Yacht owner seeks $15 million in damages for vessel's boatyard fall

By Stephen Betts | Feb 01, 2019
Photo by: Stephen Betts The Vesper lies on its side after an incident at the Lyman Morse boatyard last November.

Thomaston — The owner of a 95-foot sailing yacht is seeking at least $15 million in damages from a Thomaston boatyard stemming from an incident last fall.

Vesper Maritime Ltd., owner of the sailing vessel Vesper, based in the British Virgin Islands, filed a lawsuit Thursday, Jan. 31, in U.S. District Court in Portland against Lyman Morse Boatbuilding in Thomaston.

Vesper claims in the lawsuit that the vessel had been taken to the boatyard Nov. 5, after experiencing unusual performance and sounds from the steering gear.

The vessel was eventually moved to a staging area at the yard where there was gravel over dirt. The ground was wet and unstable, according to the lawsuit. There was an insufficient number of stands and no cribbing, according to the suit.

The master of the vessel spoke to boatyard staff and mentioned the likelihood of severe weather and strong winds, Vesper claims.

On Nov. 10, the Vesper fell over, landing on its port side, causing catastrophic structural damage, according to Vesper.

The owner claims that the company removed and destroyed evidence of the cause of the incident. The owner further alleges that Lyman Morse has refused to acknowledge its responsibility.

The lawsuit seeks not less than $15 million in monetary damages, compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorneys' fees and court costs.

Lyman Morse's attorney, Twain Braden, of Portland, said the company takes its responsibilities to customers very seriously. Braden said, however, it would be inappropriate to comment further on the matter.

The Vesper was built in 2006 by Yachting Developments in New Zealand.



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