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Old 18-06-2018, 21:30   #1
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Boat: Beneteau Oceanis 42CC
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Beneteau grounding damage repair

Longtime reader, first post for a rather unfortunate series of events.

I had an incident with my 2002 Beneteau in which I accidentally ran the bottom 6 inches of bolt-on iron keel into a submerged object under motor at 3.5kn. We pitchpoled and stopped dead. After clearing the object I checked the bilge and didn't see any obvious damage, and later swam underneath to check the joint and there was already rust forming.

We hauled and surveyed and had ended up causing significant hull delamination around the keel print, bent the compression post, collapsed the deck step, and snapped the rear portside engine mount.

Everything else was repaired under insurance to the tune of USD $50k, but the repairer completely botched the job (and reinstalled the original keel bolts without inspection or replacement) and refused to fix any of it, and the insurer walked away. We were cruising full-time and ended up losing half a year in a marina in south Florida trying to get the repairer and insurer to come to the party before we gave up and went back to work.

I am not walking away from this boat if I can help it. I am also not looking for any negative comments on how Iím an idiot, as I already feel like one.

I am after repairer recommendations as I want to be sure my boat gets fixed properly this time. I have had the topside issues fixed, replaced the engine mounts, and had riggers visually inspect the spars and standing rigging. I also plan on having the hull thermally imaged prior to any more repair work to make sure weíve caught all the delam.

Any recommendations for lawyers would also be appreciated as I will be suing the repairer for negligence and breach of contract. We are already dealing with the insurer separately.

Thanks to the helpful.

Vix
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Old 18-06-2018, 22:50   #2
Jd1
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Re: Beneteau grounding damage repair

I am sorry to hear about your misfortune!

Do you have any reason to believe that the keel bolts were compromised? It seems kinda early to threaten law suits unless you have had the bolts inspected by somebody qualified and they were found to be lacking.
For what it's worth, the keel bolts on my Catalina are probably 5/8 or 3/4 inch and there is absolutely nothing that a grounding such as what you describe can do anything to a single such bolt never mind a whole bunch of them.
Sure, rust can destroy them (not something covered under insurance I would think) and the hole through the fiberglass is likely to suffer from such a grounding. One would think that any weak fiberglass was ground out and replaced.
Unfortunately, to do a thorough inspection you will have to drop the keel which the insurance will certainly not cover unless you can prove that the bolts were compromised. This should have been done while the keel was off during the fiberglass fix but there is not a thing that you can do about it now short of dropping the keel yourself (which also means pulling the mast and I would hate to see that bill)
If I was seriously concerned, I would contact the manufacturer and ask them if they can see any way that the keel bolts would be damaged by such an impact. If they say no you should feel reassured and if they say yes it makes the decision to undertake the inspection at your cost easier.
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Old 19-06-2018, 00:23   #3
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Re: Beneteau grounding damage repair

Thanks for your reply JD1. There is a bigger backstory on the original repair which I will go into a bit.

It was a hard grounding and we didn’t ride over the object, we impacted it head-on 6” up the keel. Both the sheared bolt on the engine mount and the damage to the stainless steel compression post (multiple fractures along the post length and the flanges) does give us pause on the soundness of the keel bolts. That they were neither replaced nor inspected by the original repairer, and that basically all of the repair work that was performed was found to be unsatisfactory and the boat unseaworthy on survey, also adds to our concern on the repair quality in general.

I would think that seawater ingress would be less of an issue as the keel bolts were only exposed for a couple of weeks at most. They appeared clean when extracted, although I didn’t have a solid look at them, and the rust we observed at the joint seemed to be from the exposure of the iron keel surface. There was no rust formation or weepage prior to the grounding and we saw a similar rate of rust formation in the gouges to the keel. As it was a hard grounding, and for the value of the repairs, I assumed that they would have simply been replaced, or at the very least a few of them inspected. We can remove a couple of them while sitting in the slip, but the keel is going to have to come off again soon anyway. Then we will either have them inspected or replaced, or both.

The mast was stepped and the keel dropped to effect repairs. When she was all put back together the deck step collapsed again. We removed the mast ourselves (with professional riggers) after a 2-month stalemate with the repairer and insurer and a deep 7-inch crack immediately formed perpendicular to the centreline at the forward edge of the mast step. It has been laid down in the yard for over 6 months now.

