Informing the case handler

We hadn’t let Annmarie know that we were speaking with John Koon, because we weren’t sure if there would be anything of value to share…. until now. We compiled an email highlighting the points and forwarded it on to her the day after we received the email from John.

Friday, Feb 9, 2018 we called her to make sure that she had received the email. She said she had and had forwarded it on the two underwriters involved. She said that one had already agreed to a third expert opinion, but the other had not. We suggested that another opinion was not necessary and she agreed. She said she would suggest that, but didn’t know what their response would be.

When asked who the two people were, she said that one was an underwriter in the complaints department. He seemed to be easy to work with. The other was a claims manager and things hadn’t gone so well with him. She had to get them both to agree on any action.

We also clarified that the information was going to Coverys the company that took over the handling of the ProSight Syndicate 1110 business and not ProSight in the US.

John Koon Acquiesces to Bill Trenkle’s Reports.

John responded quickly to our request for him to reconsider his report based on new evidence. He appeared to be genuinely willing to re-evaluate. Al was anxious to send him the files. Jill still didn’t trust him. His reports were too flawed and abusive for us to suddenly think he was a good guy. We had been advised by two attorney’s it wasn’t a good idea to “show him your hand”

However the more we discussed it, we determined that we didn’t really have anything to lose. If ProSight had wanted his opinion, they could have provided all the info to him. If he came back with negative input we didn’t have to share it. If he shared a negative opinion with ProSight, we’d proceed with a third “experts” review.

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So we compiled the reports from Bill Trenkle, the Load Test, and maintenance information (money spent and specific rigging purchases) and a picture of Al on the mast 10 days prior to the dismasting inspecting the diamond rigging.

We followed up with him a few times. His politely responded that there was a lot to consider and would talk with us soon. We didn’t think he was aware that the boat was left in the condition he saw in was because of Jill’s recent breast cancer diagnosis, which took them quickly away from the boat. He acknowledged and “empathized” the information.

We scheduled a couple phone calls, but he put us off. However, on Feb 7, he sent us the following email.

Hello Al,  Bill Trenkle is cced. 

I have reviewed the reports you sent in detail. 
You will note that I have attached my response to your rebuttal points on the original survey. I wonder if this was shared with Bill Trenkle in addition to the survey? This, in many ways, is more important reading than the original survey report. 
Reason being; No where in my report or response to rebuttal have I mentioned “un-seaworthy” 
 
It should also be noted that every theory I proposed was presented as just that, (theory). 
Also note, I was careful not to draw any specific conclusions as to the cause of your dismasting. I relied on terms as such, indications are, possibilities, probability, likely-hood, etc.
Nowhere in the report do I propose that I disagree with your description of the physical cause of the dismasting. Nowhere in the report do I state “actual cause” of the dismasting. I was careful to list, with explanations, the number of anomalies noted at the time Larry and I surveyed the vessel in Kona. Any of which could have contributed to the cause of the dismasting. Important note; it was stated in one of the documents that “Larry indicated that I did not access the anchor lockers” (incorrect) I crawled through the entire vessel. 
My impressions at the time of the survey were partially based on the apparent general condition of the vessel and the odd collection of hardware found on board. 
You have made a sincere effort Al, in explaining the “condition” we found the vessel in and I empathize with the situation you were in upon arrival in Hawaii. 
My quote in the survey, that “it was like conducting an autopsy with the body at the bottom of the ocean 900 miles away” was meant to clarify the reality of the impossibility of inconclusively determining the actual cause of the dismasting. 
It is noted on page 2 of Mr. Trenkle’s excellent report that “John Koon badly mischaracterized the condition of the vessel” In fairness, he attended the vessel 8 months after the dismasting ?!
In summary; 
I adhere to the “observations and presumptions” made at the time of my survey. And repeat, in no case was the term unseaworthy used in my report or the document attached to this email. 
I did carefully limit stating any opinion of the actual cause of the dismasting to listing the anomalies noted at the time of the survey and noted how anyone of them “may have” contributed to the actual cause! 
My observations of general condition were not “baseless” and were shared by Larry Montgomery and Gary Hoover (Kona based professional rigger) at the time of the survey. 
In defense of the insured, I will say that (providing the “Main Beam Load Test” in December of 2017 was accurately conducted and documented as stated in the un-authored report), I would be compelled to state that my “observations and theorized potential” of the main beam failing the rig could rightfully be proven incorrect. We could not conduct any such testing (which I am very familiar with) in May of 2016 in Kona. 
Other potential causes of dismasting proposed in my report can be empirically proven or dis-proven either way! 
Unfortunately, I do feel that a number of my observations and comments were taken out of context and in some cases I was misquoted in the defense of the insured’s case. More disheartening are some of the comments made challenging my integrity and professional experience in this realm. I don’t take this personally (part of the game I suppose) but feel it is fair to note in this context. 
respectfully “

