,” came owner Peter Halmos’ e-mail at about 1:30 a.m. this morning, referring to Monday’s long day of pulling the 158-foot Perini Navi out of the sand and sea grass by Byrd Commercial Diving of Miami.Although the recovery path was about a mile long, it’s been a long journey. Regulatory restrictions, marine sanctuary concerns, additional damage to the area, and some legal wrangling all added to the recovery time frame. Failed attempts, including a coffer-dam setup that never worked, added to the woes. The trenching and pulling of this current effort took about six months. Legacy will be towed to a local area that Halmos described as “about two miles as the crow flies, but 2 1/2 years of twists and turns.”

From the Miami Herald:

Here’s how they did it, according to Christian Byrd, a third-generation partner in the family business:

The five-person crew began by cutting two holes in the midnight blue hull.

Through those holes was placed a 2 ½-inch bar that became part of a special submersion pump to excavate the sand in front of the Legacy.

The pump was pulled by pulleys called beach gears.

”Every time we would pull it, we would deposit the sand right behind the Legacy,” he said. “Basically, we were doing a leap frog.”

The sand went through a hose under the water so particles didn’t plume into the air and cause even more environmental problems.

It was impossible to avoid destroying some sea grass, the nursery for marine life and fish, because of the ship’s location.

The entire project was surrounded by 3 ½ miles of yellow turbidity curtain, which floats on the surface and has a meshing that goes to the bottom.

Byrd said the crew operated their dredger for 900 hours during the project.

When there was enough sand dredged from in front of the Legacy, another boat hundreds of yards away used a large winch and two heavy cables to pull the yacht. This continued until noon Monday, when Legacy finally got out of the flats and into open water.

After an initial scare when the Legacy got briefly stuck again, the boat was towed two miles to Key West Harbor, arriving at 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, the crew used a 4,000-pound anchor to keep the Legacy in place without the help of the Helen B barge. Now the crew has 9,000 feet of cable and 15,000 pounds of anchors to retrieve.

”Maybe when we get home to Miami we’ll celebrate,” Byrd said.

As for Halmos, he has two restoration projects on his hands: the yacht and the sea grass of Great White Heron.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration experts who oversee the sanctuary waters will assess the dredging path and work with Halmos on a plan to repair the environmental damage, said NOAA special counsel Craig O’Connor.

”We anticipate Mr. Halmos building the grade back up to where the vessel had been resting and replanting sea grass in those areas,” O’Connor said.

Halmos was not fined for the damage, Score said, because it was viewed as an act of God. But O’Connor said Halmos has paid for the entire salvage project and will be responsible for the restoration as well.

Halmos has estimated the ordeal will cost him more than the $16 million he originally paid for the Legacy in 1985, when it was one of the 10 largest sailing yachts in the world.

While it was marooned, a group of about eight men in fast inflatable rafts approached, claiming they were from FEMA and had authorization to confiscate the boat’s luxurious features. They returned a few times, but Halmos and his rifle-bearing crew kept them from boarding.

Now, O’Connor said he expects Halmos will load the yacht onto a cargo ship and send it back to its original shipyard in Viareggio, Italy, to be rebuilt into ”the gorgeous boat” that it once was.

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