Statement for Team Linley Swan:
I have read this thread as it has developed and also spoken on the phone to various people who I thought it was appropriate to do so.
Before this goes any further I wanted to make a statement and put right a few key facts concerning the press release that was issued.
Firstly and above all my apology goes to those that entered the event and may, understandably feel upset by reading a release in this nature, as most completed the challenge with their own savings and made the event what is was, without corporate backing or support from various sponsors.
In the nature of sponsorship, marketing and PR there is always a commercial angle or story that needs to be made out of an event, to gain a return on investment. As we all know a dramatisation of the event or story is common place and to be expected from a PR team, their role and salary comes from looking at the subject matter and making from that a news worthy piece.
If you take a moment to look at our own teams website: www.roundireland.co.uk
you will see no where a statement of competition or race terms. Rather the page listing the details of the event is labelled expedition and throughout the text, reads challenge, adventure and expedition. Words that are factual of the event while at the same time emotionally capturing the spirit of the event.
For our team, we wanted to build a special boat that improved the bread in the 6m category. We believe we did this, building a boat that had a new internal structure, custom built around a special seating structure with a redesigned lay-up, thus meaning the boat could maintain high speeds and operate in rough weather, with great comfort and zero fatigue on the structural elements of the vessel or crew.
Where possible we used our sponsors ethos of lightweight, fuel efficient design paired with good looks and race boat handling. Again we achieved this, with a new layup structure and weight distribution the A600 can achieve speeds of over 48knots, out performing many phantoms and hard sports boats of a similar size in a recent Poker Run. The boat during the Round Ireland challenge was extremely fuel efficient averaging close to 1.8-2nm per litre at an average speed of 27knots, thanks to weight of the boat, its set up and distribution.
The set up of activation with a sponsor is run through various avenues, out sourced PR companies, internal teams and external, you cannot police at all times the language used or messages from other departments, no matter how hard you try.
In this case, I was given a draft copy of the submitted press release. In this it refers to the "race" and "class win", "chequered flag" etc, also use of bio oil and fuel, a matter taken from a previous LS concept from 2 years ago and not relating to the current vessel in question!
I made several changes to this document, carefully balancing fact with marketing emotion. My changes were not copied into the final document thus the final version was not approved. Neither myself or my company had sight of the end release before its final release. In answer to those that have commented about the boat not completing the challenge due to the RNLI and travelling by road, I would again like to clarify this. At no time did we call the coastguard or RNLI for outside assistance in coming into Fenit. The weather was horrid this particular day, and at the time we turned tail en route to Dingle the A600 was running beautifully. As we neared the headland with the goal of gaining protection from the wind we came into the fistral, where the wind was accelerating down the mountainous hills and hitting the water, creating water spouts on a wind speed recorder showing wind speed figures twice the strength of that in the bay.
We made the decision that to round the headland was too dangerous and we headed back for Fenit. Approx 6nm from Fenit, we saw the coastguard helicopter above us, who after having tried to reach us on CH16 to monitor our progress (at the request of the land support crew) and could not reach us (we were running on channel 8 between the three boats), they made the decision to launch the lifeboat and helicopter as a safety precaution and shepherd the fleet into Fenit.
At about this time, my boat developed a fuel issue where a fuel switch-over leaver had become faulty, the boat would run for about a mile and then cut, we decided that rather than rectify this situation at sea we would take up a tow with one of the other RIBs and sort the minor issue in the safety of the marina. Once the lifeboat had arrived and monitored the situation they suggested they take up the tow, as they were a bigger vessel with more hands on deck, and suggested we come onboard for a cup of tea, there was no issue or hectic situation, they took up the tow for the last few miles and we enjoyed a ride in the wheelhouse. Who, after being at sea for several hours in a small boat in rough conditions, would turn this down?
We ran the boat in Fenit for the sponsors crew without problems, the coastguard advised the organisers that due to the weather not decreasing they strongly suggested we did not run the event the following, therefore the organizers grounded the event the next day, although as a crew we wanted to go by sea early the following day, it left no choice but to cross the headland by road. (We missed around 30 miles of the course, although we had re-done that amount returning back to Fenit!) Once in Dingle, we had the help of the engineers from Teams Blackhawk, Option 4 & Top Cat and were able to fully rectify the issue with the fuel line and we continued without problem for the rest of the trip.
We understand the frustration from some that believe this release gives the impression of something else, however I want to assure you, as Linley Swan we have always billed this event as an offshore challenge, building a boat to not only complete the trip but do so, testing new technology and maintaining a higher level of comfort, performance and fuel economy, we believe for our size we completed our goal, often the boat ran better at higher speeds than some boats in the fleet could maintain, thus meaning, as with several others, we had to back off and burn more fuel, even when paired with boats of similar size and horsepower.
It is worth to highlight the positive sides to PR companies and social media, through the event teams were able to raise funds for charities, our own team managing to raise over 28,000 for Great Ormond Street, a massive amount of funds which will be hugely beneficial to children who need it most, this was only made possible through our sponsorship platform and marketing assistance.
Anyone who would like to demo or test the boat and its equipment is more than welcome to book themselves in with Linley Swan, I would welcome reviews of the boat and comments from those that have actually seen the vessel and had the experience of helming her.
Likewise if anyone has further comments or questions in relation to the event, our team, boat or sponsors I welcome your call or email. I would be happy to settle any issues privately and personally.