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Cheeki-Rafiki: Another Shoe Falls

An article in the Guardian says that a jury has been presented evidence that the Cheeki Rafiki sailors died after company boss cut corners.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/...ers-jury-hears

According to the artuicle:
"Four British sailors died at sea after a yachting company director cut costs and failed to have their “unsafe and broken” vessel checked by safety inspectors, a jury has heard.

"Douglas Innes allegedly told the inexperienced crew to take a potentially dangerous route across the Atlantic from Antigua to the UK to save time, even though the yacht was not authorized to be more than 60 miles from shore if it was not accompanied by other vessels.

"When the yacht, Cheeki Rafiki, began taking on water the crew emailed Innes, who was in a pub in the UK, but instead of alerting the coast guard he carried on drinking and even went to another bar, it is claimed."


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Re: Cheeki-Rafiki: Another Shoe Falls

so as to all the long drawn out production boat construction threads and arguments, it came down to you can't crash stuff (ground it) and expect there to be no damage, you need to inspect it
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Re: Cheeki-Rafiki: Another Shoe Falls

Was this not a professional delivery crew? Don't they have some responsibility in this? Setting sail across an ocean on an apparently unseaworthy craft?
Ever since the Fantome incident it seems that owners have become the scapegoats for what should primarily be the crew's responsibility.
It seems to me their deep pockets make them an easy target for those seeking to assuage their grief with money.

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Re: Cheeki-Rafiki: Another Shoe Falls

Wow. Innes is definitely in deep on this one.

And, though it probably doesn't surprise anyone, I obviously agree with Don. CR has never been a good example in these debates of anything other than the factual findings above.

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Re: Cheeki-Rafiki: Another Shoe Falls

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Was this not a professional delivery crew? Don't they have some responsibility in this? Setting sail across an ocean on an apparently unseaworthy craft?
Just asking, but how was the professional crew suppose to know about the issue ahead of time? Though I do wonder why if they had communication to the owner that they didn't call the coast guard themselves.
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Re: Cheeki-Rafiki: Another Shoe Falls

There is nothing normal about the Cheeky Rafiki story. This was not your average production boat, your average delivery or average delivery crew.

The Beneteau 40.7's were serious racer-cruisers with a real emphasis on racer rather than cruisers. They were more tightly engineered than most production boats, and went through way higher quality controls than most production or even semi-custom boats.

Cheeky Rafiki had a hard life. She was raced very hard including in some very tough conditions. She had made multiple trans Atlantic passages. She had an exceptional number of groundings including several that were termed hard groundings. If I remember correctly, she had some damage noted and thought to have been repaired in a manner inconsistent with the surveyor recommendations. And given the location of the damage, in the unlikely case that the delivery crew might have seen those repairs, they would not have any way to know whether they were done properly.

And lastly what ever else you think about production boats, 40.7s were designed to be able to do offshore races and passages, but my belief is that they were never intended to routinely make the type and number of Transatlantic passages that Cheeky Rafiki had done.

Given the nature of the 40.7 and it's hard use and abuse and advancing age, in my opinion the owner should have insisted on a detailed structural survey before a passage across the Atlantic. Had that been done, there is a good chance that the delivery crew would be here today.

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Re: Cheeki-Rafiki: Another Shoe Falls

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Originally Posted by Jeff_H View Post
There is nothing normal about the Cheeky Rafiki story. This was not your average production boat, your average delivery or average delivery crew.

The Beneteau 40.7's were serious racer-cruisers with a real emphasis on racer rather than cruisers. They were more tightly engineered than most production boats, and went through way higher quality controls than most production or even semi-custom boats.

Cheeky Rafiki had a hard life. She was raced very hard including in some very tough conditions. She had made multiple trans Atlantic passages. She had an exceptional number of groundings including several that were termed hard groundings. If I remember correctly, she had some damage noted and thought to have been repaired in a manner inconsistent with the surveyor recommendations. And given the location of the damage, in the unlikely case that the delivery crew might have seen those repairs, they would not have any way to know whether they were done properly.

And lastly what ever else you think about production boats, 40.7s were designed to be able to do offshore races and passages, but my belief is that they were never intended to routinely make the type and number of Transatlantic passages that Cheeky Rafiki had done.

