Bill 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.