Cy­clone heart­break grounds vet­eran yachtie

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS -

FOR Trevor Burns, los­ing his boat – a 43-foot ketch named South­ern Lights – was ut­terly heart­break­ing.

South­ern Lights was moored at Shute Har­bour where, with ex­tra mooring chains, Mr Burns was con­fi­dent she would sur­vive.

But like most peo­ple, he didn’t ex­pect Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Deb­bie to linger as long as she did and did not ex­pect her power.

“I was close to con­fi­dent that (South­ern Lights) would sur­vive but noth­ing could have sur­vived what went through Shute Har­bour,” he said.

“It would have man­aged through a nor­mal cy­clone.”

He re­turned to his boat, which he owned for

23 years and was worth an es­ti­mated $100,000, and found her with moor­ings bro­ken off and pushed up against man­groves.

Mr Burns said he couldn’t be­lieve the amount of dam­age done to Shute Har­bour.

“The ter­mi­nal build­ing there has been al­most com­pletely de­mol­ished,” he said.

“There were ex­tra­or­di­nary scenes of boats pushed out al­most right onto the road and into the car park.”

It’s not the first cy­clone Mr Burns and South­ern Lights have been through, hav­ing ex­pe­ri­enced Cy­clone Ului in 2010.

“She got dam­aged in Cy­clone Ului and we re­paired her but this time I went to have a look and it’s be­yond eco­nomic re­pair,” he said.

De­spite no longer hav­ing a boat, Mr Burns said he and his wife would still live in the Whit­sun­days but there were no plans to buy an­other.

“I promised my wife that af­ter th­ese two ex­pe­ri­ences with South­ern Lights that we would not own an­other boat in the Whit­sun­days,” he said.

“Even at Abell Point (Marina) there was no guar­an­tee (boats) would get out not dam­aged.”


DREAMS SMASHED: Scenes of dev­as­ta­tion at Shute Har­bour fol­low­ing Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Deb­bie.

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