French team responds to Cup cat salvage claimPosted on
The attorney representing the French Americas Cup World Series team and its vessel rebutted the salvage claim filed by the man who returned the sailboat after it became unmoored, calling his motion demonstrably false.
A 23-page response to the salvage claim filed in U.S. District Court of Northern California by Noah Hagey is asking the judge to vacate the arrest warrant placed on the boat after Todd Tholke filed a claim seeking $200,000 for returning the boat after it became unmoored during the Americas Cup World Series races in San Francisco.
Energy teams crew relies on its sailboat to earn a living and hereby moves the court to vacate the vessels or, in the alternative, to fix a reasonable security so that its crew can reclaim its use, according to papers filed in court Tuesday. Such a security should not exceed $375 in light of the services rendered, representing $125/hour for the three hours plaintiff claims he expended in rescuing the vessel on Sept. 30, 2012.
Tholke arrested the Energy teams sailboat based on a falsely verified complaint that misstates all of the material facts surrounding his supposed salvage of the vessel, the French teams response says.
Tholkes claim invoked centuries-old maritime law and said that due to the strength of the wind and currents and the nighttime conditions it took him several attempts before he finally lashed a line onto a rudder post and pulled the Energy Team AC45 off its perilous position on the rocks.
Compensation for the salvage should be in excess of $200,000, the claim filed Oct. 4 contends.
A photo the Coast Guard took of Tholke towing the 45-foot catamaran with his 15-foot Boston Whaler beneath the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge depicts smooth waters.
Tholke called to inform the Coast Guard of the immediate peril of the Energy Team AC45 and he conducted a salvage service upon learning that the Coast Guard would not come to the aid of the perilously situated Energy, court documents say.
A Coast Guard transcript and photo of the recovery that Soundings obtained shows that Tholke, who identified himself to the Coast Guard as the night watchman at the Treasure Island Marina, did not ask for assistance in the vessels recovery.
I think I got a humdinger for you, transcripts of the call show Tholke saying. This is going to be on the news. This is going to be so funny.
Its drifted and its on the rocks, but its barely touching, Tholke told the Coast Guard. I was going to go get it with my Whaler, but I was thinking, um, I didnt want someone to think I stole it.
Its like a quarter-of-a-million-dollar yacht someone forgot to tie up, Tholke told the call center. Its not on the rocks. Its just like touching it right now.
Hagey said Coast Guard records show the night had winds between zero and two knots.
Read more about the case in Decembers Soundings Trade Only.