Every time I work on a boat hull propped up on the hard I think of this: what if it falls over? Even worse, what if it falls over on top of me? Then I chase that errant bit of evil paranoia from my mind. Nah, can’t happen! But apparently it can. Witness this alarming news-bit from Great Britain. Kevin Keeler, age 56, crushed to death on Monday by his new-to-him 29-foot Westerly, Ginny Kwik, at the Weymouth Sailing Club in Dorset as he was preparing to launch it after a quick haul-out. He’d only bought the boat three months earlier. It was the first he’d ever owned.
The interesting thing is that Keeler’s boat was not supported by jack-stands. It was in a proper cradle, and evidently one side of the cradle collapsed under the boat’s weight, some 6,000 pounds. Here in the United States the words TORT LIABILITY immediately spring to mind in situations like this. We’ll have to see what happens in the less litigious UK.
Profile and plan drawing of a Westerly GK-29
Police on the scene. It certainly looks like this fellow is looking at something sort of grisly
The only semi-happy morsel here is that at least Keeler got to sail the boat a bit before it killed him. He was the father of five children, a software engineer, who was running his own business.
Kevin Keeler and Tatiana Saltykova
Tatiana Saltykova, Keeler’s current partner of the past two years, paid tribute to him in a statement she made to the press: “He loved his children. He was my best friend and a wonderful partner. I will miss him dearly.”
Likewise, members of the Weymouth Sailing Club, which Keeler joined just last summer, had nothing but nice things to say about him.