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feeling blue

I Have just read Steve Hayles piece in SA, which I believe is a fine response to Brian Hancock’s rant. Steve is a very good sailor in the Finn, TP52, VOR and past Whitbread fleet, and he is also a friend who I raced with – along with John Fisher and the rest of the Sun Hung Kai Scallywag crew, on Leg Zero of the VOR. So what I am wondering is – why is Brian Hancock so angry? Did he know John Fisher? Did he sail with him? Does he know John’s family? Does he know any of the Scallywag crew or shore team?
I am really, really, saddened by the loss of John. The last time I spoke with him was in the crew base in Auckland just before this leg – I was actually passing on the best wishes from a good friend Amber in Auckland who used to work with him, and that brought a huge smile to John’s face. A big part of my sadness now is thinking about Witty, and Libby and Ben and Alex, Annemieke, Tom – to all of the crew and the OBR on the boat right now, who with John’s wife and family are absolutely – and I mean completely broken. I have looked and listened at what people have said about the loss of John Fisher – the messages from the other boats, from the VOR CEO Richard Brisius and private messages back to me from Scallywag’s shore team, all who are utterly devastated and many are still in shock at the loss of a really good man.
Nobody is angry here, not at “the management team at VOR being complicit in the death of John Fisher” as Brian bizarrely states, not at the boat design, and nobody is making any firm statements until they know the facts – except Brian Hancock, who from his own admission has never set foot on a VO65, and seems to be preaching from some self imposed moral high ground after racing on Whitbread yachts decades ago.
The problem isn’t with the Volvo Ocean Race, or the teams, or the current boats – the Whitbread 60’s were introduced way back in 1993/94, and they were pushed extremely hard by the likes of Laurie Smith and Chris Dickson and were brutally wet and exposed, as were the later VO70’s – the problem I think is with you Brian. Whatever happens – you rant, Sun Hung Kai Scallywag win a leg into Hong Kong and you dismiss their achievement. Now they lose a crew member and you fill column inches with your anger. That is just sad.
Blue Robinson