Rescuing Impy

9:11 PM Thu 28 May 2009 GMT
'What is that big yacht doing buried in the sand? Where is the owner?' Asian Yachting
Over in Rawa Island Resort, 16 km off Mersing Johor in Malaysia, gawking guests have, for the last eight years, been provided with a discussion topic: What was a big racing yacht doing buried up to its proverbial neck in sand?

Asian Yachting this week tells the story:

Tengku Khairul recently decided to dig out his father's beloved racing yacht Impy that has laid buried on the beach for the last eight years in front of his Rawa Island resort.

At the height of the La Nina storms back in December 2000 the mooring line on the Jeanneau - Selection 37 broke and the rough seas drove her onto the beach in front of Le Club Rawa, breaking off the keel in the process.

When the shifting sands returned the winner of the first ever Phuket King's Cup in Thailand was completely submerged up to the deck and full of sand inside to the gunnels. There she laid for many years and became a discussion topic for resort guests and passerby's to glare at in amazement. How did she get here? Who owns this boat? and Who would leave it in this condition? Were the most commonly asked questions.

Unfortunately Tunku Alang passed away before he could do anything about Impy and often remarked that going by the extent of the visible damage, it would take a miracle to revive her.

Recently when some of the original crew, Singapore's Jeff Low and Toon came together on the island, they issued a challenge to the incumbent Tengku Khairul to raise Impy from her sandy grave and that a concentrated effort was being made. So come quickly!

Impy and crew - Asian Yachting

After watching 60 plus year old guests digging in the sand, the staff were shamed into joining in as Khairul offered them a bonus in their monthly pay packets. Rawa Safaries next door kindly lent their small excavator that made good progress around the outside and dug a deep channel to the high water mark, if she were to be moved to the water.

Removing all the sand on the inside soon turned into a laborious task of hand bucketing and dumping. After three days they finally got down to the top of the keel inside the boat, which revealed a huge hole and extensive broken hull fiberglass, where the keel was ripped off as the boat washed ashore on that fateful day.

Maybe just a concrete block and a plaque? - Asian Yachting

With each spade load of sand, the extent of the damage became evident and the interest to completely restore the yacht quickly dwindled. The initial enthusiasm soon settled back into the island way of life and the project is best described as an ongoing work in progress.

Asian Yachting has now issued another challenge, accompanied by a generous offer: To completely empty all the sand inside then try to lift her up and somehow move her up to higher ground. Perhaps place what is left of her on a concrete slab and secure steel cradle along side the restaurant.

Once that task is complete (how many future guests and staff can be coralled into helping?) AsianYachting will strike up a plaque to be attached in memory for both Dato Azizz and Tunku Alang plus all the merry crew that have sailed on her.

Well done, Asian Yachting

by Asian Yachting/Sail-World

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