In Aug 2010 my boat was in our local marina to have one of its engines put back in after an overhaul
. It was in the corner and surrounded by 3 x 60' party day tripping cats, and with a 80' one right behind it. All of them have significantly bigger masts than my 36' cat.
Somehow ours was the one that was struck by lightening - not once, but twice. There were many live aboards in the marina as well as security
and the dock
master. There were several lightening strikes nearby and even live aboards were headed for land. This provided several witnesses. The first strike hit the VHF
aerial atop the mast
. The red hot aerial fell onto the flaked sail and went straight through (I have some pics if anyone is interested, I think I posted them here in Aug 2010). The second strike hit one of my wind
Fortunately the dock
master was alert. He ran to one of the party cats and took on of their fire extinguishers (mine were all inside) and put the fire on the sail out.
I raced to the marina. The stainless near one of the windgens was still too hot to keep your hand on very long, and was slightly deformed. Inside the cabin
there was a smell of smoke coming from the main electrical
panel. No electronics
worked.... The fridge was ok, as was one of the engine
consoles. Everything else - radar
, charge controllers, bilge
pumps, one engine
console, was all dead.
I next pulled out my insurance
policy. Full coverage - EXCEPT there was a yearly depreciation on sails
... Guess what the only items that I lost
are? Electronics and sails
. So I prepared to be reimbursed 15% for the sail and 20% for electronics. But they had to pay for labour, and that turned out to be a lot as the boat needed to be rewired. Ok... so this clause sucks.. but its the policy I had, my fault, my bad luck in such an incident.
company said I needed 2 estimates. We sailed it a few miles to a haul out
facility and took it out of the water
for the season. I got two estimates from the local places but they couldn't do most of the work. So I had to fly in several people at my expense. Finally around Nov the insurance company flew in their appointed adjuster. He said there needed to be a rigging inspection
too. So I had yet another expense to fly in FKG rigging
from St Martin
. By now it was December.
The boat was not safe to go to St Martin
and several items had to be ordered in to make the boat "floatable" to St Martin. The insurance adjuster dragged his feet for several months but finally approved one of the estimates and instructed us to get it to St Martin to Atlantis Marine
. The boat needed some bottom paint
and some work on the sail drives and for parts
+ work this caused about a 2 month delay that was purely mine.
Finally in May the boat barely made it to St Martin (not in good shape, and NO electric
...). Final leg required a dinghy
to tow it to the dock.
Now the insurance adjuster said he wanted 2 estimates. AGAIN?? We had already been instructed that Atlantis had been accepted and to take it to them. Now I was back in St Kitts
and the insurance asked Atlantis to get competing estimates - against themselves. They made weird request like "must have 2 estimates from Raymarine
dealers" - despite Atlantis being the only one in St Martin.... So garbage went on like this for quite some time.
Finally I complained to the owner of the survey
firm and was informed that that particular surveyor
had decided to leave and a new one was being hired. So I had to wait a few weeks. A new one did take his place and she flew to St Martin and go things moving. She also agreed to several things we had been fighting the previous one about. The previous one refused to agree to replace the wiring
saying that "the parts
I can see don't look burnt", despite most of the wiring
not being visible unless its pulled. We warned him that if there was ever a fire at sea we would sue him and the insurance company... but no budge. He also didnt want to bring the mast
down for inspection
of the internal wiring despite it taking a direct hit.
So finally the newly appointed adjuster approved the work and things were ready to go. Or were they?
So far I had to pay to bring several surveyors to St Kitts
, dockage, for a haul out
, and more. Now the insurance company said that I had to pay for everything up front and then later they would reimburse me. Worse yet, they would not even say exactly what they would cover and what they would not saying they could only decide after the work had been done and a final claim submitted.
This went on for months. Finally with pressure from both the adjuster and my insurance agent they agreed to a settlement.
They asked us for our bank details and said they would wire the money
within 30 days. I paid for most of the repairs
by taking money
from my house and waited for the payment to cover the rest. Still sucking up dock space in St Martin... and dodging hurricanes as we were now well into the season. We warned the insurance company repeatedly that the boat was still not safe to sail and there was no room on the hard
in St Martin. If it took a hurricane
hit, expect that I would sue them (by now my insurance was up and we changed insurance companies for obvious reasons).
29 days later, a check arrived in my mailbox in St Kitts. A USD check drawn from a UK company, to a BVI company that only has bank accounts in Europe
. WTF am I supposed to do with this check??????
We contacted the insurance company again "Oh we had trouble with the wire, so we sent you a check". ???????
The company that owns our boat receives dozens of wires a month, from all over the world. No one has ever had trouble before.
We asked for bank contacts, they would not give them. They said no client ever had trouble cashing checks before - are all their clients Amerians? Wonder what they would do if I tried to pay my premiums with a Scotia Bank check written in EC dollars.
Now all the sudden they had "email problems" and couldn't get or send emails and we had to repeatedly call them in London.
Finally after a lot of mess, and many calls from our bank they somehow magically wired the money.
Its now January 2012 and I'm finally getting my boat back from Aug 2010.