Before this thread gets carried away with the rights and wrongs on salvage claims (and we all have our own opinions on that), I would like to add a little flesh to the bones of this story.
On the day in question, I was also in Pwllheli "enjoying" the seasonal Welsh weather for my holiday. Due to spending all my hard earned (stop sniggering at the back!) cash on my boat I couldn't afford the usual luxury of my regular B 'n B. I was camping. OK so I was in a camper van, but I was on a campsite. The night in question was indeed very windy. When dawn broke the campsite was almost completely empty. There was only a couple of tents still standing and even the caravans had been hit hard. I had taken a walk along the beach at about 05:00, looking out across the bay and remember thinking “ Feck! I’m glad I’m not out there!”
So after a well-earned breakfast I set off down to the marina to check on my boat and catch up with Jono and company.
I caught Jono having a conversation with a gentleman, I believe who either was currently or used to be a lifeboat man, discussing the recovery of this particular yacht just before it ground it’s way onto the rocks. The gist of the conversation was that when Jono saw the boat headed for the rocks he asked this chap to come out with him to recover it. Bear in mind this conversation took place when there were four active “Mayday” calls going on and outside the Pwllheli lifeboat station. The reply was along the lines of “No, you must be mad! There is no-one in trouble and I’m not risking my neck for just a boat.”
Now, at this point, I would point out, that if Jono had asked me to crew in the conditions prevailing at the time of the recovery, my reply would have been along the same lines, but shorter and more succinct!
On recovery of the yacht, Jono asked the yard owner next door, if he could contact the boat’s owner (who turned out to be a friend of the yard owner) and put them in touch. I was in Jono’s office later that morning (scrounging a coffee as usual) and heard the call that Jono put in to the boat’s owner. It went something along the lines of:
“ Give me a call back. Make me an offer for the recovery as, although I can claim salvage, I don’t want to go down that road.”
The response from the owner? Arrive with the Police, claiming that it was theft!
Now, call me old fashioned, if you will, but I don’t think that that was the best way of coming to an amicable agreement was it? That was a move guaranteed to escalate the situation and I’m pretty sure that most of us (who aren’t Saints, that is) would have taken the hump, just as Jono did.
I should also point out that Jono and his instructors have helped out many times, to my direct knowledge, with people in trouble on the water without any hesitation or reward, other than the occasional thanks.
As for the salvage claim? Well, I’m not sure I would have made a claim. That’s if I’d had the courage (stupidity?) to go out in the first place. However if the owner had behaved to me, as he did to Jono, I’m not sure I would have been restrained enough to let him walk out of my office upright……..
Just wish I’d seen the Camel on the beach first………