A FAMILY escaped without serious injuries as a fire broke out on their rebuilt yacht ahead of a dream summer on the water.

Louise Stevens and her husband, Jon, a boatbuilder and refitter, and their young daughter had only moved onto the M/Y Juliette two days before, as they got ready to cruise the west coast before mooring up in London for the winter.

The couple, who originally come from Weymouth and were travelling with Jon’s father and their pet dogs, described the incident as “our worst nightmare”.

“Upon smelling burning plastic on the flybridge, Jon went and quickly found two fires in the corner of the engine room,” said Louise.

The engine room filled with smoke and while Louise made a mayday call for help, Jon improvised breathing apparatus from some on-board diving gear and started to extinguish the blaze.

However, he said: “It kept re-igniting. Luckily, because of my work, I had installed a lot of fire extinguishers on board but we used nearly all of them.”

At one point the flames disappeared for five minutes before appearing again.

He eventually put out the fire and the RNLI took the family to shore.

Jon said: “Everyone is fine. Louise is still in hospital but she is recovering. It could have been a lot worse.”

He praised the RNLI and coastguard for their prompt arrival after they were rescued from the boat.

“They were on scene within 13 minutes - it was incredible,” said Jon.

The couple bought MY Juliette as a “total wreck” in a government auction more than two years ago.

“We think she belonged to someone who had all his assets removed and she was sold to pay her marine bills,” he said.

Jon used all his knowledge of boatbuilding to restore the vessel and the process sparked such interest that the refurbished yacht has her own Facebook page and Twitter account.

“It looks like a pipe came loose from the port engine,” he said.

“It fell onto the live terminal of the starter motor. That sent 24v through the water pipes. This caused the water pump wiring to set fire.”

Jon said he and Louise would stay in Poole while he repaired the yacht.