A Chester hotelier is devastated after losing his £500,000 luxury yacht in a fire in Gibraltar.
Gordon Vickers, owner of The Mill Hotel, lives at Vicars Cross, Chester, but loves the British colony where he used to rent an apartment and had spent a lot of time on board the four-cabin, 65ft-long Scarlett Grace, which he used as a home and office.
Gordon and guests were dining on shore when the fire broke out in Queensway Quay late on the evening of July 1, having just returned from taking part in the annual Gibraltar-Morocco Yacht Rally.
Firefighters tackled the fierce blaze using a water cannon and prevented the fire spreading to other vessels but she eventually sank.
Gordon, who lost his son Gary in a plane crash at Hawarden last November and his partner Jacquie Williams in 2006, said of his latest set-back: “As they say in showbusiness, the show must go on. I’m a positive person. If anything happens, put your feet on the ground and don’t panic.
“It was quite a shock to arrive by car, smell smoke and then I heard Scarlett Grace was on fire. I still haven’t come to terms with what happened,” added Gordon, who said everything was insured but he had lost his ‘pride and joy’ along with laptops, cameras, personal items and also his diary with all his appointments.
“If I’m due to meet anybody then please let me know in advance!” joked Gordon, who had ‘a super time’ on the holiday with his friend Cynthia Hughes, son Kevan Vickers and grandchildren Lydia, 15, and 17-year-old Dominic.
That night the group, who won the fancy dress contest on the rally with a Casino Royale theme, stayed in a hotel but struggled to make a reservation because their passports sank with the vessel. Temporary passports were issued for flying back to the UK.
Gordon, a friend of Lord Prescott, said the cause of the blaze remained a mystery as nobody smoked and there was no gas on board but both 12 and 240 volt electricity supplies.
The vessel has now been lifted out of the water and taken to a scrap yard.
“She was one of the nicest yachts in Queensway Marina, a beautiful vessel,” said the hotelier, who intends to replace the boat which he had owned since 2009.