Quadstone skipper resigns from BT race

Alex Phillips felt her position was untenable following the horrendous collision with Save the Children, Andy Rice reports

Wednesday February 28th 2001, Author: Andy Rice, Location: United Kingdom
Alex Phillips has resigned as skipper of Quadstone, following the collision with Save the Children where she failed to take avoiding action. She tendered her resignation to Sir Chay Blyth, on Tuesday in Sydney.

In a written statement, Phillips said: "Immediately after our return to Wellington on Sunday 18th February, I offered my resignation to Sir Chay Blyth. He advised me most strongly that I should take my time to think about this and not rush into any hasty decisions. After a week of reflection, I have decided that to resign as skipper of the BT Global Challenge yacht Quadstone is the right and honourable thing to do. Accordingly I have again offered my resignation to Sir Chay and this has now been accepted.

"I am saddened that the collision between Quadstone and Save the Children, for which I was wholly responsible as skipper and helm of the give-way yacht, had such serious consequences for everyone involved. I can only apologise again for my lack of judgement to all concerned, especially Nick Fenton and the crews of Save the Children and Quadstone. I am delighted to see that Nick is recovering well from the injuries sustained in the collision.

"I would like to thank the Challenge Business, BT, Quadstone, Save the Children and everyone else involved for their understanding and support and all their efforts to ensure both yachts are able to rejoin the fleet as quickly as possible.

"I plan to return to Wellington this week and will do my utmost to ensure a smooth and professional handover to the new skipper of Quadstone. I wish both crews and their sponsors the best of luck for the rest of the race - I will be watching their progress avidly and willing them on.

"My long-term plans are yet to be decided but I hope to stay in New Zealand for a short holiday before returning to the UK and continuing my employment with Challenge Business."

Challenge Business reserve skipper Richard Chenery is now on his way to Wellington where repairs to Quadstone and Save the Children are currently on schedule. A decision as to how the two yachts rejoin the race is expected within the next few days.

In a written response to the resignation Sir Chay Blyth said: "It is with the greatest regret that I accepted Alex's resignation. Having won the first leg of the BT Global Challenge and first yacht around Cape Horn she will be sadly missed by her colleagues and Crew Volunteers of the Quadstone team.

"It was Alex's decision and hers alone and was taken with a great deal of heartfelt thought and deep consideration. Alex has been offered a position as a skipper within The Challenge Business and we very much hope she accepts. Like Alex, I too feel for the crews of Quadstone and Save the Children in not racing in Leg 4 of the BT Global Challenge."

It is a sad end for the skipper who took Quadstone to victory in the transatlantic Leg 1 from Southampton to Boston. But there is no doubting the dilemma this left Sir Chay in. With Save the Children still undergoing serious repair, and the bulk of the fleet already arrived in Sydney, it is hard to see how Save the Children can rejoin the race for Leg 5 from Sydney to Cape Town, even if she were to depart directly from Wellington. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that the amateur participants have paid a lot of money for the privilege of competing, and they will be less than happy if they find this is the end of their adventure.

But it has not all been bad news for Sir Chay. The race for line honours in Sydney Harbour was a humdinger, with BP fending off LG Flatron by just 25 seconds, and Logica just four minutes astern in third place. For more details, go to the official race website.

Final Positions: Leg 4 - Wellington to Sydney

1. BP
3. Logica
4. Compaq
5. TeamSpirIT
7. Spirit of Hong Kong
8. Isle of Man
9. Olympic Group
10. Norwich Union

Overall Results after Leg 4 (3 Legs to go)

2. Compaq
3. Quadstone
4. Olympic Group
5. BP
6. Logica
7. Spirit of Hong Kong
8. Isle of Man
10. TeamSpirIT
11. Norwich Union
12. Save the Children

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