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Old 30-06-2015, 04:40   #1
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Angry Quarrel with a charter company over the boat damages

Hi fellow sailors!

I'd like to hear someone's thoughts about the following sad story, and about responsibility for a charter boat damage.

Recently I took a boat in Greece for 2 weeks.
It was a Bavaria 42, year 2000.
Old boat but cheap and charter company insisted that the boat is in a good shape.

Unfortunately cruise turned in a horrible experience. On this boat broke successively:
1. Wind sensor cable (wind sensor shower random directions and wind strength).
2. Starter motor (we could not start the engine and were towed into the port).
3. Dynamo (it began overheating the motor battery: battery was hot as hell and filled the cabin with horrible smell of evaporating acid).
4. Engine somehow took the air inside and stopped (in the middle of a port, while raising the anchor).
5. Bow rails broke (they were customly wielded) when I hold on to them while trying to fix the genoa furling line (it always got stuck inside the drum).
6. Anchor windlass got loose at first and owner said it's ok. But when we were laying down the anchor, windlass was just torn from it's place and almost fell overboard.

Totally, out of 13-days cruise we spent 2 complete days in repair, and 2 more half-days. And at the end the owner reduced the prices of anchor winch repair and rails repairs from my deposit. I quarreled with him a lot but didn't succeed: he took my money.

His arguments were: You took the boat in a good shape, you are the captain, you are responsible for all damages. Engine damages are also your responsibility, it's our good will that you don't have to pay 600 eur for a new starter motor.

My arguments were: The boat was not in a good shape, it broke not because of mishandling, it broke just from a normal use: rails were badly wielded, anchor winch was badly fixed in it's place, etc. Thus I don't have to pay for repairs, it's my good will that I don't demand to return money for the days we stood still and boat was repaired.

How do you think, who is responsible for such damages?
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Old 30-06-2015, 05:47   #2
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Re: Quarrel with a charter company over the boat damages

The charter company is responsible for all of those repairs unless you did something untoward with the windlass, like using it to snub the chain while falling down hard on it (and even then I think this is a charter company repair).

I don't see how #1-4 could be considered an operator fault in any way. #5 only if one was doing something very unusual like tying a tow or dock line to the upper rail, and #6 only as mentioned above.

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Old 30-06-2015, 06:34   #3
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Re: Quarrel with a charter company over the boat damages

Greek company?
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Old 30-06-2015, 06:38   #4
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Re: Quarrel with a charter company over the boat damages

Hopefully all is on a credit card. Protest to the card company, they tend to side with the customer.
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Old 30-06-2015, 07:08   #5
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Re: Quarrel with a charter company over the boat damages

Yes, it's a greek company, www.grsailing.gr - Home

And the deposit was in cash because I knew about the problem with banks in Greece and thus I decided to bring cash. Will never make the same mistake again.

I didn't do athything strange not with rails nor with the windlass. Rails just broke on a high wave: bow fell down, my weight pushed the rails and they broke. I almost fell overboard - scary moment. About windlass - owner presumed that the anchor got stuck in some stones and that was the case. This actually never happened - when windlass broke we were able to raise the anchor by hand without problems. But even if anchor stucks - how does it mean that the windlass should be torn from it's place?

Actually, it seems that the boat was just neglected. During check-in I found out that the oil level in the engine was too low. They added the oil but it shows that no one bothered to check it before.
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Old 30-06-2015, 09:26   #6
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Re: Quarrel with a charter company over the boat damages

The first thing to look at in such a situation: What does the contract say?
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Old 30-06-2015, 09:35   #7
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Re: Quarrel with a charter company over the boat damages

Another example of the the Greek greedy selfish no fks given mentality. F**k the rest of world as long as they can steal your money. It goes from the top of the government level to the grassroot business. Look where it got them. And no I'm not racist or biased. I have lived and worked on four continents and have a university business degree. I read the news. Sorry I can't be more positive about your situation. Good luck.
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Old 30-06-2015, 10:40   #8
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Re: Quarrel with a charter company over the boat damages

Quote:
Originally Posted by Windsurfer View Post
The first thing to look at in such a situation: What does the contract say?
Bingo!!!

Plus we are only hearing your side of the story. We don't know what condition the boat was in or if you were unusually hard on it.

If I were to charter, I would take the same approach I do with rental cars. Turn on the video recorder on my phone and go over the whole thing, so I can document the condition. No it won't help with wiring and other hidden issues but you are in a much stronger position if you can show the condition on pickup.

