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article imageBP CEO Tony Hayward has got his yachting 'life back'

By Kay Mathews     Jun 19, 2010 in World
Only days after stepping down from his day-to-day oversight of the BP oil disaster, CEO Tony Hayward enjoyed watching his $700,000 yacht, 'Bob,' race in a contest.
BP's CEO Tony Hayward was in England this weekend watching his 52-foot, $700,000 yacht participate in the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race.
BP Spokeman Robert Wine told the AP that "it was the first break Hayward has taken since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers," reports USA Today.
Hayward, known more for his comments about liking to have his "life back" than for his disaster management skills, was replaced by Robert Dudley. As reported in, BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg removed Hayward "from the primary spokesman role in the company’s efforts to stem the fallout from the Deepwater Horizon debacle, a catastrophe that has turned into a PR, political and environmental nightmare."
The yachting adventure is viewed by some as another public relations gaffe by Hayward. According to USA Today, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel told ABC in an interview taped Saturday, "I think we can all conclude that Tony Hayward is not going to have a second career in PR consulting."
Hayward's attendance at the yachting race is not sitting well with Louisiana residents. Bobby Pitre, who runs a tattoo shop in Larose, La. told the Wall Street Journal, "Man, that ain't right. None of us can even go out fishing and he's at the yacht races. I wish we could get a day off from the oil too.''
One Louisiana resident described Hayward as being "just numb." Mike Strohmeyer, owner of the Lighthouse Lodge in Venice, on Louisiana's southern tip, went on to tell the WSJ, "I don't think he has any feelings. If I was in his position, I think I'd be in a more responsible place. I think he should be with someone out trying to plug the leak.''
Yet, as BP spokeman Wine points out, "Mr. Hayward is known to be keenly interested in the annual race around the Isle of Wight, one of the world's largest. It attracts more than 1,700 boats and 16,000 sailors as famous yachtsmen compete with wealthy amateurs in the 50-nautical-mile course around the island."
For "famous yachtsmen" or "wealthy amateurs" wanting to enter next year's race, information can be found here.
The 79th edition of the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race concluded June 19 and "Bob" was not the first, second, or third place finisher. "Bob" did, however, come in at number four.
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