December 6, 2019

Boat Fire and Fuel Spill in Alameda

Last week, a motorboat caught fire at Marina Village Yacht Harbor in Alameda and eventually sank. No one was hurt, but the fire and wreck caused a fuel spill that spread throughout the Oakland Estuary. Two sailboats on either side of the burning boat were also damaged. The cause of the fire is not yet known.

“The boat was completely engulfed,” said Alan Weaver of JK3 Yachts. “I don’t believe there was a breach in the hull,” Weaver added, speculating that the boat was likely sunk as the fire department saturated it with water to fight the flames. Weaver also said that the motorboat did not have any propane onboard; the cause of the blaze was likely electrical.

ABC7 News said last week that fuel from the burned and sunken boat “spread from Alameda all the way to the Oakland Estuary. An inspector with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife described the spill as ‘minor to moderate.’” That inspector said that visually, the spill was deceptive in appearance. “A little bit of oil on water goes a long way and it spreads out very quickly.”

Visually speaking, the sailboats on either side of the inferno were well singed. Weaver said that one of the boats was “cracked from the heat and had some singed sail covers.” Formerly the harbormaster at Marina Village for 23 years, Weaver said that a fire was always his “worst nightmare.”

While the cause of the fire is unknown, this incident serves as a reminder to take caution this winter, when many of us are running heaters on our boats.

#optsailing on a Cold but Dry Black Friday

Taking advantage of what was literally the calm between the storms, 38 sailors on five boats from various harbors around San Francisco Bay converged on Clipper Cove. They opted to sail rather than shop on Black Friday. They chose the cove on the east side of Treasure Island for their raft-up, seeking shelter from wakes that would rock the boats in less-protected anchorages.

Cockpit of Mistress II
Happy Black Friday from the crew of Mistress II.
© 2019 Nicole Rodatos

The boats included Zenaida, Ondina, Big Buoys and Bonaparte. Richard vonEhrenkrook brought Mistress II, a Farallon Clipper berthed in Sausalito. Frances Sawyer, a crewmember aboard Richard vonEhrenkrook’s Cal 20 Can O’Whoopass, brought her parents, Chris and Julie, and brother Glenn to join the gathering. The Sawyer family was visiting from Atlanta, Georgia.

rafted up
Richard’s wife Ali, with Athan (age 12) and Zach (8) Rodatos aboard Mistress II in Clipper Cove. The J/105 Big Buoys, rafted up alongside, came from San Francisco.
© 2019 Nicole Rodatos

“Zach and Athan are the sons of the photographer, Nicole Rodatos, who came with longtime Mistress II and Can crew, Rachel Porter,” explained Richard.

Zach at the helm
Zach Rodatos steered Mistress II’s big tiller most of the way back to Sausalito.
© 2019 Nicole Rodatos

Scroll down to the next story for more readers who opted to go out sailing on Black Friday.

More of Our Readers #optsailing

A few more #optsailing sailors enjoyed the calm between the storms and sent us photos via email and Facebook:

Ernest Galvan took his Ericson 30+ Zenergy out of Richmond Yacht Club last Friday.
“Two generations,” Ernie wrote. “Dennis Galvan and Ramon Galvan on Zenergy.”
© 2019 Ernest Galvan

“Black Friday in our family involves taking our 1979 Cal 39 Grace out around the Bay,” wrote Greg vanDalen. “It was going to be the only ‘nice’ day of the weekend, so we put off decorating until some other day.”

Looking aft from the foredeck of Escapade.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Greg vanDalen

“[This photo] was taken by our niece on Pier 39, where she manages the aquarium,” said vanDalen.
© 2019 Greg vanDalen's Niece
Wait, there’s one more:

“Thanksgiving Friday on my boat Osprey,” wrote Michael Bender. “We’re all color-coordinated somehow.”
© 2019 Michael Bender
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