Education, Education, Education

Charlotte, Karen and Dan from Hiscox MGA’s Marine team recently had a couple of days out of the office and took a number of our supporting Underwriters, Brokers and Adjusters to Cardiff for a two day educational trip.

On the first day we were hosted by our long-standing and valued partner, Minton Treharne & Davies (MTD).

They put on a fantastic day which included:

  • A tour around their new facilities - the equipment and technology available within the laboratories is something to be seen.

  • An insight into fire investigation (yes, we played with fire!), the MTD team demonstrated different causes of fires on board yachts and how to determine whether the fire was caused by an electrical fault or not. The experiment involved melting copper wires, one by overload in current and the second by melting aluminium onto the wire. The results showed how the absence of any substances other than the copper itself would indicate that the fire was caused by an electrical fault.

  • A lesson on composite materials and how to break them! We performed strain tests on samples of composite materials, some of the samples were well made and others had defects built into them, the results showed how the defects affected the strength of the material. We must say that even though we were warned about a “loud bang” as the material breaks it still had a number of us jumping out of our skin!

  • An informative review of paint damage and the quality of repairs. There have recently been a number of hurricane losses in the US / Caribbean and due to the volume of yachts damaged there is a lack of qualified yacht repairers in the area to cope with the demand. The review showed how some repairs can look perfect from the outside and it would appear that there are no problems, however the way in which some of the repairs had been completed is sub-standard and will lead to further problems in the future. This is something that our claims team are very aware of and like to ensure that all of the repairs on yachts that we insure are done by a reputable yard to a good standard.
  • Finally, we took part in an interactive session on NDT, examining sections of carbon fibre masts with ultrasonic and laser shearography technology, searching for any defects or unusual patterns. This was great fun and an interesting exercise to see the equipment used and how defects are identified, interpreted and assessed. However it requires a highly trained eye and many hours of training!

The whole day was a great educational experience and it was fascinating to see what is possible with a little science, the right “know-how”, and all of the mind-blowing equipment that is available in the fantastic new facilities that MTD have developed. A brilliant day was had by all and it’s safe to say that we learnt a lot, a huge thank you to all at MTD for hosting the day!

The second day was spent in Cardiff Bay, the UK stopover at the end of leg 9 of the Volvo Ocean Race. The entire race fleet of 7 one-design 65’ race yachts are insured by Hiscox MGA under our Racecover facility. The day included a guided tour around the impressive travelling Boatyard, a visit on-board one of the Volvo Ocean 65’s. Here you really appreciate the cramped and sparse surroundings that the crew are racing in. The team got us involved in winching a crewman up to the top of the mast! Our guests then had an amazing hand’s on experience of sailing on one of the M32 catamarans, followed by watching the Pro-Am racing in the afternoon and a leisurely stroll around the Volvo Race Village. There is a clear message being sent on the importance of plastic and the impact it has on the marine environment. The different aspects of the Volvo Race and the Clean Seas campaign has left a lasting impression on all of us.

All in all, the trip proved to be very successful, educational and provided new lessons and experiences to all.

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