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Moment yacht that pensioner had spent five years renovating SANK

Richard Ogilvy (pictured), 75, from Forres in Scotland, bought the boat from another private owner in London 15 years ago and since turned his hand to renovating it.

When Richard Ogilvy decided to spend his retirement restoring a pre-war yacht, his dearest wish was to see it take to the high seas once more.

Five-thousand man hours and three years later - not to mention £13,000 poorer - his dream finally appeared to be a possibility.

But once in the sea, the 75-year-old's nostalgic vision for the vintage yacht Sea Wraith quickly became a nightmare when it began to take on water… and sank within five minutes of being launched.

Richard Ogilvy and his sons abandon ship in a hurry as the boat sinks at Burghead Harbour in Scotland.  They spent five years renovating a 40-foot yacht in his back garden

Pictured is a diver going into Burghead Harbour in Moray, Scotland, to examine if Sea Wraith can be rescued from the water

Richard Ogilvy of Burghead with his 40ft wooden yacht, just moments before it sank, Sea Wraithe which he spent several years doing up

Richard Ogilvy, 75, bought the boat from another private owner in London 10 years ago and since turned his hand to renovating it

Richard Ogilvy proudly sits on the boat he restored at Burghead Harbour in Moray, Scotland, just moments before it sank

The boat is lowered into the water for its big launch at Burghead Harbour (left). Within minutes, one of Richard Ogilvy's sons was left standing bewildered as the boat had sunk (right)

In what is probably the shortest voyage in history, Mr Ogilvy and his son Jonathan, 45, were forced to scramble to safety as the 40ft wooden craft slipped below the waves and sank to the bottom of Burghead Harbour, Moray.

Mr Ogilvy, of nearby Forres, who was rescued by a fishing trawler, said: 'The cracks were bigger than I thought and the water came gushing in. We just had time to get off.

'I was hanging on to the fishing boat as the Sea Wraith sank under me in about 12ft of water.' 

But clearly it takes more than that sinking feeling to get the retired forester and boomerang maker down.

He has now managed to retrieve the boat and - when it's watertight - plans to sail her six miles round the Moray Firth coast from Burghead to a new berth in Lossiemouth.

He laughed: 'I will have a fast RIB shadowing us all the way.  Just in case. It's been a very positive experience. 

'I'd lost the thrill of yachting but this has certainly put it back into it. This is what it's all about.' 

Richard Ogilvy's 40ft wooden sloop, which he spent several years doing up the in his back garden, before he restored the boat

The sinking was just the latest drama in the life of the yacht, one of 100 built before the Second World War to train German sailors.

Originally called Zeegeist, she was seized by the Royal Navy along with others in war reparations and almost all British service personnel who sailed offshore for the next two decades were trained on what were known as Windfall yachts, because they were procured for nothing.

The Navy gradually disposed of them to civilian buyers and Mr Ogilvy bought his 15 years ago for £5,000 from a yachtsman on the Thames.

He added: 'I've spent another £3,000 moving her about on cranes and low loaders plus £5,000 on materials.' 

Now his seagoing saga has spread through the yachting community like wildfire. 

The high point for him, he said, has been the young people in the coffee shop who were talking about the sinking of the Sea Wraith and the shortest voyage in history.

He joked: 'I was in Starbucks in Elgin and some youngsters were talking about it. 

'I said, "Be careful what you say, because that was me". It's taken me 75 years but I've got there in the end. I'm the talk of the town.' 

But he added: 'Everyone has been so good. Everyone's been so cheerful and helpful.' That includes his wife of 54 years, 72-year-old Susan.

Mr Ogilvy said: 'Nothing much fazes her, including this little episode. She doesn't like sailing at the best of times.' 

Next weekend, if Sea Wraith had remained watertight, he had planned to be at the Portsoy Traditional Boat Festival further along the coast.

He laughed: 'I was going to sail her round but my ambition now is to have her in sailing condition and show her off there next year.'

Windfall yachts were used to train German sailors

The sinking was just the latest drama in the life of the yacht - one of 100 built before the Second World War to train German sailors.

Originally called Zeegeist, she was seized by the Royal Navy along with others in war reparations and almost all British service personnel who sailed offshore for the next two decades were trained on what were known as Windfall yachts, because they were procured for nothing. It is a name which continues today.

These yachts were built in Germany in the 1930s to provide training for the country's armed services.

Owned by the German government, they were taken by the British as reparations and were initially allocated to Navy, Army and Air Force of the British and Commonwealth Services in 1945. 

Many were sailed to England and formed the core of post-war services offshore sailing before branching out into a wider outside world. A surprising number are still sailing, as classic boats, while others have simply disappeared.

Richard spotted the boat on eBay around 10 years ago. A wooden ship enthusiast and a skilled woodworker, he realised it could be a golden opportunity for a restoration. Pictured is the boat during its five-year makeover

Richard Ogilvy's boat is lowered into the water for its big launch (left) and pictured (right) is the moment Richard and his crew realise it's about to sink

Next weekend, if Sea Wraith had remained watertight, Richard (pictured on the boat during its makeover) had planned to be at the Portsoy Traditional Boat Festival further along the coast

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