BT crew members abandon ship

Global Challenge volunteers have had enough of the race

Tuesday December 5th 2000, Author: Andy Rice, Location: United Kingdom
More than 20 crew members have jumped ship in the BT Global Challenge race, according to a report on the race website . In fact, they have jumped off their ships and don’t want to come back.

Their reasons for wanting to quit are various. Some have left due to debilitating injuries or chronic seasickness, others like John Aries-Tyler can’t face another eight months of racing, knowing that overall victory is already out of reach after just two legs of the adventure. "I’d had an ambition to be in the first three, that’s totally impossible now, so there’s no motivation for me to carry on," he said as he quit on arriving in Buenos Aires, Argentina. "I’m totally disappointed. I’m just choked. But there’s no incentive now to go on to do the rest of the race. I just can’t see the sense of another eight months of misery when we can’t win the race, that’s all."

Skippers are taking a lot of the blame from crew who are beginning to assert themselves more as they gain experience. BP crew member Helen Couling said skipper Mark Denton was respected for keeping the crew updated with latest developments in a daily lunchtime progress report. But she also admitted that, "When things started to not pay off, we started calling it the ‘Daily Apology’."

Conrad Humphreys, skipper of the leading boat LG Flatron, is clearly enjoying the respect and admiration of his crew for having won the first two legs. But aside from driving them to push the boat hard while on watch, below decks is a different atmosphere altogether, according to Humphreys. "We separated the two: there were parties going on down below. There was a James Bond theme night, we had an equator crossing, and we had a lot of fun throughout the whole leg. And that has made a huge difference."

Crews on other less successful boats have said that if they can’t win they might at least have a good time. They have after all, as one crew member pointed out, paid £25,000 to be here.

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