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Thread: Ericson 35 burned to a crisp

  1. #1
    Contributing Member II
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    Ericson 35 burned to a crisp

    San Pedro, Holiday Harbor.

    The Ericson in the slip next to mine had a fire and is a total loss. The fire dept. indicated that it originated in the battery box. A witness heard a pop and looked up and the boat was engulfed with flames coming out the windows. He immediately called 911. He stated, took a hose and squirt down the sail and cover as the flames were already there in less than one minute. He believed that if he hadn't been there when he was that other boats would likely have been damaged as well. I thanked him for what he had done, saving my Olson 34 and other adjacent boats.
    Ironically, the owner just bought the boat approximately a month or two ago. It was definitely a fixer-upper. He indicated that he was working on it and getting ready for the trip to MDR as a live a aboard.

  2. #2
    Curator of Broken Parts toddster's Avatar
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    There was a burned-up E35 in a salvage yard near here last year. Spooky...
    s/v arcturus E29 #134

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    Senior Moderator Loren Beach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toddster View Post
    There was a burned-up E35 in a salvage yard near here last year. Spooky...
    I wonder if that was the one up on stands @ the Rocky Pointe yard? Didn't look too bad from ten feet away, but then you could see that the cockpit area and engine area were burned.

    On that subject, a surveyor that I know sez that electrical fires are more dangerous to boats than sinking. She carries a box of blackened 30 amp fittings and cord ends for show-n-tell when she does presentations for boating groups.
    1988 Olson 34 #8
    Sail # 28400
    Betamarine 25 (new 2018)
    Fresh Air
    Portland, OR USA

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    Advanced Beginner bgary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Beach View Post
    electrical fires are more dangerous to boats than sinking.
    I don't have the link in front of me, but a while back BoatUS published an article listing the top causes for insurance claims. Fire was, by far, #1.
    "Makana" (ex-Thelonious)
    1985 Ericson 32-III #604
    Makana blog: here

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Beach View Post
    I wonder if that was the one up on stands @ the Rocky Pointe yard? Didn't look too bad from ten feet away, but then you could see that the cockpit area and engine area were burned.

    On that subject, a surveyor that I know sez that electrical fires are more dangerous to boats than sinking. She carries a box of blackened 30 amp fittings and cord ends for show-n-tell when she does presentations for boating groups.
    That's exactly why I replaced the stock fitting and cord with a SmartPlug set!

    But the description of the boat in today's fire sounds more like a charging fire. Wonder if the owner had a charger close enough to ignite hydrogen off-gassing?

  6. #6
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    Federal Pacific Panels

    My '70 35 has a Federal Pacific A/C breaker panel. Fire prone. Also my shore power cord is burned and needs to be replaced. On the list....
    1970 35-2 Hull 154, formerly 'Virgo'

  7. #7
    Senior Moderator Loren Beach's Avatar
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    Electircal Yikes.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Farlander View Post
    My '70 35 has a Federal Pacific A/C breaker panel. Fire prone. Also my shore power cord is burned and needs to be replaced. On the list....
    A quick search indicates that those are intended for household use, and some models were considered hazardous even for that.

    I would get that off the boat and then install a marine-rated panel like the ones from Blue Seas.
    One of the best ways to reduce risk would be to replace the shore power inlet, the AC supply cable, and the panel. Your 35 footer has about the same electrical systems as does our boat, and the distribution panel should also be similar in distribution capability. (IMHO)

    There are good choices and options for this work.
    I did this and put up some photos here. Note that I copied lots of other later-model boats and shortened the wiring from inlet to initial 2-pole breaker to under a foot.

    http://www.ericsonyachts.org/infoexc...&referrerid=28

    Note that the panel model I used may have different modern versions.
    Given the threat that a fire poses on board, this is maintenance not to defer.

    Referring back to the OP and the incident that starts this thread, I can see that the requirement to have a large-capacity breaker/fuse within X inches of each battery pos. terminal is really important.
    Last edited by Loren Beach; 05-16-2019 at 08:21 AM.
    1988 Olson 34 #8
    Sail # 28400
    Betamarine 25 (new 2018)
    Fresh Air
    Portland, OR USA

  8. #8
    Curator of Broken Parts toddster's Avatar
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    Indeed, current requirements are for the main breaker to incorporate ELCI protection.
    https://www.westmarine.com/WestAdvis...ock-Protection

    The manual for the E29 shows a household electrical box and some dodgy wiring as factory standard, but POs of my boat had ripped that out and replaced with all new after-market horrors.

    But there are a whole range of electrical problems large and small that can potentially start a fire. I think a lot of them come from ďadd-onĒ features that were not part of the original circuit design. Even though I think I know what Iím doing, the way my system has grown over only a few years makes me consider ripping it all out and starting over. The main chase is developing that ratís nest look...
    s/v arcturus E29 #134

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