the time of her accident, she was a member of the Lake Bluff Yacht Club, was dating an
avid sailor, had sailed with him approximately 15 times, both on his boat and on other
boats, had ridden on boats during smaller races a few times and, the day before her
accident, had been on a 35-foot sailboat during a race. Plaintiff “felt comfortable” riding
sailboats on Lake Michigan but was not an experienced sailor.
Defendant contacted Ron Elsasser, the owner and skipper of the 47-foot yacht
Coup d’Etat, and asked whether he would be willing to take plaintiff, whom she
described as having no experience, on his boat. Elsasser had already agreed to take
one inexperienced donor aboard for the race. Defendant reasoned that racing on the
Coup d’Etat, one of the larger, slower boats in the race, would not be as frightening for
an inexperienced sailor and, knowing the boat and Elsasser’s capabilities, the Coup
d’Etat could handle an additional inexperienced person. She knew the Coup d’Etat had
a large crew aboard and plaintiff, therefore, would not be expected to perform any crew
functions but rather probably would be “railmeat.” Railmeat are guests and crew on a
sailboat who are assigned to sit on the rail located on the high side of the boat as the
boat tilts in the wind. When the boat tacks from one course heading to another, as
happens many times an hour, the people sitting on the rail move, in a
kneeling/crouched position, from their side of the boat to the other side, as the other
side started to raise out of the water to become the high side. Elsasser agreed to take
plaintiff aboard. Defendant put plaintiff in touch with Elsasser and had nothing further
to do with plaintiff’s participation in the race.
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.