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Old 09-03-2014
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Who should pay?

Last long distance race of the summer was this weekend. Chicago to St. Joe. Always turns out to be one of the best. The racing was great, but unfortunately not everything went as smoothly.

100+ boats have to tie up in the St. Joe River so we were the 4th boat on a raft. The river is quite busy in the morning with fishing charters heading out. Early in the morning a fishing charter passed by way too fast and way too close, IMO, and gave our raft a real nice wake. The rocking of the boat caused us to roll just enough to get the aluminum post that stores one jaw of our spin pole underneath the toe rail of the boat next to us. When we rolled back the other way this post put a nice quarter size hole below his toe rail straight through the core. We had been tied up for hours at that point and both myself and the other skipper were present as we tied our boats together. I offered him some epoxy and he made a quick repair right there. We all had to race back to Chicago the next day, and while it wasn't a perfect repair it was certain to hold up long enough to get home. Now that I'm back he's sent me an email and said he wants to get an estimate from his yard to fix it and send me the bill - or charge me materials if he does it himself. I have mostly made up my mind about how I plan to handle it, but I was curious as to what other folks opinions were. If you were in this situation; where fault seems to lie with a third party we have no hope of tracking down, or at worst equally between us skippers for not tying a better raft, what would you do?
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Old 09-03-2014
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Re: Who should pay?

The cause was the wake (and rafting, but you both agreed and participated in that--if he wanted different fenders etc, he could have made changes--he could have anchored out).

Who hit who? You hit each other.

In my mind this is a case of each person fixes his own damage, since the fault lies with a 3rd party and because you no more hit him than he hit you (that the damage was different seems irrelavant). I would politly state that this is a no-fault situation. Scars from rafting are an known risk and most sailors will not raft.

But this was free advice.
(when asked how he reached the starting holds on a difficult rock climbing problem that clearly favored taller climbers - he was perhaps 5'5")

"Well, I just climb up to them."

by Joe Brown, English rock climber

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Old 09-03-2014
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Re: Who should pay?

I'd speak with your insurance company about fault, they're the experts who resolve stuff like this for a living. If they say you have any fault, then I'd go with that advice. If you do you may want to cover you part out of pocket rather than have a loss... depends on the $$$
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Old 09-03-2014
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Re: Who should pay?

I concur, neither of you was negligant. Each insurance pays out... that's why you have it.
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Old 09-03-2014
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Re: Who should pay?

I agree that the wake by an unknown party caused the final result for both f you. However, two of you secured your boats, and I bet that from now on you will both do a much better job of anticipating the worst...which you clearly did not do in this case. That river is notorious for this type of thing happening. Lucky your spreaders were not in line.
It does not sound like a big bill, especially if he does his own work. Offer to split with him and hope that karma pays it forward for you. If not.....let the insurance company tell you what they think. You pay both ways!
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Old 09-03-2014
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Re: Who should pay?

First off, stay as far away from your insurance company as you can, unless you want your rates to rise! Only if there is significant damage, which there doesn't seem to be, would I involve them.
I agree wholeheartedly with pdqaltair on this one. You each fix your own boat. It's not like there was anything you could have done that would have changed the outcome, once you had made the decision to raft up. Perhaps, that is the lesson here; rafting up may be fun, but it is not prudent seamanship. You are just lucky your rigs didn't become entangled, which is where I thought this thread was headed!
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Old 09-03-2014
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Re: Who should pay?

The boat that created the wake is at fault regardless of rafting.
That being said if you didn't report the incident to the coast guard you are SOL.
Have a friend who's boat suffered substantial damage in a raft from a wake from a ferry. He didn't report it and when he tried to file a claim they said "sorry".
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Last edited by jimrafford; 09-03-2014 at 08:52 PM.
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Old 09-03-2014
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Re: Who should pay?

You need bigger fenders, you need to hang them higher, and you need more of them. if you're gonna raft up, both you and the boat you raft to accept responsibility , and have to take responsibility for rafting your boats with enough stand-off to withstand a wake. Hypothetically, if the wind had picked up enough during the night to cause some serious chop it would have caused the same damage- in this case the chop was just manufactured. split the cost in half with him, or let insurance handle it.
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Old 09-04-2014
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Re: Who should pay?

Wow, I didn't anticipate the other guy saying it's your fault. Uh uh, no way. If he had warned you about the pole, and you refused to move it, that would be another matter.
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Old 09-04-2014
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Re: Who should pay?

Everyone participating in a sporting, or frankly, other social activity assumes the inherent risks of that activity. In sailing, rafting, in particular, can be quit hazardous if, for example (and as happened) the "raft" of boats is struck by wake, wave or rough scend in an anchorage. In short, everyone "assumes" responsibility for their own injury.

To quote from the Law Journal, other
"...examples of such risks in particular [in] sporting activities include getting hit by a baseball during a baseball game, getting tackled in a football or soccer game, getting hit by a golf ball in the fairway by a golfer teeing off, or getting hit by a snowboarder who was not looking where he was going.

Co-participants in the sporting activity, including players, coaches and facility owners or operators, owe you no duty to protect you from the "inherent" risks in the sport, even if they were negligent. The courts have expressed the concern that liability for ordinary careless conduct (i.e., negligence) would have a chilling effect on vigorous participation in the sport and would discourage participation in the sport.

The law calls this concept primary implied assumption of risk (PIAR) and it is a bar to suing another for negligence when the risk of injury that caused the injury was inherent in the sport. PIAR applies to contact sports as well as to individual non-contact sports."
In view of the foregoing....
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