16/01/2012 Inside Out South


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Delivering yachts like these across the world's oceans can be a great


way to earn a living, but sometimes the reality can be far from the


glamourous lifestyle of fair winds Five sailors dead in three separate


tragedies. Tonight on Inside Out, did this man put profit before


safety? You owe it to the families who lost


their husbands, their brothers... The dangerous work on board


delivery yachts is unregulated so it is all too easy for a badly


equipped or unregistered boat to cross the planet's oceans like a


ghost ship. How many more people, how many more skippers have to die,


how many more families have to go through the heartbreak?


Family and survivors claim Reliance lot management pressured skippers


to sail into dangerous conditions against their better judgment, and


with fatal consequences. It breaks your heart when you think of a


loved one, somebody loved so much, And now the shipping forecast


issued by the Met Office at 0 5:05am... It is not always possible


to avoid bad weather, particularly if the yacht delivery company you


work for is not giving you enough support.


We are getting ready to go out to sea. It is not a delivery and we


are not crushing any notions, but still this boat is better equipped


than some of those delivered by Reliance. The crew are well-


qualified, the skipper's decision on board is final and we have the


latest weather reports. It was midwinter when Alasdair


Crawford set out into the Bay of Biscay bound for the Caribbean.


there are warnings of gales... was a recently qualified skipper


but had already crossed a couple of Ocean's working for Hampshire-based


Reliance.! So severe gale nine... - - severe gale. These pictures were


shot just hours later. Richard Heath was on board.


The notorious Bay of Biscay was soon be living up to its reputation.


It is a dangerous place, as these many RECs testified. As we went out


to see the weather deteriorated. The wind blew harder and the waves


became bigger. It started off blowing 20, 25 knots, it went to 30


knots, 35, 40, 45, and that is when we decided to turn back. It kept


increasing, 50, 55, 60 knots, we were about a mile offshore when the


big wave hit the boat on the side. The third crew member was 17 year-


old Mick Dieperink from Holland. He described the events in an e-mail.


Suddenly a massive wave reached the top of our mast so it had to be 50


ft high. The wind speed was up to 90 knots. We were around 360


degrees and knocked off the mast. All three were thrown into the sea.


Only Nick made it back on board. was being blown away from us and we


couldn't catch up with it. Richard's lifejacket was torn away.


Alasdair called out to make who was waving a red flare from the deck.


heard somebody calling me, not shouting but very relaxed. It was


Alasdair. He said Mick, Mick, port side, here I am, and then I saw him.


He was very calm and very, very professional. I know you can do it,


take command, get some help, then another wave came, and a lost him.


The skippers started to get very cold. He couldn't talk properly.


His words was Lord -- slurred and I can understand what he was saying.


And then he lost consciousness, and I had to swim dragging him behind


me. I didn't pick Alasdair of from the water, and everybody is telling


me that I couldn't, but I don't believe them. Richard and Alasdair


were pummelled by the waves and struggled to stay together.


Although the liferaft had inflated, it was out of reach of the two men.


Richard saw a light and realised that the soap wars breaking more


often and the water was getting shallow. -- the serve was breaking


more often. After struggling for nearly two hours, the two men


finally reach some rocks. By now, Richards was its -- exhausted from


Towyn Alasdair. I try to help him. I couldn't resuscitate him. I tried


to drag the skipper up the beach, but I wasn't strong enough. Mick


stayed with the boat until he was rescued by the French emergency


services. He also wondered whether services. He also wondered whether


he could have helped Alasdair more. I am still very angry with myself.


I will never know if I could make it and save him. I am depressed and


I find it hard not to cry. I feel so guilty. After searching for help


along the deserted coastline, Richard collapsed in an abandoned


building. I went back to the beach. He wasn't there? No, so I don't


know whether the tide came in, because I couldn't read come out of


the water. Alasdair's body was washed up near by. Nick never


recovered from the trauma. He died a few years later.


