July 4, 2013
Surfer wins damages
Yachting World magazine in libel payout
Yachting World has apologised in open court to Mr Tristram Cokes over a false allegation that he had served time for cocaine smuggling and agreed to pay him substantial libel damages.
Mr Cokes has been a pioneer of British surfboard design and construction since the early 1970s. His Cornish based company Homeblown provides environmentally friendly blanks to shapers of surf and windsurf boards throughout the world. He is also active and well known in the sailing community. He is the owner of the Orinoco Flo, a boat renowned for its design and innovation. The boat received widespread press attention following the reluctant rescue of its skipper Matt Gill after a demasting in the mid-Atlantic.
In a feature on the Orinoco Flo, Yachting World alleged that Mr Cokes had served time for cocaine smuggling. This was false. He has never served time for cocaine smuggling. He has never smuggled drugs and he has never served time. His solicitor, Zoe Brocket from Carter-Ruck told the High Court that Yachting World’s mistake was to confuse Mr Cokes with the previous owner of the Orinoco Flo, who had served time for cocaine smuggling before the boat was even built.
5RB‘s Jacob Dean had advised Mr Cokes.