 

We couldn’t believe it! John Koon was acquiescing to Bill Trenkle. He emphasized that he did not identify Dragonfly as unseaworthy, everything in his report were just theories and he did not disagree with Al’s description of the cause of the dismasting.

It was clearly obvious that a third party to “resolve the differences between the two experts” was not needed. They had no differences.

How could the claim be denied if both experts agree with Al’s description of the fortuitous event and that the vessel was seaworthy?

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John Koon – Appeal to Ethical & Professional Responsibility

John Koon’s reports and input were critical to ProSight’s denial. Every professional involved after his report, identified numerous errors and inaccurate assertions. After significant debate and counsel from others, we decided to offer John an opportunity to make it right and sent him the email similar to the one sent to Larry Montgomery on Dec 31, 2017.

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Response

January 6, John Koon responded

“I am open to reevaluating original findings. Please send me the reports from Bill & Jay to confirm details of alternative conclusions. I have great respect for both of them! 
That said, I would have arrived at my same initial conclusions based on the general condition of the vessel under any circumstance of request to conduct survey, by you, or Larry Montgomery. 
Again, send more information & I will remain open to reevaluation.

Next Steps

We provided him the information on January 18, 2018. John responded on January 26th “have started looking it over & giving it much thought.” We thanked him for his consideration. Now we wait again….

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Facts Outweigh Opinions

Main Beam Load Test

Macintosh HD:Users:jill 1:Desktop:Blog Pictures:Bowview2.jpg
The purpose of the test was to demonstrate that the hull platform was sound and could support the loads it was designed for. The demonstration of this would eliminate any question of the hull platform’s integrity and hence seaworthiness.

John Koon’s report stated that Dragonfly was a “marginally maintained hull platform.” He questioned the integrity of the hull platform when stating “the mast could have been over-active, moving excessively out of column, as a result of the platform/main beam yielding to compression.” States that “the condition of the platform /main beam / compression path-post could have caused the failure as described by Mr. Wigginton.” These outrageous assertions with no foundational evidence explicitly imply that the vessel was unseaworthy. However, to a individual unfamiliar with construction or structural loading of a catamaran and looking for a reason to deny the claim, Mr. Koon’s observations was easily accepted.

John Koon asserted that the beam yielded to compression even though there was zero evidence of any stress cracks along the beam. Bill Trenkle a SAMS surveyor and Larry Montgomery, the Lloyd’s agent and NAMS surveyor, attested to this fact. In fact, Bill Trenkle noted that the cracks John Koon identified were in non-structural areas. Larry Montgomery also revealed that John Koon did not go into the anchor lockers or other appropriate areas to actually inspect the main beam for cracks.

Fortunately we don’t have to rely on opinions when we can test that the structure is in fact sound. We knew we could conclusively prove John Koon’s beam yielding assertion incorrect by testing the deflection. Tightening the rigging places a measurable load on the beam. The deflection (the degree to which a structural element flexes) as a result of the compression is measured. This would demonstrate whether the deflections met the specifications of the vessel designer, Kurt Hughes

However, without a mast, it was difficult and quite expensive to accurately simulate the load on the beam. However, once we installed a temporary mast used to return to California, it was now possible to conduct a repeatable and industry standard load test.

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We loaded the beam with over 22000 lbs. by tightening the wires that hold the mast in place and determined that the deflection was less than 1/16” (0.066”), which was the deflection that Kurt Hughes had specified in his 1/29/17 report (Kurt Hughes – Beam Strength.pdf).

This conclusively proves that the integrity of the beam today is exactly the same as it was when launched in 1998 and could not be a cause of the dismasting.

John Koon, the damage surveyor for ProSight made several misleading and false statements in his report. These statements were proven false in other portions of our complaint. This test provides one more piece of evidence that puts into serious question the credibility of any opinions presented in John Koon’s report. The shear number of proven false assertions or assertions with no real supporting evidence, should completely discredit the report or anything offered by John Koon.

