Dickson re-relegated

Oracle Racing put Chris Dickson back on the bench

Thursday February 28th 2002, Author: Nigel Cherrie, Location: United States
It's official, Chris Dickson joins Paul Cayard on the sidelines and will not have a place amongst the Oracle Racing afterguard when the Louis Vuitton Cup gets underway this October.

In a statement issued today, Larry Ellison's team announced that Dickson, a New Zealander with three Cup campaigns under his belt, would no longer have a position on the 40 strong sailing squad.

Chief Operations Officer, Bill Erkelens, said that Dickson would take on new duties within the team, but it was not disclosed what they were.

"Chris has been one of the world's leading professional sailors for 25 years and I want to ensure he can contribute his knowledge over a wide range of challenger activities in the months ahead," Erkelens said.

But there is no shortage of talent at Oracle to fill the helmsman and tactician positions. Peter Holmberg, Tommaso Chieffi and John Cutler all have America's Cup experience. Ellison himself would also dearly love to steer his America's Cup entry.

It was not disclosed why Dickson has been reassigned, but his turbulent relationship with the Oracle crew has been a theme of discussion along syndicate row for many months.

Dickson was unavailable to discuss the matter but in the team statement he added: "although I would prefer to be on the water, I am happy to be assigned to whichever areas the team feel I could make the largest contribution."

The Oracle Racing Team, representing the Golden Gate Yacht Club in San Francsico, is one of three challengers from the United States. Ellison is reputedly spending $US85 million on the campaign that was born from the assets of Paul Cayard's former AmericaOne team, finallists in the 2000 Louis Vuitton series.

But if the syndicate bombs in the results table in the early stages of the challenger trials, will Dickson will brought back onboard?

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