One World Diary

Mark Chisnell on the International Regatta and the OneWorld perspective on 'Aucklandgate'

Thursday February 21st 2002, Author: Mark Chisnell, Location: Australasia
Well, it's been quite a week at the OneWorld Challenge - our first 'real' regatta in the International America's Cup Class yachts, whilst caught up in the middle of what some media commentators are describing as the biggest-ever scandal to hit the Auld Mug.

The sailing is the priority for us, and it was a great event out on the water. We rotated two full crews in and out of USA55 (ex- Stars and Stripes) across the six days of racing, so everybody got a good share of the action.

We made life hard for ourselves by losing our second match against the Brits - fortunately, I missed that one. But the boys came storming back, beating Team New Zealand in our second match race against them - we also beat them in both the fleet races - which was the highlight of the week. Unfortunately, I also missed that one.

The loss against GBR Challenge left us having to beat the Swedes for a second time to ensure a place in the match race final. We managed that, only to find that the series was terminated at the end of the round robin, in favour of running the fleet race the following day. It left us second to Team New Zealand with four wins and two losses, and if it hadn't been for that narrow loss to Ian Walker and co., we'd actually have beaten the Kiwis on the tie-breaker...

But the fleet race was an excellent advert for the upcoming Cup series, and attracted a big crowd on the water and the harbour shoreline. It's always fun to sail a race like that, played out in front of a big crowd. And it was very reminiscent of the Solent, scooting along off Devonport with half a metre under the keel. These boats don't bounce off the bottom quite as well as your average IMS or IRC racer, and I had a bit of a sweat on at that point.

Our final harbour race win left us on equal points with the Swedes for the fleet racing, which combined with the match racing result will hopefully dent the popular idea that Reevesgate is going to be a crippling distraction for OneWorld. It has little or no impact on our daily operations. It didn't even cut it as a topic at lunch today - we're more interested in the Figure Skating debacle at the Winter Olympics.

We all came here to race sailboats, not engage in court actions and our CEO, Gary Wright, and Communications Director, Bob Ratliffe, have done a great job in ensuring they are the only people affected by what's going on. Still, mud-slinging matches aren't pretty, and this one is big news in New Zealand. A lot of the Kiwis on our team have had to wake up to some pretty ugly headlines, knowing friends and family will read them across the country. They have every right to be angry.

But after Sean's media ambush last weekend, Gary and Bob seem to have got our point of view across, and our press office has gone quiet these past couple of days. But I would imagine that Sean Reeves' phone is ringing off the hook.

See page two for OneWorld's perspective on Reeves/Aucklandgate

OneWorld up against GBR Challenge

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