Man steals $210K yacht, sailing straight into $60K of trouble

A man who stole a $210,000 yacht to sail the Cook Strait and get to his son in Wellington caused $60,000 worth of damage to the boat and its engine.

The man, Sean Murdoch Grant, 41, told police he did it because there were no available ferry crossings, according to Stuff.

A police summary of facts said at about 1pm on October 27 last year, Grant stole an eight-foot dinghy from Waikawa Marae, which he rowed out to a yacht that was moored nearby.

Grant then motored the yacht away from its mooring, but failed to open the engine coolant seacock which resulted in the engine being extensively damaged. With the engine no longer working, Grant continued on his way under sail.

The following day, he ran the yacht aground on Motaura Island. After refloating the yacht, he then sailed across the Cook Strait, where the next day he ran the yacht aground again in Plimmerton, Porirua.

At this point Grant abandoned the yacht, having lost the dinghy, and left the scene with an associate in a car, reports Stuff.

In an explanation, Grant said he took the dinghy as a means to get to the yacht. He told police he took the yacht because he needed to get across the Cook Strait to assist his son and there were no available ferry sailings.

Grant pleaded guilty to one charge of unlawfully taking a dinghy and one of unlawfully taking a yacht in the Blenheim District Court on Monday.

Grant will appear in the Christchurch District Court for sentencing on May 25.

Read the full story online.

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