Covey Island Boatworks of Petite Rivière, Nova Scotia, was destroyed when fire swept through the company’s 8,000-square-foot facility near Lunenburg.
No lives were lost and there were no injuries, however, the 62-foot Nigel Irens schooner, Maggie B, temporarily in the shop for a refit after a circumnavigation, was lost in the blaze.
Sixty firefighters from seven departments battled the blaze which began at about 2:30 a.m. local time, on Aug. 12. Fire officials do not believe that foul play was the cause, but note that the case is still under investigation. The building was covered by insurance.
Chicago businessman, Frank Blair, the 64-year-old owner of the 62-foot Maggie B, launched in January 2006, had just returned from a circumnavigation (Lunenburg to Lunenburg via Cape Horn). “To have her die where she was built — it’s completely weirding me out,” Blair said. “This was my home for two years, so it’s like my house burned.” Covey Island has expressed its condolences to Blair.
Covey Island General Manager Al Hutchinson said that the loss of the yard was a blow to the community. “It’s a tragic loss of a boat and many non-replaceable artifacts.” He said the company would continue on. Discussions have been underway for more than a year regarding expansion and a move to property on the Lunenburg waterfront.
Covey Island Boatworks has a workforce of 15 to 30. John Steele is director and president of the company.