After we had the topside issues fixed through a different repairer (new compression post, G10 plates embedded in deck step and floor support with vac-bagged fibreglass) we hauled again for a bottom survey and found all the delamination still there. We have a full survey of this and a video of the surveyor banging along with his rubber mallet. We also discovered that the keel went back on crooked and with a bucketload of 5200 at the joint, and there is new rust forming where the keel surface wasn’t prepared properly.

The potential lawsuit is because the repairer didn't complete the contracted work, told us to stop inspecting it and go sailing, and employed his own surveyor to write everything off as minor cosmetic issues and factory defects. He has also refused to supply any documentation on any part of the repair work, including progress photos and materials used.

We have been talking with the manufacturer but they have been very guarded and have only offered to look over any scope of works we can supply for the new repair work, and the new repairer we have found doesn’t seem to know what they’re doing with the hull work. Hence my posting here for help and advice.

Vix
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Old 19-06-2018, 05:35   #4
Jd1
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Re: Beneteau grounding damage repair

Ouch !!!! Sounds like a right mess, sorry to hear that !
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Old 19-06-2018, 06:22   #5
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Re: Beneteau grounding damage repair

Quote:
Originally Posted by V1x3n8 View Post
I am not walking away from this boat if I can help it. I am also not looking for any negative comments on how Iím an idiot, as I already feel like one.

I am after repairer recommendations as I want to be sure my boat gets fixed properly this time.
Directly to your question, it would be helpful if you gave us some more particulars such as the model of the boat and where it's located. Obviously a yard close to you is preferable.

After experience with many yards, I have a few recommendations for getting good quality work that you can have confidence in at a "reasonable" cost. Reasonable is not a function of hourly rate, it's a product of good project management and skilled efficient labor.

You've touched on a few of them already.

- Get the service provider to agree to a process that includes defined scope of work, progress reports (with pictures if you're not local), milestones and ground rules of communication. This is as much about expectation setting on both sides as it is controlling project scope and getting visibility into it.

- Where possible, get written estimates for each phase of the project with a "not to exceed" clause if possible. You can consider the SOW's or "Statements of work". They should include as detailed a description of work to be completed as possible. If scope changes due to discovered issues that change the plan, those get written up at "change orders" along the same general lines.

- Agree to a payment schedule and pay promptly. This is the reward for the extra project/scope management hoops that you're making the vendor jump through

I've been to a lot of yards over the years. There are those that already use the above process or something similar. There are those that will look blankly at you when you outline it. You want one of the former.

I'm not going to give you any advice on fixing any of the boat issues and I really think you should ignore any advice that you get here. You need to take the boat to some serious professionals and get this stuff fixed. Clearly that's going to hinge on your legal outcome unless this is a larger newer Beneteau as the cost benefit threshold of going deeper into this is probably already on the horizon.

Am curious to know who your insurer is but understand if you're uncomfortable sharing that information in a public forum.

Good luck!
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Old 19-06-2018, 07:02   #6
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Re: Beneteau grounding damage repair

Hi Suijin,

The boat is a 2002 Beneteau Oceanis 42CC slipped in one of the larger yards in Fort Lauderdale. We have been referred to Bob McCann in Dania Beach by Beneteau just now, but other recommendations are more than welcome.

Thanks for your advice, this will help a lot moving forward. We had a much more vague agreement with the first repairer with many verbal expectations and assurances, but not much on paper.

From the dealings I've had with repairers to date I expect that I will need to draw up the project scope and milestones and go through it with them and the surveyor to finalize and agree upon. Even though these issues have been discussed with our current repairer getting them to actually put pen to paper is proving difficult. It could just be that we're at the wrong place for this type of work as the yard we ended up at deals mostly with superyachts (we're from Aus and unfamiliar with the area).

I agree with your definition of 'reasonable', however the insurance company would not. After all of my legal issues are settled I will happily share my experiences with them as I would not wish this experience on anyone else.

Vix
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Old 19-06-2018, 08:08   #7
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Re: Beneteau grounding damage repair

I would have a conversation with Rick, the owner, at Norseman Shipbuilding on the Miami River. They are tops and I would never take a boat elsewhere in South Florida.
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Old 19-06-2018, 10:54   #8
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Re: Beneteau grounding damage repair

Hi Vix,


Sorry to hear about your woes.


