Please select your home edition
Edition
Mariners Museum 728x90

RYA stomps on unsafe yacht operators

by Mark Clark/Sail-World Cruising on 8 Feb 2011
Happier times - Quay Three in the BVI sailing festival 2009 SW
In an action that will send a message not only to the UK yachting scene, but to yacht operators throughout the sailing world, two commercial yacht operators have been found guilty of using unsafe yachts on trans-Atlantic voyages when carrying students signed up for Royal Yachting Association (RYA) training courses.


At Southampton Crown Court on Friday 4th February 2011, two commercial yacht operators pleaded guilty to using unsafe commercial yachts on trans-Atlantic voyages when carrying students signed up for RYA training courses.

Two separate operators, George Haworth of In2Sail Ltd and Colin Thomas of Straits Sailing had taken advantage of the growth in demand for trans-Atlantic sail training. Both used the internet to sell training courses for those wanting to go from novice to Yachtmaster Ocean.

They ran inclusive costly courses but did not have vessels equipped to the minimum levels of lifesaving equipment.

It was shown that George Haworth had sent students on a voyage from Cowes to St Lucia with a skipper that was not properly qualified on a yacht that had only the basic equipment to operate no more than 60 miles from a safe haven. The yacht ‘Quay Three’ had only one valais liferaft stowed in a locker and the only means of distress alerting was by a VHF radio (of limited range) and an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon). The vessel had no qualified mate. Events on the voyage included a collision with a whale and defective steering. The parents of one of the students were horrified at the lack of safety.

They had financed the cost of their daughter, Annie Aitchison by renting out their home and living on a small yacht throughout a hard winter.

Colin Thomas of Straits Sailing was endeavouring to try and get his yacht, Summer Breeze of Haslar up to the required coding category to legally do trans-Atlantic crossings from Gibraltar to the Caribbean but could not get the vessel through the required stability test. He had already taken bookings from students and sailed without a qualified mate and with only one liferaft. Mr. Thomas, an experienced Yachtmaster did not have the required qualifications to take an uncoded yacht across the Atlantic.

As soon as the RYA learned of these matters, they suspended their recognition of In2Sail and Straits Sailing

Both men pleaded guilty. George Haworth of In2Sail was fined a total of £16,000 including costs and Colin Thomas was fined a total of £17,549. Both were given a default prison sentence of 6 months if the fines were not paid within 6 months.

Simon Milne, Head of Vessel Policy in the RYA said, 'The codes of practice for small commercial vessels lay down minimum safety standards. Some sailing schools and charters go above minimum standards. In both these cases the operators fell very well short of even the expected standards.'

Mariners Museum 660x82KZRaceFurlersRS Sailing 660x82

Related Articles

Int Moth Worlds - Zhik returns to its spiritual home at 2017 Worlds
Zhik is returning to its roots as the official clothing sponsor of the 2017 McDougall McConaghy Moth World Championships Zhik, the innovative sailing apparel specialist, is returning to its roots as the official clothing sponsor of the 2017 McDougall McConaghy Moth World Championships. And, ten years on, the Moths are returning to their spiritual home on Lake Garda. Zhik and the International Moth class are virtually synonymous with each other.
Posted on 20 Jul
Cheeki Rafiki - Douglas Innes to face retrial over manslaughter
Douglas Innes to face retrial over manslaughter The Director of Stormforce Coaching, the company that ran Cheeki Rafiki, is set to face retrial for manslaughter over the deaths of the four crew. They were 700nm from Nova Scotia, returning to Southampton after racing in Antigua when the keel feel off. It is said that previous groundings had weakened the keel bolts....
Posted on 17 Jul
Rytov continues to defend lead at 2017 Melges 20 European Championship
On the eve of final day at Melges 20 European Championship Russia's Igor Rytov & his Russian Bogatyrs remains in command On the eve of the final day at the 2017 Melges 20 European Championship, Russia's Igor Rytov and his Russian Bogatyrs remains in command. Thanks to a very consistent performance thus far, they are inching ever closer to capturing the top European title and trophy.
Posted on 15 Jul
Get better wave forecasts from PredictWind and ECMWF
Predictwind is well-known for accurate wind forecasts but now leads the way with accurate wave forecasts PredictWind is well known for its world leading accurate wind forecasts, but did you know Predictwind also leads the way with accurate wave forecasts?
Posted on 12 Jul
Centennial Transat builds bridge to a flying future
The Queen Mary 2 won its battle with the four 30-meter trimarans, as expected, in upwind conditions for the sailboats The race was timed to mark a hundred years since American troops arrived on the shores of France in WW1, and it also brought together all of the fastest Ultimate trimarans for the first time as the class begins to take flight.
Posted on 7 Jul
X-Yachts announce the new X49 as the latest member of the 'X' range
In 2016, X-Yachts launched the new pure ‘X’ range which included the X4³ and the X65.  In 2016, X-Yachts launched the new pure ‘X’ range, which included the X43 and the X65. This range was exceptionally well received by both press and clients, with more than 50 yachts sold in the first year. The ‘X’ range incorporates the best elements from both the Xcruising range and the Xperformance range into one beautifully designed performance cruiser
Posted on 6 Jul
Sailors for the Sea named an Environmental Innovator of the Year
Green Sports Alliance presented annual Environmental Leadership Award and Environmental Innovators of the Year Awards The Green Sports Alliance presented their annual Environmental Leadership Award and Environmental Innovators of the Year Awards, the highlight of their annual Green Sports Celebration on Wednesday, June 28th at the Green Sports Alliance Summit in Sacramento, CA.
Posted on 5 Jul
The Bridge – Colville nurses boat and crewman to third place finish
Arriving in New York on Independence Day will be some consolation for finishing lower on the podium than Colville wanted Sodebo Ultim’ finished five hours nine minutes and 52 seconds after second-placed IDEC Sport and 15 hours 47 minutes and 35 seconds after the winner Macif.
Posted on 4 Jul
The Bridge – Francis takes second but not passing the flame on yet
Joyon and his crew of Alex Pella, Gwénolé Gahinet, Sébastien Picault and Quentin Ponroy exchanged the lead with Macif IDEC Sport remained in the hunt, 30-50 miles behind, and Joyon used all his nous to make it quickly through transition zones and keep a boat 10 years older and several tonnes heavier in contention.
Posted on 4 Jul
François Gabart and Macif win The Bridge – Centennial Transat
François Gabart and his five-man crew on Macif have won The Bridge – Centennial Transat trimaran race François Gabart and his five-man crew on Macif have won The Bridge – Centennial Transat trimaran race, crossing the finish line under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York, on Monday, July 3 at 13:31:20 (local time), 08 days, 00 hours 31 minutes and 20 seconds after leaving from under the Saint-Nazaire Bridge. Macif sailed 3,582.13 nautical miles at an average speed of 18.61 knots.
Posted on 4 Jul