That sinking feeling leaves sailors with & 250,000 bill | UK news | The Guardian

19 мая 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »
Fairline 40

That sinking feeling leaves sailors with 250,000 bill

It was an opportunity no self-respecting sea dog could turn down: the chance to take a brand new £320,000 yacht for a spin and get paid for the privilege.

Sadly, things did not go quite to plan when Bob Elliott and Mike Bailey agreed to deliver the state-of-the-art motor cruiser from Sussex to Dorset for £100. In fact, things went so wrong that the yacht ended up at the bottom of the Solent and the two sailors ended up in the high court, where they were yesterday ordered to pay almost £250,000 for a replacement.

The saga began on October 19 2003, when Mr Elliott, an experienced skipper, was hired by Offshore Nautical CI to take the Fairline Phantom 40 from Chichester to Weymouth.

He then sub-contracted Mr Bailey, an emergency lifeboat cox, to help him deliver the boat for half the £100 fee.

The pair set off in the dark that evening and travelled into the rough Needles channel at a high speed of about 18 knots (21mph). With Mr Bailey at the helm, the boat then struck a substantial grade-two navigation buoy which marked the port side of the channel for inbound vessels.

It suffered a huge fracture along its hull and listed badly on its starboard side as it took on hundreds of gallons of water.

A lifeboat which came to the rescue was trying to tow it to shore when the yacht sank and had to be dragged the rest of the way.

The Phantom, worth £320,000, was declared a constructive total loss. Although investigations revealed that the boat’s on-board navigation equipment had malfunctioned in the rough seas, the insurers claimed the collision had been caused by negligence and refused to replace it.

Offshore then sued the sailors to recover the cost.

Fairline Phantom 40

At the high court on Monday, Mr Justice Morison described the incident as a disastrous adventure and agreed that the pair had been negligent.

Ordering Mr Bailey to pay 85% of the boat’s trade price, he said the father-of-four had failed to understand his own responsibilities.

But he said Mr Bailey should not bear all of the blame and ordered Mr Elliott to pay the remaining 15%. Both men will also have to pay Offshore’s legal costs.

A spokesman for Offshore said the the company was pleased with the outcome of the case.

Mr Bailey said that although he did not feel the accident was his fault, it was a costly mistake and I’ll have to pay for it financially for the rest of my life.

He added: I was simply helping Bob out as a favour, but look where it’s got me.

Fairline Phantom 40
Fairline Phantom 40
Fairline Phantom 40
Fairline Phantom 40
Fairline Phantom 40

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