Weather still a problem for Bullimore

Weather predictions delay Tony Bullimore’s departure
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Tony Bullimore and his crew on the 102 foot catamaran Doha 2006, arrived in Hobart at on December 2nd 2006 to prepare for an attempt on Dame Ellen MacArthurs Round the World record of 71 days 14 hours.

In 1997, the British yachtsman rescued from his capsized yacht in the south ocean by the Australian Navy.

In November 2006 his 102ft catamaran Doha 2006 was on the way to Hobart from Qatar, via the Maldives, when Bullimore's support team advised West Australia Marine authorities that Doha 2006 was overdue and was out of contact.

A later revision from the Bulllimore weather router advised that she'd been delayed by light weather. There were issues with her satellite phone aerials and Bullimore finally contacted his wife by mobile phone, when close to the WA coast.

When Doha 2006, the former ENZA arrived in Hobart work commenced to strip more than three tonnes of extraneous gear and equipment, including her engines.

Since early January its been a waiting game as a succession of high pressure systems over Tasmania has delivered bushfire weather to Tasmania and Victoria, while keeping the powerful south ocean frontal systems at bay.

The weather prognosis from Lee Bruce, Team Bullimore’s weather guru looks bleak for another 10 days at least. It is the American forecaster who will give Tony Bullimore the green light to set out from Hobart on his attempt to break the 70 day barrier for sailing solo non-stop around the world.

Bruce writes: ‘The timeline chart shows the wind forecast for a point within a day's sail to the southeast of the start in Hobart.

We would prefer to start in a north or northeast wind ahead of a frontal boundary. This is to give a good sailing angle for the southeastward heading needed to get around New Zealand, and to help minimize the wave heights.

Instead of favourable winds, the timeline shows several bouts with strong southwest wind over the coming week.

Although that wind direction would put Tony on a reach, it also comes with a longer fetch than the north-quadrant wind,resulting in much more difficult--and slower--sailing due to large wave action. Wave heights in the southwest wind should climb to 6-8 meters.

So, the weather does not look reasonable for a start. And in the longer-range outlook, unfavourable conditions look likely to persist through to 5 February at least.’

Rescue authorities in New Zealand, South America, Africa and in Western Australia will be pleased to hear that for the record attempt, Doha 2006 will carry HF radio, VHF radio and hand held VHF radio and will therefore comply with at least Category 1 safety requirements, which is what Australian yachting authorities require for boats to sail the Rolex Sydney to Hobart race.

With extra satellite tracking units on the boat, this time Bullimore is unlikely to go missing again.