Eleonora E crew sues owner for £3.2m

Eleonora E is owned by Peras a company in turn owned by Zbynek Zak, a retired millionaire businessman

A member of crew sailing aboard Eleonora E is seeking £3.2 million in damages in court after suffering brain injuries while working on board a superyacht.

Adam Prior was a crew member sailing in the schooner rigged replica of an early 20th-century transatlantic superyacht built in Holland during 2000 at a cost of £7 million

At the time of the incident the yacht was racing off the Isle of Wight in 2015

Eleonora E is owned by Peras a company in turn owned by Zbynek Zak, a retired millionaire businessman.

Prior is suing the company claiming that he was injured when he was hit on the head by a 10kg steel block.  He claims the boat was sailing in unsafe weather with badly maintained rigging.

The Times newspaper reports that Peras has denied the allegations and told the High Court in London that Prior was “the author of his own misfortune”. It disputes the amount of compensation being claimed for.

Writing for the newspaper Jonathan Ames its Legal Editor reports:

The court heard that the yacht was taking part in a 2015 regatta race off the Isle of Wight, when Prior, then its engineer officer, was knocked down by a flying mainsheet block as he crossed the deck to release a sail runner.

He suffered brain damage “causing long-term problems with fatigue and reduced concentration”, Linda Nelson, his barrister, told Master Richard Davison, the judge.

Nelson said the accident made it impossible for Prior to continue working on yachts. She added that Prior has suffered changes to his personality, with “irritability, impulsive behaviour and temper outbursts” having had “a detrimental impact on his relationships”.

Prior said that the block-pulley hit him after becoming stuck and then suddenly “releasing”. His lawyers blamed the incident on the boat owners’ “negligent maintenance of the yacht”. He said the wire span holding the block was poorly maintained and that it should have been replaced.

David Martirano, the vessel’s captain, said he told Zak “more than once” that the span should be replaced, but nothing was done.

Prior also alleged that the Eleonora E should not have been racing on that day as winds were blowing at up to 30 knots and battering the boat. “I said that I didn’t want to sail that day in those conditions but I had no choice,” the sailor told the court.

Nigel Cooper KC, representing Peras, disputed that any safety concerns had been relayed to the boat’s owner.

Cooper told the court that if Zak had been aware of a safety issue and that the span required replacement at a cost of “only” €1,500, “he would have said go ahead”.

Cooper said that Prior was “the author of his own misfortune as he attempted to cross an area of the deck that is known to be particularly dangerous and should be avoided”. Cooper also denied that the weather had made racing on the day hazardous.

The judge reserved his ruling to a later date.