On the afternoon of September 7, at the Gouvia Marina in Corfu, Greece, the country’s largest marina, a fire broke out onboard one of the vessels. Because the ships were docked in close proximity, the fire caught on quickly and spread to three other ships, including the sailing yacht Halcyon, a speedboat, a sailing catamaran and another cat.
When we initially covered the incident, which has been described by trade publications as the biggest of its kind in recent years, the sailing yacht was still burning. Since the other three vessels had fiberglass hulls, it became clear right away for first responders that they were past the point of saving. People on the dock rushed to tow Halcyon away even as it burned, in the hope that the fire boat would have a better chance at putting the flames out.
It did not. Media reports that Halcyon is now underwater, sinking after sustaining severe damage to the hull.
Built in 1929 by Vosper Thornycroft from Southampton, Halcyon was commissioned for Lancashire industrialist Sir Sam Turner as a pleasure boat. It was a classic ketch of 29 meters (94 feet) in length, and it served as commercial vessel, private yacht, and as sail training vessel for navy cadets at the School of Navigation in Warsash. Since 1986, Halcyon was under private ownership and, in recent years, it was offered for charter.
After an extensive refit in 2006, Halcyon was turned into a very comfortable and stable charter vessel. It offered accommodation for up to eight guests in four cabins, considerably-sized lounge and socializing areas, and a wooden interior that was both timeless and very homey. It was, in short, a classic yacht offering a taste of sophisticated luxury, and it chartered for up to €20,000 ($20,140 at the current exchange rate) a week during high season.
Halcyon and the other three yachts involved in the fire are now at the bottom of the sea. The causes of the fire have not yet been determined, and no injuries have been reported.