Bullimore's solo record is surely scuppered, and why we should remember this day 10 years ago


One of the happy side benefits of Francis Joyon’s impending solo record – fingers crossed – is that it lets Tony Bullimore off the hook. The sailor the tabloids billed ‘Captain Calamity’ must surely be heaving a sigh of relief in secret. There wasn’t the remotest, slimmest hope of him beating Ellen’s record in his underfunded, outdated maxi catamaran.

As it happens, today is exactly the day 10 years ago that bestowed on Tony his current fame. Can you believe it was a whole decade ago that he was rescued from the upturned hull of his Open 60 Exide Challenger by the Australian Navy and the papers splashed on this dramatic near-death photo?

The image is worth looking at closely again, all the more so if you happen to be a yacht designer or structural engineer. Ten years ago, the Australians also rescued Thierry Dubois from his upturned 60 Amnesty International after she capsized with the keel still attached.

Thereafter there was a vast amount of soul-searching and technical resolve to ensure the boats righted themselves after a capsize. Which they now do. The issue that urgently needs more serious head-scratching unless we are to see this sort of photo again is how to get the the keels to stay on.