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15 April 2005, 09:54 am
Something To Smile About
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Oryx Quest 2005

Tony BULLIMORE (GBR) and his crew on Daedalus remain on a steady track north as they look to close the loop on a successful circumnavigation of the world. For the past two days the have been sailing in a light wind heading for the coast of Oman.
There is nothing spectacular about their progress, but the very fact that the are moving at a reasonable speed, on a reasonable course, is something to smile about.

At the 0700 hours GMT poll on Friday morning Daedalus was just over 200 miles from the coast sailing in a light easterly wind. The breeze, which is being generated by a moderate area of low pressure to their north, is forecast to move into the southeast as they reach the western side of the system. This will allow the crew to sail a more direct course towards the entrance of the Gulf of Oman as they skirt between the low lying land and the centre of the high. The trick is going to be able to keep the wind.

If the high continues to move to the east as forecast, life should be sweet on the good ship Daedalus. If it remains stationary, or worse yet, moves back towards the west, the mood will turn ugly. High pressure weather is beach weather, but a day at the beach is not on the list of things to do for the weary team as the near the end of their lap of the planet.

BULLIMORE described their strategy in his daily log: 'We are making progress and we are now starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,' he wrote. 'Although it is rather small at the moment. Our aim is to sail close to the Oman shoreline, and if everything goes to plan, the wind should start to veer round and carry us along the shore and around to the Straits of Hormuz.'

There is just 375 miles to go to the entrance of the Strait where it is likely that they will encounter the same light and fickle conditions enjoyed by Brian THOMPSON (GBR) and his team on Doha 2006 just over a week ago. BULLIMORE's log continues: 'We have around 850 to 900 miles to go and if we can keep the boat going, and if we can wipe off around 200 to 250 miles per day, we will have an idea of when we will cross the finishing line. We have been looking for a magic 400 mile plus day to knock a big lump of distance off, but l really do not think this will come along.'

The four hundred mile back-to-back days south of the equator where the boat gobbled up the miles must seem like a distant memory to BULLIMORE and his team. On the other hand their progress has been far better than that made by Doha 2006 in the same area, and for that they must be grateful.

While the urge to get to the end of the race must be strong, life on board is not too bad. Surrounded by brilliant turquoise water, sailing a massive maxi-catamaran and the good feeling of a long, difficult passage almost behind you, the crew must simply sit and savour the remaining 800 odd miles of their voyage.

At least they are not on food restrictions like their fellow competitors on Doha 2006 were for the last two weeks of the race. 'Our freeze dried food is holding out, we have no problem with fresh water, our on board desalination plants are working well, the crew are getting a lot of rest.' BULLIMORE wrote. 'In fact Ian MUNSLOW [(GBR)] and Mike INGLIS ([GBR)] have been doing some exercises. Personally, l have been relaxing on the net under the bowsprit, reading a book and waiting for the winds to help us along.' He then added. 'A mug of coffee is coming over. The timing is absolutely right, but before I settle down for a while, l am going to have a wander round the boat, without tripping over bodies that seem to be everywhere, to check that all is in order. It is so easy to get a false sense of why we are here. It is so relaxing and so very lovely, one can easily forget that we are still competing in the Oryx Quest 2005 race and the finishing line is just around the corner.'

While BULLIMORE and his team battle the last few hundred miles to Qatar, Doha 2006 sits alone at the same dock where the boat was tied up for months before the race started. This great boat has completed two laps of the globe, and won on both occasions. The crew have all departed leaving the old war horse to sit idle in the sun. It is a pity that boats cannot talk; this wonderful yacht would certainly have a lot of stories to tell.

Brian Hancock. Image, Things are going well on Daedalus:© Quest International Sports
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