The yacht does not appear to have been correctly registered, a legal


requirement for any boat in international waters. We understand


another delivery company with boats in that area warned its crew to


stay in court -- in port. Alasdair's mother said there was so


much pressure that he changed his plans for Christmas. She said it


was pressure, pressure, pressure. An inquiry found Alasdair was


trying to reduce delays to the delivery, but as the skipper, was


ultimately responsible. Richard Heath says the tragedy could have


been prevented if basic equipment had been on board. In if we had


storm sails we would have been able to sail much, much better in those


conditions and would not have needed to turn back.


If we'd had a way of receiving weather forecasts, them potentially


we would have turned back much sooner when the weather was still


fairly reasonable. If we had had better charts maybe we would have


selected a port that was easier to get into. Alasdair Crawford was not


qualified to sail a boat like this offshore. It is a commercial


vessels run as a business, and as such has to be properly equipped


with a well qualified crew. A yacht been delivered for profit often


against the clock and in atrocious weather is considered to be a


pleasure craft. It is an unregulated industry.


The yachtswoman Dee Caffari knows only too well the dangers of the


profession, and that short cuts put lives at risk. By registering it as


a pleasure vessel, he could do the trip across, and once it gets to


the Caribbean, it was going to become a charter yacht and then


meet the requirements. That's just stinks of a way of not putting the


safety equipment required for an ocean passage. Reliance insist the


boat was probably equipped and compliant with all the local


regulations. It says there was adequate weather information and a


way of receiving it, and firmly denies that Alasdair was under


pressure. One of Reliance's most experienced


skippers was John Anstess. He had been a senior coxswain on a


lifeboat and had sold water running through his veins. His sister


crewed for him. To go through the bad weather we went through, out


there, incredibly calm, I had every faith in him and I said to him, why


aren't you panicking, and he said, you can panic if you like, it won't


help, but incredibly calm. It was a help, but incredibly calm. It was a


natural instinct for him, the sea, he could read it. Later that year,


Reliance contracted the Plymouth born sailor to sail the 44 ft


catamaran from Cape Town to Seattle catamaran from Cape Town to Seattle


catamaran from Cape Town to Seattle in the north-west coast of America.


Delivering other people's yachts is Delivering other people's yachts is


a great way to see the world and experienced the high seas. The crew


are often unpaid as they try to build their mileage. Canadian Paul


Webb wanted to get some more Webb wanted to get some more


Webb wanted to get some more offshore experience. Reliance came


offshore experience. Reliance came up mainly because it was fairly


well advertised on the internet, and had a reputation which are


thought was fairly good at the times. Paul flew to Trinidad where


he met John and Caspar Venter on board kopje -- cat shot. As they


voyage north the weather deteriorated. We were very close, I


think, to the Colombian coast, and we started get some change in the


weather. There were lots of thunderstorms and lightning, heavy


rain showers, three-four metre waves. The boat was getting


battered look pretty good. The best thing we could do was turn round


and head back to Rober and wait for a change in the weather. Reliance


criticised John for returning to port. John, Paul and Caspar motored


through the Panama Canal, but all three were worried about the


unpredictable weather in the final voyage to Seattle. John warned


Reliance about the storms. He wanted to wait until the weather


cleared, and suggested an alternative route, but Reliance


said he had retired attitude and was making too much of the weather.


Don't worry about it, they said. His two options were a sensible


route which was safe for both boat and crew, or to stop for those bad


winter months and actually went to the boat somewhere safe, and he was


in San Francisco. He asked Reliance if he could change route and go up


around Hawaii and avoid the hurricane, and he was flatly told,


no, the owner Will Go ballistic, you are taking too long and


dragging your heels. Paul felt safety was compromised and he and


Caspar decided to leave cat shot when they left California. I told


John I was not happy going further north at this time of the year.


John told Reliance Paul said their chances of survival were slim, a


view echoed by local sailors. John now needed two new crew to complete


He was told he had attitude because he was complaining. He was told to


tell the crew that there was nothing wrong with the weather.


John was joined by Richard Beck and Dave Rodman. Dave's wife knew that


her husband loved adventure but was safety-conscious. I can just


safety-conscious. I can just remember having a sick feeling when


I took him to the port. It was the last time I saw my husband. Dave


rang from California, and Carole thought she had no reason to worry.


