"Man, that ain't right. None of us can even go out fishing, and he's at the yacht races," said Bobby Pitre, 33, who runs a tattoo shop in the crossroads town of Larose, La. "I wish we could get a day off from the oil, too."
BP spokespeople rushed to defend Hayward, who has drawn withering criticism as the public face of BP PLC's halting efforts to stop the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
Company spokesman Robert Wine said the break is the first for Hayward since the Deepwater Horizon rig BP was leasing exploded April 20, killing 11 workers and setting off the undersea gusher.
"He's spending a few hours with his family at a weekend. I'm sure that everyone would understand that," Wine said.
He noted Hayward is a well known as a fan of the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, one of the world's largest, which attracts more than 1,700 boats and 16,000 sailors as famous yachtsmen compete with wealthy amateurs in a 50-nautical mile course around the island at England's southern tip.
"Bob" finished fourth in its group. It was not clear whether Hayward actually took part in Saturday's race or attended as a spectator.
"It is not clear" whether anyone at BP understands how offensive this must be to the people are losing their livelihoods due to the spill and the people who died when the gusher blew. "It is not clear" whether anyone at BP has more than half a brain.