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Quadstone Leads

by Betsy Crowfoot , Senior Writer, Quokka Sports on 23 Sep 2000
The big orange boat goes from rags to riches with a first place showing.


It was barely one month ago that Alex Phillips' BT Global Challenge 2000/01 team learned
their sponsor -- which had signed on just a few months earlier -- would have to pull out.

"Of course, out on the water, it doesn't make a damn bit of difference what your sponsor does for you
ashore but, try as you may, it has been hard not to feel like the poor relative in the raggedy clothes,"
wrote crew member Andrew Norrie.

Since that time however, the Scottish software company Quadstone stepped in as sponsor. The
newly incarnated Team Quadstone set sail on the Challenge on 10 September and today took over
the lead of the 12-boat fleet.

"I have been jumping around all day today, trying to contain my excitement" said Quadstone
executive programme manager Vanessa Jones from her office in Windsor, England. "This is
unbelievable, it's everything I dreamed of and more."

It was Jones and marketing director Glyn Read who had the chore of selling Quadstone management
on the merits of sponsorship. "When I first mentioned this, they were flabbergasted. They couldn't
believe I would suggest they get involved in an ocean-going yacht race."

But Read and Jones' enthusiasm helped clinch the deal. "They didn't know what they were getting in
to, but trusted us completely," Read said, "and today they're on cloud nine."

"The president in the Boston market is preparing the welcome of all welcomes!"

Before the start, team member John Bailes had written, "I can't say that the sponsorship issue has
not effected us. I can say we are a determined group … knowing that we were one of the unsponsored
yachts, we would forge forward, raise our own funds, put our business plan together, sail our yacht to
a respectable showing and fulfil our dream of sailing around the world."

So, when Quadstone upped their participation from Business Club Member to full sponsorship, Jones
found a team which was, "very resourceful. They had made up their minds to be competitive with or
without a sponsor."

Added Read, "The reality is, they did appear to be the underdogs. And they could have gone one of
two ways. They could have gone completely ragged; but alternately they bonded together in a way
that they were an absolute tight unit.

"They've been challenged with adversity before the race even started," said Read, "and we ended up
with the team of all teams."

Three days after the start, Quadstone was solidly in the top half of the fleet. On 14 September the big
orange boat slipped to seventh place, but quickly scrapped its way back to fourth. From aboard,
Sharon Dickie reported, "Position-wise we're half way across the Atlantic and have picked up some
good winds in the last few days. Today our position is fourth with Logica third. We've been playing
with them for days now and have as I speak passed them."

Then, during the night of 18 September, Quadstone moved in to second place and put frontrunner LG
FLATRON in their sites. Perhaps, as Dickie let on, they had tried something unconventional. "Given
LG's position, Phil [Philip Marshall] has suggested that we should throw our milk powder overboard as
they obviously are doing fine without it."

After three days in second place, Quadstone plowed in to the lead. At press time Quadstone had a
25-mile lead over second place BP and 42 miles over LG FLATRON.

Read was on holiday Friday, driving through the Scottish Highlands, when a senior executive from a
major partner company called to share the good news. "The whole day has completely erupted with
people ringing me," Read announced.

"I don't think people realise the power of communications that happen around an event like this. In the
space of three weeks the whole company has got involved in this. They are so excited and captivated
by this thing."

"And software people are technically minded people," Glyn reminded. "They're not often disposed to
euphoria!"

"The whole company is behind them; customers and partners as well," Jones continued. "I absolutely
will be there to greet them at the dock -- whatever the time, whatever the place."

"These are conquering heroes. Alex is an absolute heroine -- she walks on water," Read gushed.
"Whatever happens to them from now on, they can do no wrong. I'm immensely proud to be a part of
this effort."

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