Tony Bullimore will race his 102ft catamaran in Tracy Edwards's round the world race

Round the world yachtsman Tony Bullimore today re-launched his famous 102ft racing catamaran at Avonmouth Docks in his home town of Bristol, UK. His boat Daedalus will compete in the Oryx Quest 2005 around the world race, starting and finishing in Doha, Qatar, on February 5. Team Bullimore will be one of four crews chasing a $1million prize in this first ever HSBC-sponsored global yacht race to start and finish in the Arabian Gulf.

The 21,000 mile race takes the fleet down the Indian Ocean into the Southern Ocean and around the five great capes of Australia, New Zealand, South America and South Africa before returning to the oil state of Qatar at the end of April, in what will undoubtedly be a new world record time for any circumnavigation.

Bullimore and his seven-man crew have given their famous multihull an exhaustive re-fit, renewing sails and rigging, and equipped her with the latest navigation and communication aids. They have reduced her overall weight to the bare minimum. The crew will set sail from Avonmouth early next week on the 4,000 mile shake-down trip to Doha, when crew and boat will be honed to a competitive edge.

“The whole team has done a remarkable job,” said Bullimore. “The ‘Big Cat’ has never been this well prepared before. We have reduced the boat’s overall weight by a massive 1.2 tons which will make her much more competitive, especially in lighter winds. We have put together a top-class crew and all believe that we stand a better than ever chance of winning the $1million prize money.”

Daedalus is scheduled to reach the Qatar Capital in early January, a month before the race start, when her engines will be removed, further reducing her overall weight.

“Tony is a household name in sailing circles and we are delighted to have him and his crew on board for the Oryx Quest 2005,” said Alan Green, Race Director at Quest International Sports Events (QISE). “He is the first of four competitors sailing his multihull to Doha for one of the fastest yachting races the world will have seen. Preparations for the race on February 5th are intense but coming together speedily and agreeably. We are now in the final stages of putting this race together and it is enormously exciting to see that things are taking shape.”

Current entries for the Oryx Quest 2005 include Tony Bullimore’s Daedalus, Brian Thompson’s Qatar 2006, and Olivier de Kersauson’s Geronimo. A fourth entry will be announced shortly.