Olive Branch – Seeking Shared Truth

Olive Branch - Seeking Shared TruthWe contacted Larry on Jan 14, 2017 and invited him to come on board to review the findings of Bill Trenkle with us and take the theft and damage claims. We were extending an olive branch to work together to determine what was the truth.

On Jan 16, Wayne Scott authorized him to come on board and told him to  “investigate and report to underwriters on all matters listed please.”


Inspection of Areas and Items in Dispute

Larry came on board on Jan 17. He inspected, verbally confirmed and took pictures of the following and other areas:

  • Main beam – No stress cracks in the anchor lockers or in the berths where attached to the main beam. He admitted they did not get into the anchor locker during the June survey since there were lines and fenders in the lockers.
  • Forward beam – No movement of the forward beam brackets evident on the outside or inside. Larry acknowledged that the forward beam design allowed it to twist on the bracket when under load from the anchor.
  • Minor mast surround leak – was due to the salon roof flexing, not the main beam flexing.
  • Minor water leaks around the front windows was due to the curved designed of the surface, resulting in it being difficult to get a good seal. It had nothing to do with the beam flexing.
  • The remaining turnbuckles, were not stripped, in good condition and functional.

Larry wrote up the claims for the damage and theft which Al signed and told us that he would send all of this information to Wayne Scott.


We felt vindicated. Larry openly admitted that John Koon’s report, which he was involved with, was incorrect. He agreed one-by-one that each of major flaws portrayed in the report did NOT exist.

We thought this mess would soon be over. Finally, the truth would be shared.


A Legitimate Survey

Bill Trenkle conducts a legitimate surveyBill Trenkle,  is a Accredited Marine Surveyor, with the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS); a Certified Marine Investigator (CMI), with the International Association of Marine Investigators (IAMI); and holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree in marine engineering, As a Marine Surveyor, a Marine Engineer and active offshore and America’s Cup sailing crew and project manager, Bill has personally been involved in the design, construction and maintenance of dozens of masts from 1976 to the present. Bill has raced in and won the Americas’ Cup in 1987 and 1988 and competed in 6 other America’s Cup campaigns and two Around the World Race campaigns, in management and technical roles, as well as sailing crew roles.

We felt confident that a legitimate report from an individual with his qualifications would convince ProSight, LJJ and Hill Dickinson that John Koon report was incorrect in his assertions and suppositions.



Bill arrived to survey Dragonfly on January 11, 2017. Bill spent the day going over Dragonfly, testing and taking numerous pictures. He stated multiple times that Dragonfly showed no evidence of structural or rigging deficiencies which would have caused the dismasting.  Bill expressed his shock at the inaccuracies and baseless suppositions in the John Koon Report

Some of Bill’s statements in the survey are::

  • Mr. Koon’s conclusion that the mast step may have been deflecting “Yielding-failure of main beam in way of mast-compression path” causing the vessel to be compromised, causing the mast to fail was quickly observed by the undersigned be a completely unsupported statement.
  • There is no structural movement of the entire main crossbeam including where the mast step transfers load to the aft vertical shear web of the main crossbeam.
  • The vessel main crossbeam has a safety factor of 21:1. In other words, it is 21 times stronger than it needs to be to prevent failure, this is quite evident when you inspect the vessel. The size of the mast bulkhead, which is the aft shear web of the main crossbeam, is massive. The statement that this beam was deflecting and causing the mast step to deflect downward is not supported in any way from an engineering, boatbuilding, mast design, rigging or any other perspective.
  • Mr. Koon mistakenly interprets cracks in the mast surround and seating area as being related to structural movement of the main beam and mast step. These are only lightweight closeout structures that take no structural load, they are inherently flexible and tend to crack at the joints. This is what Mr. Koon saw and misinterpreted as structural movement.
  • In Mr Koon’s report he reports that the vessel was “in marginal condition in terms of general maintenance”. The majority of his observations are either cosmetic or are directly related to the loss. He has not taken to get into consideration the fact that the vessel had to motor 400 miles after already completing a significant journey. He does not take into account the damage to the vessel from the incident and mitigation efforts made by the vessel owners to get the vessel safely back to harbor, or the fact that clean up on the vessel has been halted until resolution of the claim so that no disruption of evidence can be claimed.
  • Mr. Koon questions the age of the rigging however the oldest rigging were the diamond stays which replaced in 2008. Seven and half years prior to the loss. The industry stand is 5-10 years. It should be noted that this vessel was laid up for 1⁄2 the year in Florida until 2013 and when used was not pushed hard and the actual miles are minimal.
  • Mr Koon’s comment that the operators had a lack of concern or understanding is not supported by anything in his report and in the opinion of the undersigned is a misrepresentation of the owner’s knowledge and concern regarding the rigging. Mr Wigginton is a University trained and highly experienced mechanical engineer who appears to the undersigned to have a better understanding of the engineering of the mast and structure of this vessel than Mr. Koon based on the comments in his report.
  • Rigging components, which had not been jettisoned at the time of this dismasting, were observed to be in good condition. Rigging age was well within industry replacement cycle standards based on the usage history of the vessel.


