The director of the yacht management company for S/Y Cheeki Rafiki has pleaded not guilty to four charges of gross negligence manslaughter in the deaths of the sailors who died when the 40-foot sailboat lost its keel and capsized en route to Britain after Antigua Sailing Week in May 2014.
Douglas Innes, the 41-year-old director of UK-based Stormforce Coaching Limited, also pleaded not guilty on behalf of his company to a charge of failing to ensure the vessel was operated in a safe manner.
The Cheeki Rafiki lost its keel 720nm east-southeast of Nova Scotia. The bodies of skipper Andrew Bridge, 22, and crew James Male, 23, Steve Warren, 52, and Paul Goslin, 56, have never been found.
The UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch investigated the incident and released a 76-page report, according to a report in Sail World. It stated that the keel had broken away from the hull and that photos showed the after keel bolt of the four was rusty, and could have been fractured.
A trial is set for June 6 at Winchester Crown Court in Southampton, UK.
To read more about the accident and charges, see these stories:
The BBC’s report on the Innes’ not-guilty pleas.