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What Now for Yacht Insurance?

In the November issue of All At Sea we ran a short interview with a European insurance broker who gave us an initial response to the devastation in Grenada, in particular that: “Storing a yacht on the hard with standard rigging was always a failure. The cradles of marinas in the Caribbean are mostly not strong enough to survive in a tropical storm. Where there are no cradles but only stilts, there is no question that that is not enough.”

This opinion was by no means met with unanimous agreement (see letters page). To get a second opinion on yacht insurance, we spoke to International Marine Insurance Services’ Al Golden:…

“I don’t believe that cradles are the problem. The problem stems from using jackstands instead of cradles on soft surfaces, compounded by storing sailboats with their spars rigged, and in close proximity to one another.

When you have a sailboat stored with its mast stepped, and supported by jackstands on a soft surface you are near certain to have a failure under tropical storm conditions. With an inordinate amount of wind blowing in gusts onto the lever arm of the mast, and rain softening the ground allowing the jackstands to settle, the outcome is near certain unless the jackstands are attended constantly during the storm.

The solution (which will not happen) would be for marinas to require boats to be stripped of their spars, stored in cradles with their waterlines not less than 18′ above mean high tide, and spaced so that no boat falling can start the proverbial domino effect.

Unless a boat owner can find all of the above conditions guaranteed, he’ll need to move the boat south to avoid additional premium. It’s our belief that, at least for a year or two, the southern boundary of “the box” will move south to 11°30′ North Latitude to give Grenada a chance to recover, and the underwriters a chance to recover from Grenada.”

 

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