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Bullimore to Circumnavigate from Hobart

by Emma Pinch on 12 May 2006
Tony Bullimore . . His most famous outing on the high seas saw him shipwrecked and dramatically rescued by the Australian navy.

But 67-year-old Tony Bullimore's thirst for adventure remains as strong as ever. Yesterday he announced plans to set off on a solo round-the-world voyage in a bid to beat Dame Ellen MacArthur's world record.

The former Birmingham businessman will set sail from Hobart, in Tasmania, within the next two months at the wheel of his huge 102ft catamaran, Team Daedalus.

It will be his first lone circumnavigation attempt since his journey nine years ago when he survived for five days in the upturned hull of his boat after it capsized in the Southern Ocean.

He said setting sail round the world by himself was like 'getting back on the horse'.

He added: 'It's like everything else you can talk about for half your life. You need to say I'm going to do that or I'll never do it.

'Next year I'll do something else and the year after, I don't know. I'm getting a bit old but like anyone else in sport you never want to give it up.

'What happened last time is that the keel snapped off in a really horrendous storm. It could have happened to other people but it happened to me.

'I knew all the rules and regulations, the safety, navigation and sail repairs so I'm pretty clued up to it all. Why do you go back? Because it's like getting back on the horse.'

He said the success of his mission would depend on three elements.

'The boat has to be absolutely right. I've got to be fit and ready to go for it and push the boat 24 hours a day all the way round the world. Thirdly, we must have absolutely the correct weather conditions.'

He said a member of his team would be based in the United States tracking the weather via satellite and advising him on the best route to go. Mr Bullimore is hoping to smash Dame Ellen's solo round-the-world record of 71 days, 14 hours and 18 minutes, which she set last February, by completing the voyage in under 70 days.

'I've been round the world several times so I know my way around and I know the boat as well,' he said. 'If I've got the right weather conditions, there's a good chance I will break the record,' he said. 'If I get the wrong weather conditions it's very likely I won't break it.'

The journey will take in Cape Horn, Rio De Janeiro and the Azores, before turning south to the Cape of Good Hope and back to Tasmania.

The route is considered less conventional than Dame Ellen's and will see Mr Bulli-more take on the ferocious Southern Ocean during the southern hemisphere winter. But his yacht is considerably bigger than Dame Ellen's 75ft trimaran, B&Q, which means it will be capable of going faster in certain conditions. It is also much heavier and older than the Derbyshire yachtswoman's recordbreaking boat.

Mr Bullimore, who has sailed more than 300,000 miles, is currently in training at his home in Westbury Park, Bristol, for the adventure.

'The mental side I'm pretty good at,' he said. 'I really enjoy single-handed sailing. I like a challenge. There are a few people who can do it and they really enjoy it.

'I love the power of the wind, where you haven't got engines and that sort of thing. I thoroughly enjoy being on my own at sea,' he added. 'I like the sea itself, I like Mother Nature, it's what I do.'

In advance of the attempt, he will also try to set a new round-Australia record - probably just as a warm-up! The boat is currently in Doha, capital of Qatar in the Middle East.

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