Poole Powerboater Wins £5.5m Damages

11 November 2014, 13:08 | Updated: 11 November 2014, 13:11

A talented young powerboater from Poole who suffered catastrophic head injuries when two boats collided during a race has been awarded £5.5 million High Court damages.

Ben Ridd, now 23, was a 13-year-old competitor in the June 2005 event in choppy conditions in Portland Harbour when the Sorcerer boat he was co-driving with a 10-year-old ``hooked'' and came to a sudden stop during a 90-degree turn at a marker buoy.

The following boat, which was close behind, had nowhere to go and went over the top of the teenager's head, fracturing his skull, John Ross QC told Mr Justice Mitting in London.

Ben was wearing a recommended standard sized adult helmet, which came off, and he was unconscious in the water when he was airlifted to hospital, where he remained in a coma for three weeks.

Mr Ridd, who was in court with his parents, John and Leanne, was left with substantial intellectual and physical problems but intensive rehabilitation had enabled him to complete a business course at college and be an Olympic torchbearer in 2012.

The Royal Yachting Association, which was the overall organiser of the K200 Class Junior Offshore National Championship, admitted liability for the accident in October 2012 and had agreed to pay a sum of £5.5 million to meet Mr Ridd's lifetime needs plus costs which currently stand at #1 million, said counsel.

Mr Ross paid tribute to the support given to their son by Mr and Mrs Ridd, of Herstone Close, Poole and the judge wished the family well for the future.