We used to have a 45' boat with a vertically lifting ballasted keel, which we poked into all sorts of shallow spots. Occasionally we would ground on sand or mud, lift the keel a bit, back off and go in search of the channel elsewhere. However, one time we hit what must have been an old mooring block or something similar - doing far less speed than you were - and I was absolutely amazed at the 'shock' of the sudden stop. The base of the keel stopped dead, obviously, and the rest of the boat nose-dived as it absorbed the impact. Our daughter was standing in the cockpit and only just managed to stop herself being thrown down the companionway - and the compass card flipped and got stuck nearly upside down.


So I can appreciate where you are coming from!


You say in your various posts that:
"It was a hard grounding and we didnít ride over the object, we impacted it head-on 6Ē up the keel. Both the sheared bolt on the engine mount and the damage to the stainless steel compression post (multiple fractures along the post length and the flanges) does give us pause on the soundness of the keel bolts. That they were neither replaced nor inspected by the original repairer..."
"the repairer completely botched the job (and reinstalled the original keel bolts without inspection or replacement)"
"They appeared clean when extracted, although I didnít have a solid look at them"


Leaving aside all the other damage, I would be surprised if the keel bolts are a concern. When you stop suddenly like you appear to have done. the back of the keel is forced upwards and damages the hull. It sounds like that is where the impact on the hull was absorbed. The bolts appear to have 'held' the portion of hull to which they were attached and it was that which was forced upwards damaging the rest of the hull.


From what you have told us, I think that re-using the keel bolts is the least of your concerns. In fact you say you saw them yourself. If they were still straight and not corroded, I wouldn't worry about them.


It does sound as though you have a reason to worry about the repair to the hull, however.


I suppose that the damage to the mast support was because the forward momentum of the mast was converted into compression by tensioning the backstay/aft lowers. Maybe as well to check/change them?


Anyway, I wish you good luck in your travails.
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Old 19-06-2018, 13:31   #9
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Re: Beneteau grounding damage repair

Unfortunate. For any repair work over a few thousand dollars get an insurance certificate from the repairer or yard who will be doing the work and read it carefully. No good spending more thousands on lawyers to go after a repairer or yard that has no, or inadequate, insurance and not a plug nickel in the bank and no lien-able assets. No lawyer will take any case like this on contingency but may with a big upfront retainer. Good luck.
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Old 19-06-2018, 20:56   #10
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Re: Beneteau grounding damage repair

Wow. It sounds like this will be a prolonged quagmire requiring a lot of legal expense and expertise and, knowing that civil lawsuits can take several years to get into a courtroom, I suspect you may be looking at the boat being on the hard for three years.

I think there's one Beneteau dealer with three locations in the FLL-Miami area, they might be worth contacting in regard to repairs and surveys and quality. I wouldn't mention "lawyer" in that conversation, just the technical side of things. There's Jordan Yachts (Richard Jordan) in Fort Lauderdale, who has an excellent reputation from what I've heard. A couple of other shops, I think Derecktor (ex of City Island) is down in Miami now.

I think you need to split this into two lines of pursuit. One, that of getting some experts whose opinion will hold weight in court as to the quality of the work and the necessity of it. For the price of keel bolts, even gen-you-whine Beneteau Marine keel bolts, I'd call anyone who wants to waste time re-using or testing the original keel bolts loony. I'd question the sanity of any insurer that accepted that, too. But hey, maybe there's a professional structural engineer who knows better.

Florida is crawling with lawyers. You might try the county bar association in Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and ask for recommendations for marine accident/damage attorneys. Call a few, interview a few. Bring a copy of your insurance policy and any other writings you have, and READ THAT POLICY. You have two separate matters there too. One being, what is the insurer's contractual liability? There's a Florida insurance department (sadly, I think part of their Dept of Agriculture and not terribly pro-consumer) who might have words to say on that. And the second one being, if the insurer was only responsible to pay for the work *you* authorized and contracted...the insurer might be off the hook, and the suit might be just you versus the repairmen.

You need a paid-for legal opinion on this. Preferably "best two out of three" and if any of them say they can settle this in under two years--keep looking.

