BY LYDA LONGA, STAFF WRITER
February 8, 2012
HOLLY HILL — It’s gone.
The 52-foot, 60,000-pound houseboat that graced Holly Hill for four months finally hit the water this morning after three tug boats yanked and yanked and yanked, and freed the vessel from its sandy spot on a tiny island off Riverside Drive.
Three times as many onlookers showed up at Sunrise Park’s southern end today than the day before, taking every single parking space and then some, to watch the show.
The first attempt at removing the houseboat — which belongs to Robert McGary — failed on Tuesday after another company struggled to pull the vessel, but instead ended up running over their own line and tangling it in their fishing boat’s propeller. The company was going to charge the city $8,700, but only if the boat was successfully towed, police said.
This time the city contracted with Sea Tow and the company brought out three of its small tugboats to do the $12,000 job.
The first attempt at pulling the houseboat snapped two of Sea Tow’s ropes, but after those were replaced, the houseboat came off the island just before 11.
Spectators cheered and clapped as the boat splashed into the water. Some people said it was a sad occasion because they had come to regard the houseboat as a landmark.
Police Chief Mark Barker said he had to assign his volunteers officers to direct traffic. Barker was pleased that the houseboat is but a memory now, but he said he hopes McGary can get the boat out of storage and be on his way.