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Boats, docks pummeled at La Mariana Sailing Club

By Richard Borreca and Andrew Gomes

LAST UPDATED: 2:21 p.m. HST, Mar 11, 2011

Boat owners at Keehi Lagoon were arriving all morning to check on their boats and were launching repair and recover efforts.

The harbor area in front of the La Mariana Sailing Club sustained at least $500,000 in damage this morning when the tsunami ripped away three docks mooring 100 sailboats.

The La Marina Restaurant and structures on land were undamaged.

But the scene in the water this morning has been chaotic.

Jim Campbell, of Waikiki, arrived at 9:30 this morning and found his sailboat, Waimanalo, submerged up to its gunwales.

Campbell made an effort with small plastic waste baskets to bail water out of his boat and  received help from a small electric water pump, but the attempt was futile.

Water overcome the bow and began pouring in and within 10 minutes his boat sank.

“Bye bye Waimanalo,” he said.

Campbell said he had just added $5,000 worth of new rigging to the boat he acquired in  September and had planned its first sea trial tomorrow.

Now Campbell can only hope professional recovery can bring the Waimanalo back up.

“It’s a beautiful boat. I’m sorry,” said Russ Singer, a dock helper at the club who assisted Campbell with his rescue attempt.

Tito Calace, a maintenance worker at the club, had been watching the docks overnight from a second floor lanai above the restaurant.

It was all quiet until close to 4 a.m. and “suddenly noises all over. The tide was going up and down. All the ropes snapping and the cleats breaking. It was really something.”

Calace said two of the three piers at the club were ripped from their mooring. The two piers ripped away were old. The third pier, which didn’t suffer major damage, was recently rebuilt and provided safety to about 30 boats.

Calace said close to a dozen boats have been moved out of the harbor overnight. A total of 90 boats were taken to sea to avoid the tsunami.

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