Boat overboard! Sam gets sinking feeling as pride and joy springs a leak

THE Beast from the East didn’t just cause mass chaos on the roads – it also claimed a victim on the relative calm of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.

Dave and Sam with the sinking canal boat

That’s why two-man salvage team Sam Clayton and mate Dave Short have been spotted donning wet suits in the heart of Greenfield.

Sam’s pride and joy, a 27-foot Springer barge, sprang a leak at its moorings near Tesco’s store and sank into the icy waters.

The pair have spent several days retrieving personal items from inside the badly listing craft, known as Diesel the Miller.

Now, they’re planning to go into the shallow but murky water to assess the full damage prior to pumping out a boat, built out of recycled steel nearly half a century ago.

Sam is optimistic that this ship will sail once more

“It has been beasted by the Beast from the East,” says Sam, optimistic his sailing days in the distinctive barge haven’t ended. “At least it’s not voyage to the bottom of the sea.

“I’m not quite sure how it happened; it could have been wind buffeting the boat against the ice. Or it could have been the ice expanded which forced the boat against the wall.

“But it sank pretty quickly. I’ve had the boat three years and it has been brilliant.

“But I knew when I first got it the hull was pretty bad. The Sam Springer boats are known for it because of how they were made out of thin re-cycled steel.

“It even sank soon after I first got it but it’s become something of a personal mission to keep it afloat. I’m prepared to go above and beyond,” he insisted.

Sam is now considering crowdfunding to help pay for the salvage and repairs. “I was thinking I might offer a champagne cruise on the Huddersfield Narrow as part of the deal,” he laughed.

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