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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Tampa Bay Area
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Re: Chartering and mechanical failures -- next steps
Three of us chartered a boat for a day (from the same organization that we taking classes at). The windward shroud's anchor ubolt failed, the mast broke in half, had to cut the mainsail to get the mast secured, for the tow. We were not over powered (gunnels nowhere near the water on a close reach), going to broad reach.
So should we seek legal advice? Trust in our relationship with the school? Get 3rd party surveyor for the damage?
Any other suggestions.
From your description, I am assuming that a/the fitting that held a cap-shroud in place failed causing the mast to buckle and collapse to leeward. That is unfortunate but shoot does happen. While a charterer might be liable for certain types of damage arising from misuse or negligence, catastrophic failure of a structural element would not fall under such heading. In any rental/charter agreement there is an implicit if not explicit warranty of usability--i.e. that the equipment being rented is suitable and capable of being used in the manner for which it is intended. Evidently, in your case, the equipment was not capable of being used in its intended manner. Fortunately, both for you and the rental company, you did not indicate anyone was injured in the mishap. Never-the-less, if I were counsel for the rental company, I would be more worried about the rental/charter party going after the company than the company going after the rental/charter party although your charter agreement may have included an indemnification or "hold harmless" clause that will shield them from any action on your part. You might want to talk to an attorney but you'll need one versed in Admiralty Law and personal injury/liability actions to be certain the advice is worth the cost. Having one write a letter putting the company on notice and requesting their insurance information however, could be worthwhile if the company officials have given you any indication that they are contemplating anything other than refunding your charter fee and, perhaps, offering you a "free" charter on another, functional, boat as compensation for your inconvenience and saving their rig.
PS: The foregoing not withstanding, note that free legal advice given on the internet is often worth what one pays for it.
"It is not so much for its beauty that the sea makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from the waves, that so wonderfully renews a weary spirit."
Last edited by svHyLyte; 01-29-2013 at 04:34 PM.
Reason: Correct typo