We decided to appeal to Larry Montgomery’s ethical responsibility to communicate what he witnessed in January, 2017. Below is the letter we sent on December 31, 2017. As expected responded “Thank you for this status report. I have forwarded a copy to the Underwriter’s representatives for their review and onward distribution.”
Letter to Larry
We wanted to update you regarding the status of our dismasting claim May 1, 2016 and appeal to your NAMS ethical obligations and good sense to make this right.
Our insurance claims were denied as a result of leveraging the July 11, 2016 damage report written by John Koon with you in attendance. ProSight, the Lloyd’s underwriting syndicate, acquired the “advice” of Hill Dickinson, a large law firm in London. Even though there were “No immediate conclusions …. as to the probable cause of the dismasting” in the report Hill Dickinson cherry picked false assertions from the report and combined them with outlandish judgments by unqualified Underwriters. The result was labeling Dragonfly as unseaworthy and a breach of warranty. The breach of warranty “invalidated” the policy resulting in the denial of the dismasting claim, $15,000 damage and $20,000 theft that occurred at the Ala Wai dock while we waited for a settlement.
You stated during our conversations in May 2016, that the insurance company was there to make us “whole.” During numerous conversations you reassured us that a settlement was coming. We did not expect that you would be the one who would help them keep from doing that by withholding your findings during the inspection on January 17, 2017.
The purpose of the John Koon June 2016 survey you described to us was to “constitute an acceptable “best practice” repair, insuring a proper replacement” We were shocked to discover the real objective when reading the actual report. The report contained no mention of this objective or specific recommendations. We would never have authorized a survey with the actual intent without our presence if we had been properly informed. Misrepresenting this reeks of an ethics violation.
We understand that Dragonfly’s appearance at that time of your initial visit and during the John Koon survey could imply a lack of maintenance. However, it should have been obvious that the appearance was the result of the situation and not typical as Bill Trenkle and you observed later and many previous guests and crew attest to.
The areas in the report identified as potentially relevant to the dismasting were the rigging and “platform / main beam / compression path-post”. We have proof that all the rigging ages were within the NVIC 2-16 guidelines. A main beam load test that was performed completely eliminates the possibility of a main beam compression path-post or yielding structural deficiency.
The John Koon report dated July 11 was quite negative and full of proven false assertions. However, the word “unseaworthy” was never used. Based on the new evidence isn’t it appropriate to state that the term “unseaworthy” is obviously not applicable as Bill Trenkle stated?
Were you aware that the ProSight Syndicate 1110, who paid for your services are no longer in business? They went into run-off in June 2017. It’s time to meet your NAMS ethical obligations.
We are now beginning a Stage 2 review. The Society of Lloyd’s is reviewing the claim. We have provided a significant amount of evidence that contradict or disprove the assertions in the John Koon report, and the Underwriter assertions. You witnessed the majority of them, but have yet to report your observations. It’s time for you to do so.
Inspections which contradicts John Koon’s assertions by Bill Trenkle, Jay Butler and yourself; a dismasting analysis by Bill Trenkle and Bill Leneman and maintenance invoices demonstrate the following:
- Proof that the saddle brackets for the forward beam did not move.
- Proof that platform / main beam / compression path-post or yielding failure did not occur. This was based on
- 12-ton main beam load test with a deflection of 1/16th of inch, meeting the design specs of Kurt Hughes and providing absolute proof that a “failure of the main beam in way of mast compression” was not possible.
- Percussion testing
- Absence of cracks in any of the primary main beam seams not inspected by John Koon.
- No physical evidence of compression once the mast step was removed.
- Proof that the turnbuckles had threads left, proving tightening was possible
- Proof that the turnbuckles were turned to the position because of a rigging change, not because of mast compression.
- Proof that the gennaker turnbuckle did not strip or self-release as you suggested based on
- A picture of it still in place when Dragonfly arrived in Honokohau.
- Physical inspection by experts reporting that it was in good condition and operational.
- Proof that all remaining rigging was in good condition and operational except for damage as a result of the dismasting based on
- Evidence from British Stainless Steel Association that the wire strength is not degraded when not under stress. Dragonfly’s rigging was removed and unstressed for an average of 5-6 months each year and in a fresh water environment, when we were hauled in Florida.
- Invoice evidence that rigging was replaced 2008-2014 therefore well within the guidelines you were involved in creating for the USCG. Especially considering that 5-6 months per year it was unstressed and in a fresh water environment.
- Physical inspection by experts reporting that all were in good condition and operational.
- Proof that the diamonds suspected of causing the dismasting were removed and inspected less than 2 weeks prior to the dismasting, demonstrating an awareness and small likelihood that they were to blame for the dismasting.
- Proof that the original mast-section was well suited and designed by Kurt Hughes. It is the same as the replacement as recommended by Art Nelson.
- Proof that the “hardware/anchoring points“ / chain-plates were “suited for sustained offshore use” when able to support 120,000 lbs., which is three times the strength of the stainless wire and ten times the expected maximum load.
- Proof that the Norseman fitting identified in “disrepair” is a swageless fitting. Replacing the wire and cone is a standard practice.
- Proof that the only explanation for the dismasting considering the physical evidence, experience and eyewitness descriptions by the crew was a rogue wave violently pushing the vessel to windward buckling the mast below the boom first. John K agreed with this in the report when stating “An opposing wave impact in the conditions, described by Mr. Wigginton, would also impose an additional thrust on the mast tube, at the height of the diamond shrouds inserts/penetrations on both sides of the mast, in a lateral direction to port.”
- Proof that a failure of the diamonds was not the cause of the dismasting based on graphical analysis of physical evidence and eyewitness descriptions.
- Proof that Dragonfly is seaworthy based on expert opinions and by safely sailing her to CA in July 2017 with a temporary mast.
This has been a 20+ month financial and emotional nightmare for us, and a significant amount of time for a 77-year old man.
You have opportunity to make this right and demonstrate that your actions were without malice. Provide an email, letter or document stating that after reviewing the input provided by others and based on your own observations, John Koon’s report and assertions were incorrect. This would eliminate the basis for their denial.
We feel that you have an ethical and professional obligation to set the record straight. Reporting what you witnessed would seem like the prudent action. We expect the review to begin by January 8thth.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon and can be available anytime to discuss this.
Alan & Jill Wigginton