The remaining information of this document explain the specific details of the load test and pictorially demonstrate the process and results. The load test is a repeatable industry standard test. If requested we will conduct this test in the presence of a ProSight or Lloyds representative.

Concepts behind the testing

Mr. Wigginton graduated as a mechanical engineer from Imperial College London. Mr. Wigginton worked as an engineer in equipment design for heavy equipment and processing. This experience provided him the basis to analyze the structural forces at play on an ocean going vessel.

Kurt Hughes reviewed and validated the load testing technique. Kurt is the designer of many sailing vessels and masts including Dragonfly.

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Dragonfly’s rigging is called a “tripod”. It consists of two shrouds, (port and starboard) and a “headstay”. This picture shows the starboard shroud (the line from the mast to just above the 6) and the headstay (the line from the mast forward).

Our headstay is a roller furler with the headsail on it. It attaches to the cross beam on the front of the boat. The shrouds attach to the oversized chain plates. These three wires put a downward load on the beam thru the mast to hold it in place on the mast step.

This also shows where the mast is located on the boat.

This schema from Kurt Hughes shows that the mast sits directly on the main beam. We have drawn a line between the A and R to represent where the main beam is. The main beam goes from one side to the other and is approximately 5” thick.

Macintosh HD:Users:jill 1:Desktop:Blog Pictures:9 - port turnbuckle after load.jpg The shrouds and headstay are held in place and tightened by turnbuckles (left).

Turnbuckle inner workingsA turnbuckle consists of two threaded eyebolts, one screwed into each end of a small metal frame, one with a left-hand thread and the other with a right-hand thread. The picture to the right shows the inner workings.

The tension can be adjusted by rotating the frame, which causes both eye bolts to be screwed in or out simultaneously

To determine the amount of load put on the beam by tightening the shrouds the “The Folding Rule Method” is used.  Per the specifications, a 2-meter portion of stainless steel 316L wire will stretch 1mm for each 5% of its strength. This is true regardless of the wire diameter. Therefore, it is possible to determine the load based on the stretch of the wire with a 2-meter pole attached to the wire.

Per the specifications the strength of the 9/16″ 316L stainless shroud wire is 37,000 lbs. The goal is to put over 20,000 lbs. of load on the mast to see the deflection of the beam. We will need to stretch the wire 4mm to achieve the load we desire. The reason for that load will be clearer later in the results.

Location of the mast surround in the salon We also need to be able to measure the deflection in the beam. The mast surround sits directly on the beam behind the mast and is available to us inside the salon. We can use a horizontal laser level beam to measure the deflection as we change the loads on it by tightening the shrouds.

In a nutshell we will use 2-meter PVC poles attached to the shrouds, tighten the wires with the turnbuckle, measure the stretch in the wire with a caliper to demonstrate the load. We will then utilize engineering and geometric equations to determine the approximate loads. Using a laser level beam recorded before and after the load is applied will identify the deflection.

The test process

  • Loosen the starboard and port shrouds at the turnbuckles to reduce the current load.
  • Horizontal lines are drawn 1/16th –inch apart on a piece of paper.
  • Tape the paper on the mast surround at the beam.
  • Focus the laser beam directly across from the paper.
  • Align the laser beam with the bottom line on the paper.
  • Clamp a 2-meter piece of PVC pole to both shrouds (316L stainless wire) so the bottom is at the top of the turnbuckle fitting.
  • Turn the turnbuckles to tighten the shrouds.
  • As the wire stretches the two-meter PVC pole moves up as the stainless stretches. The movement is measurable based on the distance between the bottom of the PVC pole and the top of the turnbuckle.
  • Continue to turn until there is a 4mm change by using a digital caliper (a very precise measuring tool) is used.
  • Record the change in the laser beam.

Calculating the Load

Using the folding rule test, the shrouds can be tensioned to 20% of yield strength by extending 4mm on the 2-meter length. Therefore 4mm is equivalent to 7400lbs of tension for each shroud

To calculate the total load on the main beam by the mast, the two shrouds and the headstay loads need to calculated and added together.

The downward force on the mast is calculated as follows.

