I guess I should start with a disclaimer. I am not now, nor have I ever been paid by the Wild Oats Team or the Oatley family. I have however, sailed on the boat in my capacity as a writer for Seahorse, along with Comanche, Info Track, Scallywag and Black Jack (even sailing back on its maiden voyage when it was Alfa Romeo.)
When I heard of Stacey Jackson’s plans to put together ORR team on WOX in a very condensed time period, I offered my services as a writer voluntarily to her – and I am delighted to say she accepted, and so I happened to be standing next to Sandy Oatley when Wild Oats XI crossed the line in Hobart. There was a lot of emotion amongst the family – and a lot of glancing skywards, thinking of Bob Oatley, and remembering the person that he was, and how proud he would have been to see this moment.
I have known this team for about twenty years, and I consider them to be good people – along with the other crews that I bumped into in Hobart from boats big and small. From my perspective on the dock, the issue with the tracker affected by Channel 7 uploading content from WOXI was unknown to the crew onboard. To consider otherwise, means you are calling these guys cheats – and in this free world you can pretty much call anybody anything, but that accusation means all the crew and the owners.
Are you going to accuse Mark Richards of cheating? Or Chris Links? Or Sam Newton? What about Iain Murray, a remarkable sailor with a key leadership role in the Australian Sailing Team. What about Steve Jarvin and Paul Magee or Glenn Bourke or Juan Villa, are you going to call one of the finest and most modest navigators on the planet a cheat? And the family – would you look into the eyes of Sandy Oatley and label him a cheat? If you do that, you go to the very heart of the integrity of these people – and I mean it. I helped deliver WOXI back (unpaid) and trusted delivery skipper Paul Magee with my life – which is really what you do when you go offshore with people.
From my perspective – and it is my perspective, these are a bunch of very good sailors and good human beings. But cheats? No. – Blue Robinson.