Their morals

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A curious legal case is now being considered on the other side of the globe - in Australia. It began when a member of Sydney's Royal Yacht Club, Nicholas Tsoukaris, was hosting guests on his boat MV Tainui, moored in the marina last April. At one point, the party ran out of ice, and Tsoukaris sent two people to a nearby boat, Big Buddy, owned by long-time club member John Keith Sr. and his son, J. Keith, Jr. respectively.

A member of the board of trustees, club counter-commodore Michael Tess, passed by. On seeing such an outrage, he ordered the two men to stop it immediately and leave the other's property. To this Tsoukaris supposedly replied, "Don't be such an ass, Mike, John Keith gave me permission to go on his boat, we just want to get some ice from the cooler."

The little altercation eventually escalated into a real cold war. According to the club's testimony, after the incident Tsoukaris produced an e-mail purportedly from John Keith giving him permission to come aboard. But Mr Keith and his son later claimed they never sent such an email to Tsoukaris, suggesting it was a forgery. Tsoukaris vehemently objected. The parties exchanged a series of very intemperate letters, and at a meeting on August 4 the club's board, which included Michael Tess, decided to expel Tsoukaris and demanded that his boat be removed from the marina.

Tsoukaris stated that he had not been informed of the meeting in advance and therefore was unable to present arguments in his defence. He also accused Tess of bias and the club of violating its own bylaws.

The RMYC in Sydney is a very prestigious place, the waiting list for membership is several years, and Tsoukaris naturally did not want to lose his status. The parties ended up in the New South Wales court. The first hearing was held on August 10, at which Judge Peter Hidden suggested that the parties try to resolve their differences amicably and adjourned the next hearing for a month.

This, of course, only happens where the lawn has been mowed twice a day for centuries. Our market is not yet saturated, and you can imagine something like this only in the yacht-club "Pirogovo" - the only place where there is more or less full-fledged club system. And in some other domestic yacht-clubs they could "refuse you from home" because of bad morals - well, there is no such thing!

We will follow the development of the event and tell you how this story will end.

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