FALMOUTH — Nearly a year after the sailing vessel Best Revenge 5 was engulfed in flames at the Falmouth Inner Harbor, the National Transportation Safety Board released a report finding the probable cause of the fire to be an electrical fault on the vessel.
The marine accident brief, which was issued on June 28, stated the fire caused an estimated $1,508,000 in damages to the Best Revenge 5, a nearby vessel, and to the pier at MacDougalls' Cape Cod Marine Services where it was docked.
At around 1:30 a.m. on July 11, 2017, the 58-foot catamaran caught fire. The captain told investigators that he woke to the smell of smoke and then saw a space in the boat that was filled with smoke and glowing red. He woke the first mate but then became trapped on the boat and had to jump into the water to get away from the fire, the report says.
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After the vessel’s two crew members escaped the burning vessel, they tried to fight the fire but could not contain it, and local firefighters later extinguished it, the report says.
The first mate sustained second and third degree burns to her arms, hands, and feet.
An oil sheen was observed in the immediate vicinity of the vessel after the fire but was contained by a floating boom, the report says.
Electrical power to the boat, which was built in 2003, was supplied by two diesel-fueled generators located in the aft section of the port and starboard hulls, the report says.
In the winter the vessel operated in the Caribbean waters, carrying up to eight passengers on chartered sailing voyages. In the summer it would sail privately in New England waters.
In June 2017, while the boat was operating out of Bermuda, hosting spectators for America’s Cup sailing races, it was struck by lightning, which damaged several navigational components, according to the NTSB report. The damaged instruments were replaced and the captain did not note any issues following repairs.
The report noted that both equipment and conductors that may have been affected by the lightning strike were located in the general area where the fire is believed to have started.
— Follow Beth Treffeisen on Twitter: @BTreffeisenCCT.