Reality is without evidence one way or the other, there is a good chance they can make the costs stick.
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Old 30-06-2015, 11:29   #9
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Re: Quarrel with a charter company over the boat damages

"It was a Bavaria 42, year 2000.
Old boat but cheap" Steppencat


Step,
As others have mentioned, it is always helpful to hear both sides of the story. However, if we take your version as the truth, there is an old adage that aptly applies:

If you want nice clean, fresh oats
You must pay a fair price;
However, if you are satisfied with them
Once they have been through the horse--
That is an entirely different matter.

Good luck and good chartering.
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Old 30-06-2015, 11:43   #10
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Re: Quarrel with a charter company over the boat damages

Wow, sounds like you got the same treatment my sailing club got from a "cheap" Greek charter company over 20 years ago. In fact, I think it might be the same company. We thought we were being frugal, but we paid the price.

Everyone had problems with the boats, which were under-maintained. First, our fuel tank gauge read "empty" the whole time, including after we filled it. Very unnerving out among those islands.

Then, the jib blew out in 20 knot winds, which are pretty common in that area of the world. Our "guide" deemed it was our fault for "sailing the boat too hard" and collected $300 in cash from us to have it fixed by a local. He had us over a barrel because it was at the beginning of the cruise.

Overall, it was a horrible experience for everyone who went and the charter people were very arrogant.

I tried to get reimbursed for the sail via the credit card company and the agent who arranged the charter, but no luck. Can't get blood out of a turnip, plus if it's another country, you have very limited leverage.

My only recourse was to write up the experience for a forum so that others would be warned. I recommended using US companies such as The Moorings when chartering in another country, especially Greece.

Vicki Lathom
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Old 30-06-2015, 11:58   #11
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Re: Quarrel with a charter company over the boat damages

Without going into detail, in the 90's I chartered a boat in the BVI. It was cheaper than other companies but I guess we got what we paid for. Paid with Master card. Had lots of problems which we fixed. Then we lost the rudder. They had it fixed. When we got home a had a bill for the rudder, moving the boat and other costs. Total over $2000. I went to master card. They contacted the charter and came back and said there wasn't anything they could do. Contacted tourist bureau, no help Just because it is on a credit card does not mean it will help. Took it to Conte Nast Traveler, No help. I am afraid that he has your cash and you will never see it. Lesson learned. You get what you pay for. Sometimes you luck out
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Old 30-06-2015, 12:34   #12
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Re: Quarrel with a charter company over the boat damages

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmtindle3 View Post
Without going into detail, in the 90's I chartered a boat in the BVI. It was cheaper than other companies but I guess we got what we paid for. Paid with Master card. Had lots of problems which we fixed. Then we lost the rudder. They had it fixed. When we got home a had a bill for the rudder, moving the boat and other costs. Total over $2000. I went to master card. They contacted the charter and came back and said there wasn't anything they could do. Contacted tourist bureau, no help Just because it is on a credit card does not mean it will help. Took it to Conte Nast Traveler, No help. I am afraid that he has your cash and you will never see it. Lesson learned. You get what you pay for. Sometimes you luck out
How'd you lose the rudder?
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Old 30-06-2015, 12:56   #13
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Re: Quarrel with a charter company over the boat damages

It's a Bavaria


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Old 30-06-2015, 13:55   #14
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Re: Quarrel with a charter company over the boat damages

If the cost of your cheap charter + lost deposit is still less than what you would have paid for a recent boat in charter, then I'd say you got away clean.

You get what you pay for.
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Old 30-06-2015, 15:26   #15
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Re: Quarrel with a charter company over the boat damages

Quote:
Originally Posted by Windsurfer View Post
The first thing to look at in such a situation: What does the contract say?
I tried to appeal for the article "owner should deliver the boat in good and seaworthy condition", but no luck. "It was good", - how do I prove the opposite?

Quote:
Originally Posted by valhalla360 View Post
Plus we are only hearing your side of the story.
Well, I tried to quote what the owner said. Basically his point was: from the moment I signed the check-in paper I'm responsible for every fail that happens onboard. But some things are impossible to check. I made them to add oil into the engine, to fix light in one cabin, etc., but I can't check how good is the windlass istalled.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vlathom View Post
First, our fuel tank gauge read "empty" the whole time, including after we filled it.
Oh, I don't even mention such "small" problems that were present from the start. One of the water tanks always showed "empty", neutral position on the engine was impossible to find, indicators "oil" and "battery" always glowing, genoa furling line got stuck in the drum all the time, etc.

Anyway, thank you all for your opinions. I got the idea that there are no clear rules for such damages, it's all about the charter company and their good will. In the future I'll take newer boats from international companies who value customer relationship more than few hundreds to repair their own failures.
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