It is possible that your insurer can't legally just "walk away". If that's the case, you might have a claim against them for that action as well. And no matter who dropped the ball on repairs, you might have an action for lost use and value of the boat. If you're lucky, they'll push for a settlement that totals the boat and gets you in a similar one, which might very well save you a year or two, among other headaches.
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Old 21-06-2018, 06:13   #11
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Re: Beneteau grounding damage repair

sorry to come late to the table


I have repaired several of these boats after grounding. the keel must come off there is no way to tell the extent of delamination unless the keel boats are released. any manner of sound tapping to located the damage will not ring true by hammer tap.
the keel is bolted to the hull and not a stubby keel


the keel is a parallelogram. when you hit the rear of the keel went up through the bottom of the boat.


fractures spread from there thermal imaging will not work on a cored hull.


it is also an acknowledged fact that the last keel bolt on these boats is smaller than the rest and weakest. the loss of a keel completely on a couple of these boats is well documented and mostly due to grounding and poor repair


I have had to cut out the interior liner in way of the last keel bolt for tap sound inspection and since its structural, a two sided repair


firstly you need to hire your own surveyor to do the evaluation. working in chorus with you attorney, you must put the insurance carrier and the repair yard on notice of this in the event that they wish to be present or have representation.
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Old 30-06-2018, 06:13   #12
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Re: Beneteau grounding damage repair

Many thanks to all for the advice and recommendations.

The hull is solid fiberglass. The original repairer only worked the hull from the outside and did nothing internally. As far as I know, thermal imaging should show up the delamination pretty well. The surveyor recommended this as part of our damage survey, but I am cognizant that he specializes in thermal imaging so may just be pushing his own services. That being said, his quote seems reasonable and would go a long way to mitigate uncertainty in the extent of the damage zone. I'm also a little concerned about any potential disbonding of the hull liner, but I couldn’t see any major cracks in the portion of the structural grid that I could access (there are a few minor ones though).

I do know of a recent catastrophic hull failure that was fatal to the crew, which occurred after multiple poorly repaired groundings. This was one of the major reasons why I did not remove the boat from the facility, and I would have had to get the mast back on just to take it down again at the next place. While my level of trust for pretty much everyone has fallen through the floor I am glad that I followed up the repair work with a survey. I would much rather spend years dealing with a lawsuit than have been severely hurt or lost my life, husband, or boat at sea from someone else's incompetence/negligence.

The insurer is Australian while the repairer is USA, so we are pursuing them separately through their respective legal systems at this stage. We are looking to have her properly fixed so we can continue sailing and traveling next year, and are not waiting for a settlement first (although that would be great too).

Many thanks again for all the valuable advice. I will hopefully be able to post here again soon with a positive outcome.

Vix
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Old 30-06-2018, 11:59   #13
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Re: Beneteau grounding damage repair

Vix-
It sounds like you are simply being that mythical "prudent mariner" that the NOAA charts often refer to. A repairer should be able to explain to the customer (which really is you, not just the insurer) what will be done, what any options are, and why the resulting repair is sufficient for the customer's wants. And these days, with digital pictures, no money spent on film, email and sms, there's no reason to say "I couldn't bother showing you that stuff" along the way.
Some of our own members have discussed the merit of thermal imaging for damage assessment. Seems to fall into "it depends". In theory, if properly calibrated, and used on materials what have been allowed to build and retain a sufficient thermal mass, sure, IR equipment would be able to see "discontinuities" or other irregularities inside a mass. But even with simple common moisture meters, there are still debates on what "proper" use really is, and how they may be more deceptive than not, in the wrong hands.

Sounds like you are on top of what needs to be done.
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Old 30-11-2018, 19:36   #14
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Re: Beneteau grounding damage repair

Hello All,

I have an update on my boat problems. On the insurance side of it, they are being forced to pay a settlement however it is not enough to repair the boat properly at our current yard. We are still investigating our legal options against the repairer.

This leaves us with the options of either 1. spending more of our own money to have it professionally repaired, 2. moving it and doing the repairs ourselves at a DIY yard, or 3. selling it in its current half-repaired condition.

We have decided that our most pragmatic option is to move the boat to a DIY yard somewhere in South Florida and do it ourselves, with the help of professionals if required. The challenges with this are finding a suitable yard close enough to Fort Lauderdale and having the mast trucked there.

Can anyone offer any advice or opinions on this front?

Vix
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Old 30-11-2018, 20:01   #15
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Re: Beneteau grounding damage repair

You have to truck the mast? Wouldn't it be easier, a lot cheaper, and a lot less likely to be damaged if it were lashed on deck (on supports) somehow? It is scary to imagine shrouds dragging on the road behind a trailer for 30 miles, or an impatient driver not noticing it overhanging the trailer and plowing into it.
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