A 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 fire, believed to be from an electrical source, could not be brought under control with the yacht’s fire extinguishers. The other crew members returned to help fight the fire. They used the yachts ten extinguishes and “seven or eight” from neighbouring boats. “it seemed to stop the fire but then it came back up again,” one of the crew told us.
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.