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19 April 2005, 10:00 am
On The Home Stretch
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Oryx Quest 2005

Another flat calm sea greeted Tony BULLIMORE (GBR) and his crew on Daedalus as they started day 72 of their around-the-world odyssey. They are becalmed once more, this time among the shipping and fishing traffic in the Strait of Hormuz.
At the 0700 hours GMT poll Daedalus was officially around the corner and pointing her bows directly towards Doha for the first time since leaving Qatar many weeks ago.

If man had the ability to see over the horizon, BULLIMORE would be able to see the towering sand dunes and palm trees that are the hallmark of the Gulf State. Instead all he can see is a glassy ocean dotted with oil rigs and gas drilling platforms, also a hallmark of Qatar. 'So near and yet so far,' BULLIMORE noted in his daily log.

From the bend in the Strait it is 275 miles to Doha. They may well be the longest 275 miles endured by the crew since setting off on the race as the forecast holds little hope of a fast and furious finish. The Met office in Doha is reporting ten to 20 knots of wind from the northwest during the day today, but also reports variable two to five knots in the Strait.

BULLIMORE and his team are going to have to get free from the grip of sultry air before they find fresh breeze, by which time it is likely to be nightfall and the water usually becomes flat calm during the dark hours. Like the crew on Doha 2006 before them, BULLIMORE and his team are just going to have to be patient. The race always comes to an end; it is just the when it will end that remains a mystery. In a short missive BULLIMORE gave his best ETA estimate of Wednesday afternoon, local time.

Before daybreak this morning BULLIMORE sat at the navigation station and typed his daily log. It is a habit that has become routine. It has also been a good time to reflect on the day past and the day ahead and to keep the thousands of people around the world that are following the Oryx Quest 2005 appraised of life on board Daedalus. In what may be his final log of the race BULLIMORE described the conditions.

'The winds are exceedingly light and very fickle,' he wrote. 'One minute we build up a boat speed of around eight knots and the next the wind has almost completely gone. This is a real assault course, but it is the kind of stuff that you sharpen your ability on and if you come out of it with a smile and a good stride, you have gained a little more in your life.'

The time spent at the nav station is also good for 'what ifs'. BULLIMORE and his navigator Nick LEGGATT (RSA) have been calculating their performance in the Oryx Quest and measuring it against the performance turned in by the late Peter BLAKE (NZL) and Robin KNOX JOHNSTON (GBR) on the same boat when it was named ENZA. It is an apples and oranges type of comparison, but if they cross the finish line before 0915 GMT on Thursday they would have bested ENZA's performance when the boat broke the Jules Verne round the world sailing record in 1994.

Considering the current wind conditions it may be a close race against the ghost crew of ENZA. In any event BULLIMORE is pleased with their performance in this race and credits much of it to his crew. His log continues; 'For us to drive the boat hard enough to break the old record, come second in the Oryx Quest 2005 race, get at least one of the leg records on the way round the world, and have several 500 mile plus days runs, is something all the crew can be very proud of. It is a statement of what a team of enthusiastic sportsman can do when put to the test. l can say that l have really enjoyed racing with all the guys on board, whether they are the crew with a lot of racing experience, such as Nick LEGGATT, or have hardly done any sailing which applies to one or two of the crew. Without doubt l applaud each and every one of the Daedalus team for consistently giving it there best shot. They deserve it.'

In order to arrive before 0915 GMT on Thursday, Daedalus will need to average 5.2 knots, precisely the speed the boat was travelling the last time it was polled.

Brian Hancock (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Daedalus:© Quest International Sports
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