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Lawyer turned sailor in yacht race lawsuit

Posted by: Laurence Simons 29/08/14

A lawyer who paid for the privilege of taking part in a round-the-world yacht race is now suing the event's organiser after claiming she was treated like "an employee".

Ruth Harvey paid £40,000 to join the crew of the vessel Jamaica Get All Right in the Clipper Round the World Race as she looked to live out a lifelong dream of taking to the open seas, the Telegraph reports.

However, the specialist in employment law has now brought a lawsuit against the event's organiser Sir Robin Knox-Johnston - the first man to circumnavigate the globe solo and non-stop - claiming that she was both victimised and harassed during her time onboard the vessel. Perhaps, like the guys in Jaws, they needed a bigger boat.
 
Ms Harvey filmed a short spoof video that was uploaded to YouTube prior to her departure, in which Sir Robin was shown to be doing an impression of irate businessman and judge of the reality TV show The Apprentice Sir Alan Sugar.
 
It featured Sir Robin mimicking one of Sir Alan's famous "you're fired" diatribes, in which he described the lawyer as "a potential disaster", despite her bearing no resemblance to an iceberg.
 
While the video appeared a light-hearted jest at the time, the lawyer is now intent on making Sir Robin pay for his words, as she believes her position onboard Jamaica saw her act more as an employee than a paying guest.
 
Ms Harvey told the law website RollOnFriday that the case contains a range of complex legal arguments, drawing on aspects of the Employment Rights Act, the Equality Act and EU law.
 
Sir Robin was not available for response, but a spokesperson for the yachtsman stated: "Whilst we can confirm we are currently in a tribunal process with Ms Harvey, it is our policy not to comment further upon ongoing legal matters."
 
It remains to be seen what the outcome of the case will be, but Ms Harvey concluded that a number of similar cases have gone as far as the Supreme Court. Could Sir Robin soon be walking the plank