August 12 ,2016 we received a copy of John Koon’s “damage” survey, dated July 11, 2016. Larry Montgomery clearly misled us on the intent of the report. But worse than that, the report was filled with significant errors, untruths and baseless suppositions. Some of the erroneous items were:
- “Margionally maintained hull platform, machinery, electrical systems, de-watering equipment and pollution control prevention.” A loose broad statement with no evidence provided in the report. Was Dragonfly a mess? Yes, but you would expect her to be based on the dismasting and issues dealt with after.
- “Indicates that the vessel may have been compromised from failure of main beam in way of mast-compression path.” Mast compression is an issue on monohulls NOT catamarans with tri-pod rigs.
- “Vessel may have been fitted with a mast-section not well suited for vessel’s beam, inherent stability, righting moment, displacement and reported sail area” The mast was designed by a marine engineer who designed the boat. Dragonfly had been sailed over 100,000 miles for 18 years with no issues in much worse conditions. This statement made no sense.
- He states that the remaining rigging was stored with other “failed rigging equipment“. We do not store failed rigging equipment, we store partially used rigging equipment as emergency spares like all long distance cruisers do. It’s like when you get a new frying pan, don’t you keep the old one just in case?
- He identified “fractured weld seams and weeping fasteners” the weld was for aesthetic purposes and not load related. The surface of the deck bolts had some rust, but there was no evidence of them weeping inside the vessel, nor did he offer any.
- He stated “Both beam brackets show indications of racking. Possibly due to the hulls articulating vertically and independently of each other” This is absurd. How could the boat navigated the distances it had if this was true. There was also no evidence of this thru stress fractures or where the brackets connected to the beam.
- He stated that the “genaker turn buckle had stripped“. There was no evidence of this, in fact it was completely functional and still attached when they arrived in Honokohau Harbor.
Shocked & Confused
We were shocked! He made statement after statement that could be misleading to a unknowledgeable reader with no basis for questioning them. Would they have a marine savvy person reviewing the claim? Larry had also been in attendance during the “survey”. He had never given us any impression that there might be an issue. Every time we talked with him or exchanged emails, he was very encouraging. Was Larry being open and honest with us?
We realized that this would have a significant impact on our claim and we probably had a fight on our hands. But surely a knowledgeable person looking at the report with our counter arguments would realize the inaccuracies. We just needed to make our response clear. But in the back of our minds was the question… was this done on purpose, to give them a reason to deny our claim?
During Al’s flight he outlined all the false statements, significant errors and unsupportable suppositions in an email to Larry and told him that we would provide a more detailed response after he returned to Indianapolis.
Gotta Move Dragonfly from Honokohau
But we had a more time critical issue to address. Time was up and we had to move Dragonfly. Al flew to Hawaii on August 14 to find another location for her. We had called all the marinas and they told us they had no space. Ken Fairchild offered to go with Al and help him find a place to dock her. He had spent a lot of time in Hawaii and advised that you had a better chance of finding a place if you just showed up.
After stopping at multiple locations Al and Ken were able to find temporary dock space in Ala Wai Harbor in Honoloulu. Since it was temporary, a person had to go to the office every 14 days and pay for the dock for the next 14 days. Al found John Dukesherer who would do this for us. Fortunately he was familiar with the process and people involved. He was also familiar with boats and could assist us with any long distance maintenance required.
Al returned to Indianapolis August 24.
Our complete detailed response was submitted on August 31.