The salvaging of the Triad

A high-speed tow boat and scuba diver accompanied a salvage crew Wednesday to assess underwater conditions before beginning to tow the sailboat Triad, which capsized Friday off the Isles of Shoals.

The cost of salvaging the 42-foot trimaran that capsized off the New Hampshire coast late Friday afternoon is estimated by owner and skipper Tom Cox of Gloucester, Mass., to be in the “tens of thousands of dollars” — a cost he says he will be bearing himself because the vessel is self-insured.

Cox and a towing-salvage team from Determination Marine left Portland just after sunrise Tuesday in search of Triad — the tri-hull, performance sailboat abandoned after the boat had flipped over in a squall and thunderstorm.

Cox, a veteran sailor who won the prestigious Marblehead Halifax Race and has cruised thousands of miles, said that after trying to dodge a moving thunderstorm, the wind suddenly gusted to 40 knots, and within a couple of seconds the boat had capsized and turtled.

Two divers from Tow Boat US, Graham McKay and Aidan McDonald, joined the salvage team departing from Portsmouth on a high-speed, 26-foot center console motor boat. The divers went directly to the last reported position which the Coast Guard had provided Tuesday, according to McKay.

McKay used binoculars to locate the vessel, sometime around 9:30 a.m.

The boat had drifted another two miles to the southeast placing it closer to Cape Ann, according to McKay and Poole’s estimate.

“It looked like a submarine floating in the water with its center hull visible above surface and the rudder appearing like a conning tower,” McKay said.

Weather conditions at the time were reported to be clear with calm seas.

The divers made a visual inspection underwater to make sure the boat was not tangled in fishing gear and sound enough to be righted, according to Poole. McKay said that they opened a hatch to partially flood one pontoon, so that the other side would float higher, making it easier to flip it right side up.

By 11 a.m. the team had righted the boat. Then came the process of pumping it out, which took another two hours according to Poole. The boat was towed back to Greene Marine in Yarmouth and arrived sometime after 8 p.m.

“It was not one of the run-of-the-mill refloats,” Poole said, and gave credit to the salvage team.

Cox and his crew, 76-year old Alan Bingham of Somerville, Mass., and 63-year-old Matt Church of Yarmouth, Maine, were airlifted off the stricken vessel Friday after 5 p.m. One of the helicopter co-pilots, Coast Guard Lt. Robert Turley, said the vessel was approximately 10 miles southeast of the Isles of Shoals when they reached it.

Cox said the salvage was successful.

“Triad is whole, apart from shredded sails, salty electronics, missing one of its foils, and minor damage to a toe rail,” he said.

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