Shroud Loads

Force vector mathmaticsLength of ST = 68.5
Length of SHF = 18
Length of SPF = 11
Length of SFx = 65

ST = (37,000 *.20) = 7,400
SFx = 7,400 * (65/68.5) * 2 (shrouds)
Sfx = 14044

SHF = 14044 * (18/68.5) = 3689
SPF = 3689 * (11/18)
SPF = 2254 lbs.

Equilibrium

There are three wires (2 shrouds and headstay) pulling the mast to hold it in place. The forces of these three wires must be balanced. Therefore, the pulling forces from the mast to the shrouds and the mast to the headstay have to be equal.

Headstay load

We don’t know what the tension of the headstay is, but we can calculate it because we have the pulling force of the shrouds. So we can use simple geometric equations to determine the tension and thus the vertical force of the headstay.

HPF = SPF = 2254
Length HT = 70
Length HFx = 65
Length HPF = 18

HT = 2254 / (18/70)
HT = 8767

HFx = 8767 * (65/70)
HFx = 8140

Total Load on Beam by Mast

The total load would be to total of the force of the shrouds (Sfx) plus headstay force (Hfx)

14043 + 8140 = 22,183 lbs.

Conducting the Test

Macintosh HD:Users:jill 1:Desktop:Blog Pictures:5 - Starboard - pvc pole (1).jpg Macintosh HD:Users:jill 1:Desktop:Blog Pictures:1 - pvc pole starboard - before.jpg

Starboard                    Port

Attached a 2-meter PVC pole to the starboard and port shroud wires.

Al shows that the pole is 2 meters with the tape measure. Al is 6’3.

Note that he is measuring from the clamp that holds the PVC pole to the shroud wire.

Below is the measurement at the turnbuckle fitting

Macintosh HD:Users:jill 1:Desktop:Blog Pictures:6 - port pvc pole before load.jpg

Starboard                     Port

The PVC pole sits at the top of the turnbuckle fitting before the turnbuckles have been tightened.

Starboard                     Port

The starboard and port turnbuckles before they are tightened.

Note the number of threads visible.

Macintosh HD:Users:jill 1:Desktop:Blog Pictures:11 - Sheet on Mast Surround before load (2).jpg The paper is taped to the mast surround so the laser beam is at the main beam.

This is the laser beam prior to the tightening of the turnbuckles.

The laser beam is parallel to the top of the main beam

Macintosh HD:Users:jill 1:Desktop:Blog Pictures:Before the load - close up.jpg

Note that the bottom of the laser beam is on the bottom line.

Macintosh HD:Users:jill 1:Desktop:Blog Pictures:8 - starboard turnbuckle after load.jpg Macintosh HD:Users:jill 1:Desktop:Blog Pictures:9 - port turnbuckle after load.jpg The turnbuckles are tightened.

Note the change in the threads visible from the earlier pictures.

Macintosh HD:Users:jill 1:Desktop:Blog Pictures:15 - caliper starboard after load (2).jpg Macintosh HD:Users:jill 1:Desktop:Blog Pictures:14 - Caliper port shroud (2).jpg

Starboard                      Port

The digital caliper is used to show the distance between the bottom of the PVC pole and the top of the fitting on both sides

Starboard shows 4.10mm

Port shows 4.11mm

Per the load calculations this causes each wire to put an approximate of 7400 lbs. on main beam via the mast.

Macintosh HD:Users:jill 1:Desktop:Blog Pictures:13 - Deflection After Load (1).jpg

The laser beam after the tightening.

Note the bottom line has moved down below the laser beam less than 1/16”. This is consistent with Kurt Hughe’s original design specifications.

Conclusion

This load test utilized industry standard techniques and standard engineering equations to demonstrate thru pictures that John Koon’s assertion that the beam yielding to compression was ludicrous. Kurt Hughes, the vessel designer, states that under full main sail the load on the beam would be on the order of 25,000 lbs. and yield 1/16”.

This demonstrates that the deflection is consistent with Kurt Hugh’s design and would yield only a small fraction of an inch. In fact Kurt Hughe’s designed the main beam to handle 21 times the anticipated full load. Therefore, even a higher load would be only a fraction more. This amount of main beam yield compression could not possibly lead to the mast buckling as suggested by John Koon. This proves his assertion false and should put in question ALL other baseless assertions by him.

