Captain Bob’s okay, but there was a fire on the Phoenix last night.

He was lying in his cabin after anchoring for the evening. The heater was running, as was the engine (to charge the batteries.) Dad was listening to a book on his laptop when his eyes started burning.

FWhen he opened the door to his cabin to investigate, the salon was filled with black smoke. He tried to go back towards the engine, but the smoke was so nasty that he was driven back into his cabin.

He dressed, grabbed his laptop, and got out through the escape hatch over his bed. He tried to get aft to turn off the engine, but the smoke was billowing from the stern and he couldn’t get to the console. He also couldn’t get the dinghy down (it hangs off the stern.)

Instead he went over the side with his kayak, which is kept tied to the lifelines amidships. After getting off the Phoenix, he used his cell phone to call the Coast Guard.

While he was drifting alongside the Phoenix, the engine started whining, and then died entirely. Apparently, the cooling water hose had burnt through. Without cooling, the engine seized. The water unfortunately started filling the boat, but the automatic bilge pump kept the ship from sinking too quickly. The water probably had the positive effect of helping to douse the fire.

The Coast Guard came out, fished dad out of the water, and towed the Phoenix in to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The Fire Department examined the boat, turned off the seacock to the engine (thus stopping the flooding), and determined that the fire had started in an electrical conduit in the engine compartment. Dad got into a Super 8 Motel at around 2am yesterday.

His cell phone isn’t working because he didn’t bring the charger. If you want to call him with encouraging words, he’s at the Super 8 Myrtle Beach, 843-293-6100, room 417.


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