The owner of the 32m sailing yacht Danneskjold has spoken exclusively to BOAT International after his yacht was destroyed in a fire at a shipyard in Newport, Rhode Island.
Owner Bill Duker said his crew were forced to “run for their lives” when a fire engulfed Danneskjold and 30m Ocean Alexander 100 superyacht Drinkability at the Hinckley Yachts yard in Portsmouth.
“They are very shaken – it all happened very fast,” he said, adding that at least one person was injured in the incident.
Both boats have been declared a total loss.
It is understood that the fire, which began on the morning of Friday, December 10, originated on Drinkability, which was in a travel lift while shipyard staff worked on the bottom of the boat. Danneskjold, which was at the yard undergoing maintenance work, was positioned alongside Drinkability.
While there has not yet been an official announcement about the cause of the fire, fingers have been pointed at the proximity of propane heaters to some hay bales, which were nearby Drinkability.
Duker said he was informed about the fire by a member of crew. “I got a call saying, ‘the boat’s gone. It’s consumed by fire – it’s a total loss.’”
He added that his first concern was for his crew. “For us, it’s a financial issue but for them, it’s their home and their jobs and all the plans they had made,” he said. “We’ve assured them that we’ll make sure they’re ok.”
Duker, who only bought Danneskjold at the end of October, added that he hadn’t even had the chance to step on board. “I never spent a night on the boat.”