Crew fight to save ARC yacht after fire takes hold and rages on board...
Elaine Bunting, December 8, 2016
Swan 76 that had just finished the ARC
rally was gutted by fire as she lay alongside at Rodney Bay Marina
A crew celebrating a successful ARC transatlantic crossing to Saint Lucia found themselves fighting a huge fire on board overnight to try to save their yacht after fire broke out in the forecabin.
The Swedish-registered Swan 76 ketch Pauline af Skanör
was gutted through the forward part of the boat
when the blaze took hold around 2230 while alongside at Rodney Bay Marina. One crewmember was on board, dozing in the aft cabin
, when he smelt smoke. Luckily he was able to get off and raise the alarm
before the fire spread.
The blaze grew so intense that the forecabin was said to be glowing red with heat. Smoke pouring from the yacht was visible several miles away. Fortunately there were no yachts berthed next to the Swan at the time.
Help came from other ARC sailors, including professional skipper
Ross Applebey from Scarlet Oyster
and some of his crew. They helped close hatches and stuffed the dorade vents with clothes to stop in the inflow of air.
The local fire brigade arrived with a diesel pump
, but this kept shutting off. The crew of a superyacht berthed several pontoons away was able to run a large diameter fire hose down the dock
and its on board pumps were used to blast water
at the fire.
The fire continued to burn for some two hours despite the water
being hosed at it. “The energy was incredible,” commented Ross Applebey. “We must have put 40 tonnes of water in the boat
and it was still burning. The boat was way down on her waterline.”
Eventually the fire was quenched, but Pauline af Skanör is severely damaged by fire and smoke, as the photos show.
Staff at the marina helped the crew find hotel
accommodation and took clothing
away for laundering.
The owner of the yacht was due to arrive tomorrow. The insurance
company has been informed. From first appearances and the evidence of the photos, however, yacht could well be a total constructive loss.
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