Given the nature of the 40.7 and it's hard use and abuse and advancing age, in my opinion the owner should have insisted on a detailed structural survey before a passage across the Atlantic. Had that been done, there is a good chance that the delivery crew would be here today.

Jeff

Good points Jeff, I agree with it but also with Capta as well. In my line of work where high hazard is part of the job we are taught 2 big things that relate to this topic.

1) You can't delegate responsibility: This means that the onsite supervisor with boots on the ground is responsible for their own, and their crews safety. Maybe the Captain did ask about the boats seaworthiness and maybe he was mislead? Maybe he didn't ask and probably should have before leaving the coast behind.

2) A supervisor is responsible for the safety of their staff, and must identify a hazard immediately upon noticing it: Just because you aren't on the scene (owner) doesn't mean you can let someone else take responsibility of an unsafe piece of equipment. If he knew it was not up to snuff or would not sail it himself he should not have let them leave in the first place. On top of that, if the above statement was true, and he received a concerning call from the crew and did not immediately report that he is again at fault.


It's unfortunate when anyone loses their life to what most likely was a preventable failure, but I think both supervisors (owner and captain) share a certain amount of responsibility here. Just my thoughts from the sidelines and only knowing a bit of the story.

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Re: Cheeki-Rafiki: Another Shoe Falls

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Originally Posted by Guyfromthenorth View Post
Good points Jeff, I agree with it but also with Capta as well. In my line of work where high hazard is part of the job we are taught 2 big things that relate to this topic.

1) You can't delegate responsibility: This means that the onsite supervisor with boots on the ground is responsible for their own, and their crews safety. Maybe the Captain did ask about the boats seaworthiness and maybe he was mislead? Maybe he didn't ask and probably should have before leaving the coast behind.

2) A supervisor is responsible for the safety of their staff, and must identify a hazard immediately upon noticing it: Just because you aren't on the scene (owner) doesn't mean you can let someone else take responsibility of an unsafe piece of equipment. If he knew it was not up to snuff or would not sail it himself he should not have let them leave in the first place. On top of that, if the above statement was true, and he received a concerning call from the crew and did not immediately report that he is again at fault.


It's unfortunate when anyone loses their life to what most likely was a preventable failure, but I think both supervisors (owner and captain) share a certain amount of responsibility here. Just my thoughts from the sidelines and only knowing a bit of the story.
Your boots on the ground theory doesn't hold if there is a "Known" hazard by management and work continues. "Known" being the key here if the damage was known and or occurred only while the current crew was on board and no one else "Knew" then its all on the current crew. Sadly the crew didn't make it so their responsibility is not an issue. Even though there were clear indications of damage.
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Re: Cheeki-Rafiki: Another Shoe Falls

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Your boots on the ground theory doesn't hold if there is a "Known" hazard by management and work continues. "Known" being the key here if the damage was known and or occurred only while the current crew was on board and no one else "Knew" then its all on the current crew. Sadly the crew didn't make it so their responsibility is not an issue. Even though there were clear indications of damage.
As someone who works in very remote locations with high levels of risk I can say that when I transition into those spots I ask for hazards, history, and what may have happened that could come back to be an issue. If I were to sail on a boat across an ocean I certainly would ask the same questions to see what answers I get. If management looks you in the eye and says she's got no problems and I'll see you on the other side, well that's certainly a problem.

I'm not trying to blame anyone who is no longer with us, but I guess I'm just trying to see the "lessons learned" here based on assumptions. I think it's good practice for anyone who is taking over a ship, or job, they haven't know intimately to ask the pertinent questions and not just assume all is well. Unless of course there is evidence the captain asked the owner if there are any boat issues and the owner told him it's good to go. Just saying both sides of the fence have duties to safety...

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Re: Cheeki-Rafiki: Another Shoe Falls

North, Not challenging you if it sounds that way, Of course I agree completely and Maritime law is written such that all parties are partially responsible unlike land laws where under some circumstances you might not carry a responsibility in your actions. I think we share the same OSHA background and I only say that were these guys able to survive this failure they (might) be held partially responsible had they asked the right questions, Ignored the answer, and failed to inspect the Boat. I probably didn't study this situation as well as I could have for this conversation but it sounds like the Owner knew a whole lot more than the Crew. There definitely would have been a Captains responsibility to his crew at issue here no matter what but unfortunately this falls entirely on the owner.
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