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BP's Hayward takes a day off for yacht race, infuriating gulf residents

Sunday, June 20, 2010; A02

BP chief executive Tony Hayward took a day off Saturday to see his 52-foot yacht "Bob" compete in a race off England's shore, a leisure trip that infuriated residents of the oil-stained Gulf Coast.

Hayward had already angered many in the United States by suggesting that Americans would be particularly likely to file bogus claims for compensation from the spill. He later shocked Louisiana residents by saying no one wanted to resolve the crisis as badly as he did because "I'd like my life back."

Ronnie Kennier, an oysterman from Empire, La., said the trip to the Isle of Wight showed once again that Hayward is out of touch with the financial and emotional suffering along the gulf.

"He wanted to get his life back," Kennier said. "I guess he got it."

As social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook lit up with anger, BP spokesman Robert Wine said the break is Hayward's first since the Deepwater Horizon rig BP was leasing exploded April 20.

"He's spending a few hours with his family at a weekend," Wine said. "I'm sure that everyone would understand that."

-- Associated Press

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