Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Narragansett Bay
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Rep Power: 18
A close friend and I were anchored in our separate boats off Fort Adams 2 seasons ago, to watch the Newport Folk Festival. My wife and our two 20-something kids were on True Blue, close by his 25 y/o Pearson 33, while he and his party guests got pretty wasted during the course of the afternoon.
Close to 5:00 pm, he decided to cook some food, pumped up his pressurized tank, but was distracted by the encore performance and went up into the cockpit. Apparently, his valve was open before he pressurized the tank - overflowing the burner cup and sending alcohol fuel down into his bilge.
No one knows for sure how much time passed before he attempted to pre-heat the burner. But when he did, the flame ignited the burner and quickly spread down into his bilge. Flames began to melt the fiberglass interior hull and ignited the wood sole, cushion fabric, cabinets and bulkheads. As the hundreds of anchored boat people watched, black smoke & flames were blazing from the ports & companionway, while most of the guests jumped off the boat. The captain and a friend however, stayed onboard and eventually put the flames out with water & flour - only after pulling up every floor board.
The boat was nearly totaled, took 2 years to restore, and is still unfinished. The owner since then, installed a propane system to current ABYC safety standards. Modern alcohol stoves may be safer today, but onboard alcohol as a cooking fuel is still terrifying to me. I have yet to hear about a propane fire in this area, but plenty of alcohol fires occur each year - including one we had on a former boat.
True Blue . . .
sold the Nauticat