Fire destroys historic Yacht Club
ST JOHN’S (CMC):
A fire swept has swept through the Yacht Club in English Harbour on the southeastern coast of Antigua, destroying several businesses and leaving more than 100 people unemployed.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne in a message posted on his Facebook page said that the Yacht Club was completely “gutted” by the fire. Firefighters were hampered by the strong winds and rains associated with the passage of Topical Storm Philippe on Tuesday.
“Several businesses were destroyed resulting in at least 100 job losses. Sad! Notwithstanding, we give thanks and soldier on; while assisting the business and property owners to rebuild,” he wrote.
He said that the Yacht Club Marina was the place where the “Alfa Nero was docked”.
The 81.3-metre Alfa Nero was sold at auction on June 16 for $67,000,677, having been declared abandoned by the government of Antigua and Barbuda, but has been wrapped up in litigation ever since.
Former Google chief executive officer, Eric Schmidt, to whom the yacht had been solid, is reported to have backed out of the deal amid “legal wrangling”.
The fire at the Yacht Club also destroyed neighbouring business including Skull Duggery café, Cloggy’s, Dock Master Office, and Dockside Liquor.
The Antigua Yacht Club is described as one of the best-known Yacht Clubs in the Caribbean and hosts some of the most prestigious sailing events in the Caribbean, namely The RORC Caribbean 600, Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta and Antigua Sailing Week.
In 2015, it hosted the Optimist North American Championship for the first time and the club was again invited to host the event in 2016, and in 2019, it hosted the Optimist World Championship.