On March 2, 2017 we received an email from Hill Dickinson via our solicitor, Daniel Crockford, officially denying our claim. If they had reasonable points, accurate facts and qualified opinions we might be able to consider that we can’t argue against the claim denied. But they continually demonstrate that they are unjustifiably grasping at anything they can, backing it by ignorance when they state:
- Witness accounts were only “hearsay”, even though they had asked for them and ridiculed us for not providing them. We clearly fell into that trap.
- Al’s didn’t describe it as they would have expected. They expected him to use the same words every time he described it even to different audiences for different purposes.
- Kurt Hughes couldn’t speak to the beam deflection as he had not surveyed the boat even though he had designed it, was familiar with the construction and had been told of the condition by a qualified surveyor.
- Mike Leneman couldn’t unequivocally state that the mast would have broken differently if John Koon’s theory that the jumper stays had broken. Hill Dickinson didn’t acknowledge the fact that Mike had actually experienced this failure. Some how the unknowledgeable underwriters were more qualified to make that determination.
- They have pictures of cracks in the structure, which must be pictures of things that knowledgeable eyes can misinterpret.
- Regarding maintenance, they expected “yard” reports or invoices of work done by others. We made it clear that Al built the boat and reported that all maintenance work was done by him. This is very common in the blue water cruising community. This community does not have AAA to call. They have to be independent and are highly aware of the importance of maintenance. A knowledgable person should know this.
- The loss of the propeller is clear evidence of poor maintenance. Like a water pump failing on a car is evidence of poor maintenance?
- Not calling the Coast Guard immediately was cavalier which means that Al didn’t maintain his vessel. They clearly don’t understand that this was standard practice even outlined by the USCG.
- They assert that Al claims there was an opposing swell. A swell and a wave are significantly different things. Causing us to question the knowledge of the author.
- They assert that no one saw the wave. It was 3:30 in the morning. If a tree falls and no one sees it does that mean it didn’t fall?
- They decide that on the balance of probabilities there was no opposing wave or extraordinary occurrences therefore there was no peril of the sea. However, they do not provide the facts to support their balance of probabilities.
- They decide that the underwriters can evaluate the condition of the rigging via a picture rather than highly qualified individuals in the marine business, including their own agent. They misinterpreted anti-seize grease for corrosion. Do they even know what anti-seize is?
- The underwriter states that a Norseman fitting cannot be re-used. The underwriter clearly has no knowledge of what it is. The picture shows cut wire that is held in place by a cone which is inserted inside to hold it in place. The wire and cone can be replaced within the fitting. This is common practice. The concept is the same as a flashlight that doesn’t work, however all that needs to be replaced are the batteries.
- Last but not least. Demonstration of ignorance of sailing and basic engineering rules is shown by stating “the decelerating effect of the yacht losing the wind in its sail so suddenly would seem very like being hit by a opposing wave” That’s like saying when you take your foot off the accelerator, it feels like you hit the brakes.
They reject that the theft and damage claims should be included in this claim and they have not been instructed to address them.
They deny the claim due to a breach of implied warranty of seaworthiness. Absolutely unsupportable!