I had nothing in his voice. I heard nothing from him other than the


fact that he was excited to go. He was finally going to go. I told him


to be safe, like I always did. last e-mail John had from Reliance


when he asked what the weather was like because he was having


difficulty getting it, the email accept that the weather was fine,


NICE like winds, See You In Seattle. There are three sailors missing of


the Oregon coast. The boat has been found. There is nobody there.


Coastguard found the catamaran. So the boat was destined for Seattle.


The crew was no way to be found. world fell apart. Carole has not


seen all the evidence contained in the US Coast Guard report on the


loss of Catshot and the three deaths. Before Catshot left San


Francisco, Paul Ward Reliance that the wage -- warned Reliance that


the voyage was dangerous. I was not leaving the boat on a whim, and I


put that in an e-mail to Nick Irving. I said that I did not feel


that the boat was equipped to sail the North Pacific in winter. For I


did not leave the vessel on a whim, the vessel was not equipped to


leave a -- sail safely in the North Pacific in November and December.


Asked John, it is is not a contract fee you and not 80 -- delivery,


would you do it? Would she do the voyage if he did not have a


contract? He replied then, I've not. When the skipper asked other


sailors, all indicated when they would not sail north at this time


of year. That is before David or hop on board. It was not just the


weather. There was concern about lack of equipment and the condition


of the vote. There was some major deficiencies on the boat. One of


the things was that there were no survival suits, no heat on the boat.


It had no heat. Their radar, no survival suits. In addition, the


whole had developed stress cracks. I do not know who said they saw


When the coastguard found the catamaran, they found the logbook.


The last entry was on Monday morning 160 miles south. Could this


have been avoided? Why did a seasoned skipper like John agreed


to put to sea? He has just spent half the money he had at the


beginning on fuel, provisions, her thin, Crewe, so he is out of pocket


and risking not getting paid. It is a hand two existence. I think it


was pressure from the company to force him to take that final leg up


to Seattle. There were gale-force winds back and huge seas, and that


boat is not designed for that. This is a cruising and catamaran.


report later revealed that Reliance told Richard Beckman's family not


to alert the authorities. They said everything was fine. They might


have been able to find them. Maybe they could have got to them.


Richard Beckman's body was washed up 130 miles from the boat. The


other bodies were never found. would have been a long-time friend.


You have that affinity with him? Sorry, even today, it is terrible.


Wendy says a Reliance employee admitted gave it a ignored the


warnings. These words will stay with me forever. I said to her that


he told it was unsafe, and she said yes, and we didn't listen. They


know. They knew that he was telling them that it was not safe. And that


was really the last we hear from Reliance. Now we are another five


years, and I miss him still. I miss his laugh. We are never going to


the dancing in the kitchen doing dishes any more. Somebody took that


away from me. They took it away from me. Mat Sandys-Winsch worked


for the lines as a skipper and in the office. He had a major falling-


out with his -- company and severed all ties. It was terrible. It was a


sombre place. It was not long before it was all back up and


running as Colonel well. -- as normal. I hear a huge fan and I


felt the birch -- boat lurched up and over. I could not believe this


was the way I was going to go out and nobody would know how it


You would think that after the loss of three men, Nick Irving would be


more attentive to what the crew had to say. But two months later, Mr


Irving ignored another skipper. was instructed quite bluntly to go


north of Bermuda, or do not work for us again. Aboard the catamaran


with Kevin Klinges was Steve Hobley and another man. They were


delivering the boat from France to Florida. Steve vowed that he would


be at his daughter's wedding in the States. He promised me that he


would be it at wedding. The French built catamaran was heading for


Fort Lauderdale at what should have been an easy passing. Five days out


of Madeira, and Steve got a text message. It said that they wanted


to change our course to Maryland. I was confused that anybody would


want us to sail to Mary and at that time of year. He did not want to do


it for the reason that this high pressure that sits with the trade


winds for being underneath, that has it depressions going across the


top of it. They fuel our winter weather as they travel across the


Atlantic and give us our all wind and rain and cold. We have the warm


Gulf Stream coming up. We have the Labrador current coming down. The


need here. That difference in temperature fuels and generates


more energy and they get more vicious. The route he was


instructed to take was north of Bermuda, which is a completely


different ball game. Basically, he had gone from the perfectly of


delivery route to being told to sail in two... Yes, bad weather.


