) -


(BP) - Get BP p.l.c. Sponsored ADR Report

's embattled CEO Tony Hayward is facing renewed criticism after attending a yacht race off the coast of England on Saturday.

With America struggling to control the worst oil spill in the country's history, the BP chief took time off to attend a yacht race off the Isle of Wight, according to


, prompting outrage on this side of the Atlantic.

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel took a swipe at Hayward during an interview with

ABC News

on Saturday. "This has just been part of a long line of PR gaffes and mistakes," he said. "I think we can all conclude that Tony Hayward is not going to have a second career in PR consulting."

"That's clearly a PR mistake, but he's made a number of those mistakes," added Emanuel. "What's important is: are we capping the well? Are we capturing the oil? Are we containing the cleanup? Are we filing the claims? Are we also cleaning up the mess? "

Hayward, who testified before Congress this week, has been described as

"the most hated man in America"

as a result of BP's role in the oil disaster.

Oil has been spewing into the Gulf of Mexico for more than two months since the

explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig

TheStreet Recommends

, and BP has proved unable to contain the growing environmental catastrophe.

In a statement, BP described Hayward's yachting trip as "a rare moment of private time," according to


, adding that the CEO is always in touch with BP's operations.

BP's oil well design has also been coming under increased scrutiny. Citing an analysis of federal data, the

Wall Street Journal

reports that BP is using the controversial 'long string' design in more than a third of its deepwater wells in the Gulf of Mexico, a higher figure than most of its rivals.

The 'long string' technique, which uses a single pipe along the length of the oil well, is seen as a cheap, yet risky, method for transferring oil. The alternative 'liner' design has more built-in places to prevent oil or gas from flowing up the well uncontrolled, according to the Journal.

A BP spokesman told


that 'long string' is an "accepted" drilling well design.

-- Reported by James Rogers in New York

Follow James Rogers on


and become a fan of