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Marine Surveyor Ethics Violations

Lloyds of London syndicates or any insurance company require information that they can point to when denying an insurance claim. Our claim denial was based on false statements and suppositions in a report written by John Koon and witnessed by Larry Montgomery. We also believe that Larry Montgomery withheld exculpatory evidence. It is our belief that they are both guilty of marine surveyor ethics violations defined by the organizations (ACMS & NAMS) they belong to.

We decided to pursue professional consequences against both of them. Hopefully, they will be held accountable for their actions which has caused us to experience this unjustified nightmare .

John Koon’s Ethics Violations

We have multiple credibility issues with John Koon. He is the surveyor who wrote the “damage” survey filled with false statements and unsupported assertions. He lists the following memberships on his bio/CV

However, his name is not on the SAMS website. Per an individual at SAMS he has never been a member of SAMS. This is a significant mis-representation of credentials. We identified this (and other) credibility issues to ProSight and Hill Dickinson. They apparently ignored them because they continued to accept the findings in his report.

Below is the Code of Ethics for members of CMS, which John is a member of.

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Marine Surveyor Ethics Violations - ACMS Code of Ethics

We believe that the phrase “honest appraisal” exposes him to a marine surveyor ethics violation due to the numerous factually incorrect things stated in the report he created.  Therefore, we filed a violation complaint on the ACMS website on John Koon.

We contacted the ACMS after the filing. They received the complaint, but their expulsion procedures are not based on the significance of the violation. They follow the “three strike rule” and  would not disclose the number of violation complaints he has so far.



NAMS emblem which should represent a high ethical standardLarry Montgomery – Ethics Violations

Larry was the Lloyd’s agent assigned to our claims. He is also a NAMS (National Association for Marine Surveyors) surveyor

The NAMS Code of Ethics is broader than the ACMS. They have a grievance procedure. The procedure involves a board who reviews the complaint and makes a decision based upon the facts and evidence presented.

Marine Surveyor Ethics Violations - NAMS Code of Ethics

Examples of Larry’s Ethics Violations

We believe that Larry has violated the code on numerous counts. Here are some examples.

  • We believe he was not truthful when he told us that the purpose of the survey by John Koon was to “determine a best practice repair“.  The report that we received later stated the purpose was to determine the cause of the dismasting.  We were not in attendance during the survey, as a result of Larry’s mis-representation. A flagrantly erroneous survey resulted which was the basis for the claim denial.
  • We believe Larry was not truthful and objective when he allowed the factually incorrect survey report be turned in. There were basic things within the report that any surveyor should have recognized as an error. Especially one who was on site when the survey was done.
  • We believe Larry was not being truthful and objective when stating to us that he concurred with our surveyor’s findings and would report his findings. These findings were in direct contradiction to the John Koon report. To the best of our knowledge did not report his revelations and admissions to ProSight, LJJ Associates or Blue Water Insurance. Larry withheld exculpatory evidence
  • We believe he was not being truthful and objective from the beginning when he repeatedly told us that we would be made whole again by the insurance company. He should have known he did not have that authority to state the things he did. HIs statements caused us to have mis-placed trust.
  • We believe Larry took a position contrary to his own knowledge or opinion for a direct gain. By providing reports that they used to deny our claim and withholding evidence, he promoted his likelihood of getting future business with ProSight, LJJ Associates and Blue Water Insurance.

As a result we filed a complaint with NAMS and are waiting to hear from them.

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Complaint Response from ProSight

On May 24, 2017 we received an acknowledgement of our complaint from Satvinder K Ajimal (Satty) a Conduct & Compliance Manager for ProSight Specialty Managing Agency – Syndicate 1110. Satty apologized that we felt the need to file a complaint. She assured us that it would be dealt with promptly and we would receiving a response soon.

Follow-up regarding response

July 14 was eight weeks from the date we submitted our complaint to ProSight and our understanding of their deadline. We did not want to irritate them by following up sooner than we should expect a response. On July 11, we sent a follow-up email to Satty to see if they would have a response to us by the deadline. We received the following from Satty on July 12th.

“ProSight provided a response to your complaint on 6th June 2017., which was sent by post addressed to Mr A Wigginton c/o Crew’s Mess Limited.  I have attached a copy of the complaint response, as it would appear that this was not passed on to you by Crew’s Mess.”

WHO THE HECK IS CREW”S MESS?

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Why didn’t Satty send us an email as promised!

