A solo round the world record in midwinter? No way. I still think Bullimore's on his way home


So Tony Bullimore has set off from Hobart at last to try to break Ellen MacArthur’s solo round the world record of 71 days. I certainly wish him the best of luck but I have not changed my view: Tony is sailing home.

It’s 1 May! The round the world season is well and truly over now. In a month’s time it will be midwinter in the Southern Ocean, with right stormy old weather and only eight hours of daylight each day at 50°S. Can you imagine the risks then?

What if Tony stuck to lower latitudes? Well, for one thing he wouldn’t be able to hitch a lift ahead of those fast-freighting fronts – which is what you need to set a record in these competitive times. The other disadvantage is distance. If you sail across the South at 40° you’d have to cover over 3,000 miles more than you would at 50°.

So I stick with my cynical view. Tony Bullimore’s route round the world takes him north of the Azores before turning south to continue round the Cape of Good Hope. Midway, he will be just a hop, skip and a jump from home. If he heads back to Hobart from the Azores, I will eat a Team Bullimore hat.