Dead Thread - Dead Donzi
I was researching Mr. Chaos when I came across this thread. Mr. Chaos sank in 70' of water off Cape May NJ after burning to the waterline. If you have the actual magazine whose cover is shown, it states this in the cover description. When that issue came out, the boat was at the bottom.
That's what I know. Why, there are many theories.
The vessel was built on spec (no buyer) by Roscioli International after he bought Donzi Yachts from Dick Genth. Car dealership magnate John Staluppi was in the market for a sport fisher at the time. He liked the Donzi 65 but preferred MTU diesels to the Detroits that were installed. Rather than waiting for a new boat to be built, he had the Detroit Diesels removed and MTU's installed. I think new gen sets too. It's much more difficult to properly install mechanicals in a finished boat than one under construction, with no deck. He wanted a new interior, painted the teak toe rail black and on and on. There were so many workers on the boat at the same time that Staluppi named it Mr. Chaos. He took it fishing once and got the magazine article in Southern Boating. By the time the issue hit the news stands the boat had a fire while running off Cape May. When the captain opened the engine room door the engine room was engulfed in flames. Apparently the halon gas put out the fire initially. The gas was then removed by being pulled through the engines. When there was no longer enough halon to kill the fire it re-ignited. The captain rode the jet ski to shore and the boat burned to the waterline before she went under. Foul play was not suspected because the owner had so much money and nobody would sink their own boat in such shallow water.
The fire suppression system on the Donzi was redesigned to include an engine cut off device, a louver that automatically shut the air intake ports on the hull sides, a delay in the release of the fire suppression gas and a second, manual only bottle. That was right around the time I got into the boat building business full time and had the experience of working on this project.