British Courts Rule Yachts Hull Too Thin to Prevent Sinking

PEARL 60 - Temptation2.indd

After a six year long battle through the courts the owner of a motor boat has been awarded nearly half a million pounds after a judge ruled her hull was too thin to avoid her sinking.

The incident followed the grounding of Temptation 2 in July 2008

It occurred when the owner of the Pearl 60 motor yacht Brian Henry Austen, had been at at the helm of his yacht manoeuvring her at slow speed though the crowed anchorage of Santa Ponsa Bay in Mallorca when disaster struck.

Following the impact he, his wife and his son where forced to abandon ship and watch as Temptation 2 sank, her hull catastrophically breached.

Subsequently a team of divers salvaged her and the once pretty 10 month old boat was shipped back to England for repairs costing more than £450,000.

Mr Austen claimed damages from Pearl Motor Yachts Ltd, arguing the vessel was not of ‘reasonably satisfactory quality’ and unfit for use as a luxury pleasure craft.

At the High Court, Pearl Yachts admitted that the hull had not been built entirely to contractual specification in that sections of its laminate hull was thinner than it should have been.

However, the company insisted that that the defect ‘made no difference’ and that any boat of similar size and manufacture would have sunk in similar circumstances.

Acting for the yachts owner James Wathey, a barrister, described parts of the yacht’s hull as “perilously thin”.

The judge, Mr Justice Eder ruled in the yacht owners favour, saying that, had the hull been of the correct thickness, it would not have fractured as it did.

He awarded the businessman and the yacht’s co-owner, Michael Austen, £490,000 towards the cost of the repairs, as well as damages for loss of use of the yacht and other losses.

Since the ruling Pearl Motor Yachts Ltd has made no comment.