We felt that we needed to get serious and pull together credible sources and information, which would force them to see that we had a justifiable claim. We needed to do the following as quickly as possible, realizing that during the holiday time would probably slow things down.
To demonstrate a justifiable claim we needed to:
- Clearly understand the different companies involved and their roles
- Find an attorney or UK solicitor. Our policy states “in the UK and under English Law”. But needed to determine if someone was experienced in the US with cases like these. Qualifications needed to be:
- English law
- Marine knowledge
- Lloyd’s of London experience
- Find our own surveyor who would out shine John Koon and Larry Montgomery in knowledge.
- Locate an individual who could confirm the reality of rogue waves against the opposing wind.
- Provide proof that would demonstrate the strength of the beam and it’s inability to flex
- Gather maintenance history
- Acquire statements from the crew
- Find a way show to a lay person, the forces on the mast for each of the theories thereby proving the rogue wave scenario and disproving John Koon’s theories.
Over the next two months we:
- Got a loose understanding of a convoluted Lloyd’s insurance system. We bought a policy from a broker (Blue Water), who acquired a policy from LJJ Associates, who are brokers in the UK, who got ProSight 1011, a Lloyd’s of London syndicate, to underwriter the policy. ProSight’s underwriters were making the decisions.
- Hired a UK Solicitor Daniel Crockford. He specialized in marine cases and had sailing experience, so understood the situation.
- Bill Trenkle a NAMS surveyor and international marine investigator. He also worked for Dennis Connor on the America’s cup and had in-depth knowledge of catamarans. We scheduled him to come onboard Dragonfly Jan 11 to survey her and address the supposed structural problems.
- Contracted with Mike Lenneman, an oceanographer, catamaran and mast builder to explain the rogue waves and his personal experience with a similar dismasting.
- Met with Jay Butler an America’s cup rigger to inspect the remaining rigging and attest to its good and functional condition.
- Requested Kurt Hughes, the designer of Dragonfly and the mast to address the beam flexing, mast compression and tri-pod rig.
- Compiled annual expense reports demonstrating the more than adequate maintenance done annual.
- Acquired statements via questionnaires from each of the crew
- Proved that the age of the rigging fell within all guidelines specified including ones that John Koon was involved in developing for the Coast Guard.
- Acquired the Coast Guard logs and explained how a Mayday is not appropriate unless life is at risk.
- Compiled the trip log to the extent that we could from our navigation software.
- Made drawings showing the forces of the different scenarios.
- Responded to the accusations and theories made by the solicitor from Hill Dickinson
The data we developed, accumulated and organized filled a 3″ binder. Daniel Crockford, our UK solicitor it reviewed and submitted it to Hill Dickinson.