At dusk on Wednesday evening the boat was still moving, albeit slowly, however as darkness descended and the last whisper of wind left with the last light of day. Daedalus was once more flat becalmed on a glassy, heaving sea. There was not much the crew could do other than to try and eke a tenth of a knot of boat speed from the listless sails. Dawn brought little relief, but by midmorning a gentle wind filled in allowing Daedalus to scoot towards the finish. No sooner was the line in sight than the wind died again leaving them becalmed once more.
Race officials came alongside and together they marvelled at how the small bubbles in the water were overtaking the giant cat. Finally at 11:20:48 GMT (14:20:48 local time) they crossed the finish line three miles off Doha's lovely waterfront to take second place in the Oryx Quest 2005 and signal the end of the event. A week of chasing passing zephyrs and dodging passing ships had finally come to a finish. The crew set off flares to celebrate and a huge smile of relief and happiness crossed the skippers weathered face. It was a job well done, despite the frustrations.
When Daedalus showed up in Qatar earlier this year ready for another race around the world, more than a few people smiled at the audacity of a skipper who would enter an older yacht against some of the newest and fastest multihulls in the world. True, Daedalus is an old warhorse with many miles under her twin daggerboards. The skipper, also an old warhorse, has many miles under his belt and together they looked slightly incongruous alongside the likes of Doha 2006 and Geronimo.
|Daedalus crosses the finish line
© Quest International Sports
Despite a recent refit Daedalus still bore the scars of many miles of tough offshore sailing. At a pre-race press conference BULLIMORE smiled when asked how he planned to spend his prize money should he win. It was a wry smile; perhaps the skipper knew more than the journalists in attendance. He knew that in order to win you have to finish and history is a great teacher. Most around-the-world races have some attrition and BULLIMORE knew that if he could hang tough, sail smart and keep a clean nose he might be in for a chance. In the end he did more than that. He sailed a great race, took on the challenge, dodged a few hurricanes, set a new record from the Cape of Good Hope to Mauritius, and took a well deserved second place in the inaugural Oryx Quest event.
Throughout the last 75 days BULLIMORE has kept a steady head. His daily logs reveal a thoughtful skipper, quick to praise his crew and quick to praise his boat. It really does take skill, cunning and a lot of luck to finish a non-stop sprint around the planet and BULLIMORE was blessed with all of the above. His daily logs dwelt a lot on food and now that this race is finally over, BULLIMORE can tuck into a mind numbing hot curry and chase it with a few glasses of festival water. Both the meal and the drinks will taste sweeter after almost three months at sea, and they will be well deserved. Same too for the crew. Alongside the more professional teams on Cheyenne, Doha 2006 and Geronimo, the Daedalus crew looked relatively green, but they too persevered, sailed smart and in the end prevailed. They deserve much of the accolade being lauded on the boat.
In a few days the Team Daedalus gang will disburse. BULLIMORE will return to Bristol, Great Britain and likely stop by his local for a glass of something cold. His friends will ask what he has been up to, and BULLIMORE, with a slight smile, will probably tell them that he has been out for a sail. Only he and his crew will know just how tough the last three months have been. They have endured the heat of two tropical crossings and the cold of a sprint around Antarctica. They have also been well rewarded for their efforts. $300,000 awaits them on prize giving night, their reward for a second place finish.