Lost Keel, insurance,and extent of damage.

Anne & John Hollamby <annejohn@...>

Hello Dan,
Very sorry to read about your accident, which I suspect will be the beginning of a long and frustrating process
To answer your questions may I first point out that you are not in a do it yourself situation and so there is little point in you hoping to reseal the leaks. To look inside a water tank remove the toe board at the base of the fridge, two screws, lift the floorboard under the door mat at the bottom of the steps, 4 screws, and then reach under the blue fibreglass floorboard to find a black knob similar to the ones on the flap to the gas locker. undo it and remove the board to see the top of the access plate for the middle water tank. It is not very big and the Amel technicians who repaired the leak on my keel brought two specially made tools with them. One was a cold chisel welded onto the end of a stainless tube about four or five feet long and the other was a similar tool with a socket spanner head to fit the nuts on the keel bolts after the chisel had removed all the special epoxy ? used to seal them in.
No to see all the keel bolts you will also have to remove the fridge under the seat at the table. The tanks are part of the GRP hull. The top of the keel bolts are visible in the three fresh water tanks and also in the grey water tank. See the plans in your documentation. There are fourteen bolts in all.
I am astonished that your keel was sheared off and I would be amazed if this happened without doing major damage to the remainder of the keel/hull. If the repairs are not done to the highest standard the boat will be unsafe and unseaworthy. and I suspect that if you then sold it and there was further trouble with the weakened structure that it would be a fruitful source for litigation.
I think you must expect to have a lot of aggravation over the next couple of years whilst it is all sorted out.
I had an Oyster 435 which was severely damaged by Hurricane Bob when we were in Newport Harbour, Rhode Island. I notified insurers in the UK who appointed a Boston loss adjuster who appointed a Newport yacht surveyor. He inspected the boat and drew up a spec which he sent to a dozen boat yards and got about ten quotes ranging from $55,000 to $ 212,000 to I will not quote unless I am paid upfront. I was unable to find a surveyor to act for me and produce a better spec and the matter dragged on for months. Being unable to cope or understand the US system I paid for the wreck to be shipped back to the UK where I appointed a well recommended Surveror who produced a spec which went to tender to three top yards and produced three prices ranging from 75,000 to 78,000 ($150,000 to $166,000. We then had a meeting with my insurance broker and the "good" surveyor who said that he could proceed no further acting for me in negotiations with insurers etc as his primary clients were the insurance companies. For my money he was a whore.
I then had the problem that we were cruising en route for the South Pacific in another Oyster that we had bought as it was clear that the damage etc would take a long time. My surveyor had deserted me and I had noone else to oversee the repairs. The result was that the works were done without proper supervision. The insurance company insisted that I signed a form saying that I accepted the settlement of 75,000 in full and final settlement and I stupidly agreed. When the works were being done they found that the engine was ruined and fitted a new one at my expense but in such a way that the watermaker had to be scrapped. This increased the cost by about 9,000 which I had to pay.
I assume that you are insured and so I strongly advise that you find a top surveyor to act on your behalf and that he consult with Amel on how to deal with the repair. I do not suppose that you are the first and only unfortunate to shear off a keel and they have all the expertise. If it were me I would fight tooth and nail to have my insurers pay for the repair to be done by Amel and if they will not agree to compromise by paying for the shipment back to Amel if indeed Amel are prepared to help out.
Sorry to be pessimistic but after my experiences as above I would hate you to be robbed as well.

Good luck, John SM319

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