Over his career, Bill has personally experienced 13 dismastings, because his career has been in the racing industry. Based on his legitimate experience he agreed that only reason for the mast to have failed as it did was a rogue wave on the opposing side to the wind hitting the vessel. He states:

  • Disregarding all of Mr Koon’s unfounded remarks it is important to note that if the mast suffered a lower diamond failure the mast would have broken at the lower spreaders. If the upper diamond broke the mast would have broken at the upper spreaders. There is no evidence indicating that a rigging failure was the mode of failure.
  • Any dismasting caused by a rigging failure would have been completely different in nature; therefore a rigging failure can be completely dismissed as a cause of the loss.
  • It is the professional conclusion of the undersigned that the cause of loss is that the vessel suffered a large wave impact at the port bow. The momentum of the mast and force on the sails, when the boat was essentially stopped by the wave at full speed, overloaded the mast section at the lower tangs causing it to buckle and fail. This is not an unusual failure mode.

Well said!


New Insurance Claims Caused by Delays

We arrived on board on January 5, 2017. Our main objective was to meet Bill Trenkle a SAMS surveyor on January 11 so he could conduct a survey. Al also wanted to start to get ready to move Dragonfly to CA. He ordered and brought a variety of things that he knew was needed . However, he also needed to get clarity on other items.

It was a beautiful day in Hawaii in contrast to Indianapolis in January. We both felt that our bodies were recovering and the warmth and sun would clearly be good for us.

And then reality hit!



As we walked down the dock to Dragonfly, we could see significant damage to the side of the her. We had been told that there was some damage, but didn’t realize how bad it was. One or two fenders had come off and the side had been scratched and dented. Some of the surface damage could be buffed out, but the dents would take a lot more effort and expense.



After we had settled in we realized that someone had been on board. There wasn’t a noticeable disruption, but when we were going to make some soup, we realized that some silverware was gone. Then we noticed that the tool bag was gone and the list grew and grew. The list included rigging parts that Al had delivered for the new mast. It wasn’t long before we had identified over $20,000 of missing items.

Combine the Claims

We felt that the damage and theft should be covered by ProSight as part of the original claim. Their delays in processing the claim was clearly the reason we were in this situation. We suspected that they would want to make them two additional claims so they could apply the deductible to all three, significantly reducing their liability. However, we were determined to take a strong stand against that.

Our priority was the Bill Trenkle survey and now preparing a comprehensive list of the items stolen, so we decided to submit the claim after the survey.

Police Inaction

We contacted the police and National Parks Service. Both took statements, but nothing ever came of it. We learned from some people who was the thief and still the police did nothing even though we were confident that he had our items on his boat.

Our frustration and financial loss due to the expenses and new insurance claims just continues to grow and grow. Surely this would be put right.