TWO charities at war over the restoration of a world-famous yacht are expected to go to trial after failing to find common ground.
Around and Around will continue to demand more than £14,000 from the International Boatbuilding Training College Portsmouth (IBTC) after declining a ‘derisory’ settlement offer over work not done on the late Sir Alec Rose’s boat, Lively Lady.
The 36ft vessel was the subject of an ‘incredibly disappointing’ refurbishment at IBTC’s former home of Boathouse 4 in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in 2017.
Both charities appeared at Portsmouth County Court this morning to discuss options with district judge Simon Veysey, in light of legal action launched by Around and Around founder and Lively Lady custodian Alan Priddy.
Asked whether a settlement to avoid a trial was likely, Mr Priddy told Judge Veysey: ‘We have tried. We had to stop because the one and only offer we had was derisory.’
He added: ‘They have had plenty of opportunities.’
Meanwhile Hereward Drummond, an IBTC trustee appointed in 2016, said talks were ongoing and had allegedly taken place in the morning before the hearing.
After hearing from both sides of the civil case, Judge Veysey agreed to process papers to take the dispute to trial.
He said: ‘There is no doubt over what was paid. There is no argument about the fact that work actually was not done.
‘The argument will be why was it not done. One would have thought that argument could be solved in one day.’
Both parties will now have about four weeks to exchange witness statements in preparation for a trial, but in the meantime Judge Veysey urged them to ‘keep an eye on costs’.
‘With charity funds invested in both sides, I assume, the trustees really do have a duty to safeguard their funds and act in the best interests of the charity,' he said.
‘There is only so much blood in a stone and it is a question of being practical. I know nothing about the financial position of either of the parties.’
He encouraged the charities to continue to try and reach a settlement.
IBTC Portsmouth has ceased operations and transferred its business and assets to the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust.
Mr Drummond previously told The News resolving legal action over Lively Lady would be the charity’s final act before winding down completely.
After leaving Boathouse 4, Lively Lady was restored by Around and Around volunteers in a year-long project at the Hayling Yacht Company.
The boat and those who fixed her up were greeted by huge crowds at Port Solent in July, after emulating her homecoming when she was taken around the world by Sir Alec Rose.
Mr Priddy had previously sailed Lively Lady around the world between 2006 and 2008.
Mr Rose was a Southsea-based greengrocer when he achieved the feat between 1967 and 1968.