By Connie Leinbach
Scott Pumphrey’s grounded boat was on the move on Saturday as a house moving company began wresting the stranded “Vivens Aqua” from its sandy keep on Ocracoke.
The Crum Works crew of Buxton worked in the windy cold to put pneumatic pins under the 55-foot yacht. After several hours of placing the black inflated tubes and pulling the boat inch by inch, the boat moved about 100 feet from where it had lodged after the prior attempts to refloat her ended on Tuesday (Feb. 1).
Pumphrey remained on the boat as the crew jostled and budged the boat forward. He has been ensconced in his inadvertent beach lodging since the incident 12 days ago.
The new plan, according to Barry Crum, owner of the company, was to first move the boat farther onto the beach away from the tide, which Crum thinks they accomplished on Saturday, working into the dusk. They will take off on Sunday and return Monday to continue moving the boat away from the ocean and toward the inlet.
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 deeper water.
While the boat is still on the pneumatic pin bags it will be pulled into the water, hooked to a tow boat and towed to Scott’s Boat Yard in Buxton.
Several locals and visitors ventured out to South Point to watch the operation.
“It’s progress!” noted one local who had been on the beach on Jan. 28 when TowBoatUS (out of Morehead City) first attempted to pull the boat off the sand and into Ocracoke Inlet.
Pumphrey remained in his boat all day while the move progressed and popped out of the forward hatch once during the afternoon.
Contacted later Saturday evening, Pumphrey said it was cozy inside his unheated cabin and was happy about the day’s efforts.
“I’m moving in the right direction,” he said.
After having purchased the boat built in 2001, Pumphrey, a retired police officer from the Baltimore Police Department, and his wife, Karen, was returning home via the Intracoastal Waterway.
They were traveling for about a week going about 70 miles a day, Pumphrey said. Monday, Jan. 24, was calm and, wanting to make better time, he left the Intracoastal at Morehead City and took to the ocean. It was dark when he reached Ocracoke and after learning on a website that Ocracoke was a good place to anchor, he turned into the inlet.
Then his steering went out and Pumphrey’s yacht landed on the South Point Beach around 1 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 25.
Several attempts to pull the boat out were unsuccessful. Tuesday (Feb. 1) morning’s high tide was the last time TowBoatUS tried to pull the boat into Ocracoke Inlet.