Re: Chartering and mechanical failures -- next steps
I'm thinking along the lines of Steve too.
They owe you an apology and a refund for the day.
Liability goes to fault - that deductible is applicable if you ram somebody or otherwise cause damage based on your actions, not equipment failure.
Any damage you caused by cutting away rigging/sails to maintain or achieve a safe environment is subsequent to the equipment failure.
Pay nothing, and do not own up to any liability (or even say you are sorry). Wait them out.
If they do come back at you for compensation be sure to tell us SN folks who they are, keep it factual and no one can object.
The best consumer is an informed one.
Lessons learned are opportunities earned.