BULLIMORE explained, 'Early next week the crew will reach the Maldives where I will join them for the final two week voyage down into the Southern Ocean and around Australia to the start and finish point of this record.
'The delays over the last seven weeks caused by last minute additions to logos on the sails, have not been all bad news. They have given me the opportunity to return home for a few days to see my wife Lalel who has been tremendously supportive, and put the start of this record back until November - spring time in the southern hemisphere. Then the weather will be better than if I had set out during the southern winter months.
'My choice of Hobart as the start and finish point for this record, has raised some eyebrows, particularly within the French yachting community, who question why I am not going from the traditional northern hemisphere start point off Ushant.
'The first point is that the course distance, which has been ratified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council [(WSSRC)], is exactly the same as if I start and finish off the French island. Second, the international rules that govern these records make no restriction on where these round the world records commence. And third, it is quicker for me to sail from Doha to Hobart, than it is to return for a Northern Hemisphere start.
'The point of this record attempt is to fly the flag for the 2006 Asian Games. The current solo round the world record, set last year by Dame Ellen MACARTHUR [(GBR)] in the trimaran B&Q, stands at 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes and 33 seconds. I am convinced that my larger catamaran can complete the 27,000 mile course in 70 days. By starting from Hobart, I will be little more than a day away from the westerly winds in the Roaring Forty latitudes that will slingshot me across the first 5,000 mile stage to Cape Horn. I then follow the South American coast northwards across the Equator from where I must pick my way through the calms of the Doldrums and those associated with the Azores high pressure system to round the island of Flores before returning southwards to the Cape of Good Hope.
'I will be guided throughout by American weather router Lee BRUCE, who will be advising me about impending weather systems on a daily, if not hourly basis. Once I am past Africa and back into the Southern Ocean, I will be relying on Bruce to help me avoid the worst of the Roaring Forty winds that will speed Doha 2006 towards Cape Leuwin marking the Western tip of Australia, and passed the point where I spent five dark days capsized during the 1997-19988 Vendée Globe Race.
'Once across the Australian Bight, I must navigate my way across Bass Strait and back to Hobart, which is perhaps the hardest part of the whole voyage because the area is strewn with oil rigs, and will leave me with little opportunity to sleep. Then, I will be running on adrenalin - especially if my 70 day target is in sight!'
Record: Round the world, non stop, single-handed
Skipper: Ellen MACARTHUR (GBR)
Dates: 28 November 2004-7 February 2005
Elapsed time: 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes and 33 seconds
Distance: 21,760 nm
Average speed: 12.66 kts