Magazine article Management Today

BT Captain Who Prizes Sailing

Magazine article Management Today

BT Captain Who Prizes Sailing

Article excerpt

BT's deputy chief executive, Dr Alan Rudge, is preparing to take part in the BT Global Challenge round-the-world yacht race. Here he talks with race founder and yachtsman Chay Blyth about the satisfactions of sailing

'One of the things I find most satisfying about sailing,' says Dr Alan Rudge, 'is the immediate feedback you get from your decisions. It's rare in management that you make a decision and can see clearly that it was the right one straight away. In sailing, if you get it wrong, you know immediately - but if you get it right, there's a great sense of satisfaction that you've done something well.'

Rudge's enthusiasm for sailing runs deep. From early days spent learning in dinghies, his love of the sport has grown to the stage where he is now the owner of a 45-ft yacht. He has logged more than 15,000 nautical miles and taken part in three Fastnet races.

We first met in 1992 through his involvement with the Whitbread round-the-world yacht race. In one of our early conversations I commented that, rather than being involved in a race with someone else's name on it, BT should have its own. This chance comment seems to have sowed a seed in Rudge's mind. 'The company was making plans for its global expansion at this time, and a round-the-world yacht race seemed to be a suitable vehicle for promoting our endeavours,' explains Rudge.

For Rudge, the businessman, the commercial opportunity the race provides is the main reason to invest in such an event. But for Rudge, the sailor, it's also a wonderful chance to get involved in the sport he loves. The event began at the end of September and is due to finish in Southampton in July 1997. Rudge is preparing to take part as a crew member aboard the yacht Global Teamwork during the third leg of the race from Wellington, New Zealand, to Sydney, Australia, early next year.

'You can't be a sailor and get mixed up in this without wanting to take part,' says Rudge. 'Although it's the shortest leg of the race, I doubt if it will be a doddle because it's the southern ocean. It's going to be very exciting and a challenge.' A challenge indeed. I well remember that leg from my first Whitbread race. We had left Sydney bound for New Zealand and, after just three days, were hit by a southerly burster and French yachting ace Eric Tabarly's 74-ft yacht was dismasted! …

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