 

Rubber Stamped Response

The letter stated the “on the basis of the reports provided by the surveyors, yacht was deemed unseaworthy at the time of the initial incident in May 2016 and that this would have equally been the case on 1 April 2016, when your insurance policy incepted. Hill Dickinson further advised that the unseaworthiness of the vessel at the inception represented a breach of warranty and the contract of insurance was consequently and properly treated void ad initio (and that the premium paid would be returned to you). Accordingly both claims have been rejected for the reason that there is no insurance policy in force against which a claim may be made.

Having reviewd this matter, I note that no new evidence or other information has been provided to counter the position set out by our lawyers. Accordingly, I do not consider there to be any grounds to change our position and can confirm that this represents our final decision on this matter.

Should you wish to pursue the matter further, you may refer the matter to the Indiana Deparment of Insurance. 

Paul Longville, Head of Compliance, ProSight Managing Specialty Managing Agency Ltd

Our complaint was clearly not reviewed

WHAT!!?? We spent thousands of dollars more and taken two months to compile and reply to every allegation, innuendo and false statement that Hill Dickenson had in their claim denial. How can the letter say there is “no new evidence or other information“? However, Satty had stated that they would review it promptly, not thoroughly or fairly.

We also thought that sending it to Crew’s Mess was a clear indicator of their lack of concern. They sent it to a company we had never heard of. Satty told us that she would respond to us.

Why are they referring us to the Indiana Department of Insurance? This is policy was written by a UK-based insurance company

Response to their response

angry typing.jpgWe responded on July 14th lambasting them for sending a letter to a company we don’t even know. It also outlined all the new evidence provided:

  • Documentation demonstrating that the rigging age was within the USCG standards
  • Statement from the location that Dragonfly was hauled and mast unstepped annually
  • Statements by the British Stainless Steel regarding the lack of fatigue on unstressed stainless as the rigging would have been due to the annual hauling.
  • Report and photographic evidence by Bill Trenkle addressing the seaworthiness of Dragonfly
  • Report from an international rigger regarding the condition of the remaining rigging
  • Financial records of the significant annual maintenance records
  • Photographic proof of John Koon’s false statement regarding the stripping of the gennaker turnbuckle
  • The statements made by Larry Montgomery (their agent) refuting John Koon’s report.
  • Email logs with the USCG
  • Passage logs for the trip as requested.

July 21, 2016 we received an acknowledgement from Satty of our July 14th email stating that she would “review your comments and respond as soon as possible.”

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More Unethical Actions by Agent

Two-Faced Unethical Actions - Larry MontgomeryJanuary 23rd we received an email from Larry providing an overview of his visit. He listed the things that he looked at, but did not include the condition of what he saw. More unethical actions from Larry Montgomery. He repeatedly stated that the items he saw were in contradiction to the John Koon report. We responded:

“We are disappointed that you did not convey that the items shown to you were in the original John Koon survey. Also that they were reported differently in the report than what you repeatedly acknowledged the actual condition to be. We expect that if there are questions about these by Mr Scott or the underwriters, you as a qualified NAMS surveyor, are prepared to convey that the issues Mr Koon reported did not have evidence of the problems he identified.”

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Addressed the unethical actions offline

After receiving no response from him regarding his lack of transparency with LJJ Associates and ProSight regarding the items he witnessed on Dragonfly, we sent him a direct email on Feb 2, 2017 The email suggested that he had an ethical responsibility as a NAMS surveyor to communicate what he saw.

He responded and said that he was providing the pictures and a copy of our email to Mr Spink and Wayne Scott. We do not know if an email was ever sent to them. Larry had always cc’d us on emails like this. However it didn’t happen this time. Therefore we are very suspicious that it was not done. If it was, we suspect that it didn’t represent what he told us. If it contained the truth, why not share it?

No justified vindication

We clearly expected Larry to be honest, join the experts and confirm that the John Koon report had a significant number of false statements in it. He apparently did not do this so his inexcusable unethical actions continue to be a roadblock.

Daniel, our solicitor submitted our response on Feb 2, 2017. So now we wait. Hoping that someone will see reason.

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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.”

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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.

Vindication!

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.

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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.

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Survey

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.

Dismasting

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!

”Less”

Go Nuclear to Prove our Justifiable Claim

Shooting missile.pngWe 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.

”More”

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.

”Less”