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FIRST HAND BOAT FIRE ADVICE

Thursday, 06 April 2017

FIRST HAND BOAT FIRE ADVICE

Ed and Annette have made many journeys with their sailing yacht Sandpiper but in May, 2016 a fire onboard resulted in their last and final voyage.

This first-hand account from Ed and Annette shows just how scarily quickly the fire spread and the damage done. The painful and traumatic experience for them has resulted in them publishing this very honest and informative account of the boat fire and the lessons learnt.

Sandpiper's Final Voyage

On the morning of May 13, 2016 Sandpiper sailed out of la Paz marina with Ed & Annette as crew and began a 250mile voyage to her home port of Mazatlan, Mexico.  Perhaps it was leaving on Friday the 13, bad luck, or maybe just fate, but this was to be Sandpiper's final voyage.

The first day’s passage took us 65 miles to the small village of Bahia de los Suenos (Bay of Dreams).  There was plenty of southerly wind as we sailed north and then east through the canal separating the island, Espiritu Santo, from the Baja peninsula. 

The next morning, we raised the anchor and began the 200-mile passage across the sea to Mazatlan. At approximately 12 noon, 40 miles out, smoke appeared coming up the companionway from below.  We shut down the engine and turned off the battery mains.  Everything in the engine compartment looked fine but when we looked into the quarter berth we saw a small fire at the foot of the bed, just above the rear access hatch to the engine.

Next to the engine compartment we had multiple fire extinguishers ready in case of a fire either in the engine or galley so we immediately used one to quickly put out the fire.   The extinguishers were type BC and hence smothered the fire by releasing clouds of carbonate powder into the air.  At this point we thought we had put out the fire but within a minute the fire returned and was twice as big as before!

To see descriptive images and to find out how the fire developed and what steps Ed and Annette took please read their full blog here.

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