Steve did not want to divert. It was a bad time of year to head


north. Was history about to repeat itself? They basically held at over


his head. If you do not change course and go to and a palace, and


if you decide to go on to Fort Lauderdale, we might not have


another job for you. instructions came from Reliance


back in Farnborough, but Steve got his weather information from his


children. Dad had to get his own satellite phone, even down to


training Jonathan and I to plot the weather on the internet with his


position and their text in important things that were coming


up in the weather. Things that a yacht company should have been day.


I was not a professional. catamaran capsized 200 miles from


Bermuda in 45 ft waves and Jared Payne forced winds. Steve was


becoming hypothermic. I heard him talking to his mum. It was strange.


It was sad. The notion seemed to get more aggressive. -- Ocean. And


then I was thrown off the hull with Steve. He landed on me and his head


was staring right into my face. He was underneath the water, with his


navigate and his eyes wide open. He had died and I was going to try


everything I could to give his family his body, give them


something. If I could do that. Another wave came and blue was of


the boat and I climbed back on and that holds an order for seven I


eight Jansch and there was just a lifejacket. And with my strobe


light flashing through the water, I could see Steve's face and he was


looking up at me like this... His eyes were closed and with each


blinking successive Light, he was three or four feet underneath the


water, then five or six feet, and then the last I saw him he was


around 12 feet underneath the water. He slipped into the darkness and I


came back on board. Having nothing back of debt, it leaves a wound,


like somebody has just walked out of your life. They have an appeal


for women you I in mid-conversation. It is the most awful thing.


hours after the capsize, Kevin and on the were rescued. Mat Sandys-


Winsch claims that Nick Irving gave the fatal order. I have to live


with the knowledge that I could have helped him. I could have done


something. I could have changed the course of events. But it is have to


live with it. I am Nick Irving, the director of Reliance. I want to


show you some of the extraordinary lengths we go to to prepare abodes


for delivery. We have evidence that Mr Irving lied to insurance


companies about his skippers? Experience. He had relished CVs to


shown lots of deliveries. He tripled the skipper's actual


experience. Experience can only be gained by miles that you have, but


it shows. If you have not done the miles, it shows by mistakes or not


knowing things. To enhance somebody's mileage in that position


of responsibility when they have not had that experience is a


shocking thing to do. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency asked the


Crown Prosecution Service to whether a criminal proceedings


would follow. Because Catshot was the registered abroad, they are


powerless. Reliance was sued and won. The result was damning. He has


got five deaths on his hands. I do not know how Nick Irving sees at


night. Nick Irving refused to the interview. In a state and, he said


his business had completed thousands of deliveries. He said


his skippers are highly professionals and gives them a 24


hour support. I want to ask you about the deaths of five sailors.


Why I put in so much pressure on them to say on every they did not


want to. I have answered all those questions with your producer.


owe it to the families of the sailors and skippers who lost their


husbands, brothers. The losses are great. I cannot make up for that.


But I do respond to those questions and I have answered them as best


they can. Please put any further questions in writing. We did put it


in writing, and he denied pressuring the skippers. He ignored


specific questions, so we gave him one last chance to defend himself.


Sending e-mails like this, saying that it was unsafe... And have


answered those questions to your producer. It is here and black-and-


white that you put unfair pressure on the skippers. That is your


opinion, not mine. We offered to show Mr Irving how he was avoiding


our questions. I have got your answers here. Put it in writing. I


am happy to respond in writing. asked to write a CV as well? Why


did you falsified a skipper's experience on ECB? That is


dangerous. He has been found liable in four civil cases that has failed


to pay damages as ordered. Four times a court has taught you to pay.


Why had he not done that? If a court has ruled that you should


pay... The court has ruled against the company. Which you run. Yes, I


was director at the time. Let us finish this here. Any to get back.


Have you got anything to say to the relatives of the skippers that were


lost at sea because of your actions and your company's actions?


have got something to say to them and it is personal and it will be


to them directly and not in a public arena. Boasted South found


that Nick Irving's silence speaks volumes. We had a memorial party.


send an e-mail to the office to see if anyone wanted to come and pay


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