Grounded yacht, the Shamrockin’, ran out of luck, lake


March 16By Dave Yochum. UPDATE. It looks like a million-dollar boat called “Shamrockin” will have to wait until St. Patrick’s Day to be pulled from a shoal next to Governors Island in Lake Norman.

Cornelius-based Tow Boat US is in charge of salvage operations. Franchise owner Derek DeBord said there are no environmental hazards and the fuel is intact. The 50-foot Marquis sports yacht is absolutely high and dry around 250 feet from a shoal marker.

Its pod drive, with three engines that can help the boat spin on a catfish, is buried deep in Lake Norman’s famous mud, prevents the 50,000 lb. boat from being easily pulled off the shoal.

Mooresville-based Rowboat Dock & Dredge brought a small crane to the salvage site today. A larger, 50-ton crane was on its way from a commercial pier at All Season’s Marina in Mooresville via barge to Governor’s Island.

More than a dozen Tow Boat employees were on the site around 5 pm Thursday. It appears to be the largest salvage operation ever on Lake Norman. Tow Boat franchise owner Lee Sykes, who flew in from the coast this morning, predicted the Marquis would be lifted off the mud tonight. On the coast, salvage operations involving much larger boats are almost routine. That said, Tow Boat drafted a “salvage recovery plan” for the Shamrockin.

It’s a massive rescue operation with officers from Iredell County Sheriff’s Dept., Cornelius Police Dept. and NC Wildlife Resources on the scene.

In addition to at least five boats from Tow Boat, there were a half-dozen spectator craft on scene as well, ranging from a paddle board to larger cruisers.

The luxurious Euro-style vessel belongs to Ted Corriher, a prominent Newton businessman and political figure.

Marquis yachts launched from the old Carver Boat Corp. in Wisconsin. In 2004 it began building the Marquis line with a 59-footer.

But in 2009 the company, as part of the Genmar family of boat builders, declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to Wikipedia. They eventually came out of bankruptcy as Marquis Yachts

If a boat is a hole in the water into which one pours money, a Marquis is a prime example. New 50-footers run well over $1 million.

There are a number of used 50-foot Marquis’ for sale around the country. Some are priced in the $800,000 to $950,000 range.

The Shamrockin’ is manned 24-7 with a guard on-duty at night. There are at least a dozen workers on site. Boaters are urged to give the salvage operation a wide berth, and not raise a wake within 1,000 yards.

Tow Boat operates a fleet of seven boats out of Kings Point Marina on West Catawba. DeBord brought in a sister franchise owner, Brian Lischin, from Beaufort, NC, to assist with the recovery. He said this is a large undertaking.

There is apparently no damage to the hull and the boat can be refloated. It will be taken to All Seasons Marina in Mooresville where the hull will be inspected.

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