Ocracoke Observer: Grounded yacht Vivens Auqa awaits Plan B

Equipment from Crum Works that will be used to wrest the ‘Vivens Aqua’ from her sandy keep on South Point and back into the water. [Connie Leinbach/Ocracoke Observer]

By Connie Leinbach, Ocracoke Observer
It’s now time for Plan B to get the “Vivens Aqua” that has been grounded on South Point on Ocracoke since Jan. 25 back into the water.

Scott Pumphrey, owner of the 55-foot Novatek yacht, said Thursday that he hired Barry Crum of Crum Works in Buxton to refloat the boat via excavators and rollers.

According to a plan submitted to and approved by the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and which Pumphrey shared with the Observer, the effort will be done in two stages.

The first will be to get the vessel away from the surf onto higher ground approximately, 100 feet farther from the surf using ship launch bags.

Once the vessel is on the bags, Crum’s crew will pull it up farther onto the sand with the excavator. Then the sewage will be pumped out and the vessel will be inspected to make sure it is able to make the tow to Buxton.

After that, they plan to pull the vessel 1,500 feet south to the inlet to an area where the water depth drops rapidly.

While the boat is still on the float bags it will be pulled into deeper water, hooked to a tow boat and towed to Scott’s Boat Yard in Buxton. Crum’s company will then restore the beach back to its natural state.

Barry Crum, owner of the company, said he staged his equipment on Thursday at the end of South Point Road. The windy weather forecast for today (Friday) has prohibited his crew from securing Pumphrey’s boat, but they might start on Saturday, he said.

“It’s supposed to gust up to 50 knots today,” Crum said. “It would just make it really difficult for us to get anything done.”

Outside on his boat deck in balmy weather on Thursday, day 10 of his unplanned sojourn on Ocracoke, Pumphrey said he hired Crum himself and will haggle with the insurance company later. He said cost of removal will be about $90,000.

Scott Pumphrey, owner of the ‘Vivens Aqua,’ on day 10 of his accidental oceanfront accommodations on South Point, Ocracoke. [Connie Leinbach/Ocracoke Observer]

In related news, two other boats grounded in Oregon Inlet Wednesday night and had been removed from the beach by Friday afternoon.

Both vessels grounded near each other, approximately 0.8 miles south of Seashore’s off-road vehicle ramp 4.

“It’s been an interesting 10 days,” Dave Hallac, superintendent of the Seashore said. “The Cape Hatteras National Seashore runs from South Nags Head to the tip of Ocracoke Island. It’s about 75 miles long, even in the villages (Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Frisco and Hatteras), which everybody’s not always aware of this, the beachfront is Park property.”

Several days of attempts to pull the boat out were unsuccessful. Tuesday morning’s high tide was the last time TowBoatUS (out of Morehead City) tried to pull the boat into Ocracoke Inlet.

Pumphrey and his wife, Karen, of Salisbury, Maryland, had been sailing their newly acquired boat from Palm Coast, Florida, back home for about a week via the Intracoastal Waterway.

On Monday, Jan. 24, the weather was nice and Pumphrey decided to leave the Intracoastal at Morehead City and travel via the ocean “to make up some miles.”

But they got into trouble that night at dark when Pumphrey said the steering went out while navigating the Ocracoke Inlet and they grounded on the beach.

Karen was able to get off the boat the afternoon of Jan. 25 and to return home.