…but not for a few months. Tony Bullimore chats to yachtingworld.com about his record attempt plans 7/6/07

British yachtsman Tony Bullimore who had to abort his recent solo circumnavigation attempt on 11 May says he’s now preparing to do it again.

Sixty-eight-year-old Bullimore was forced to retire just a few days after he left Hobart when a 50mm pin holding the forestay on his 102ft catamaran Doha lost its retaining bolt. Fifty-knot headwinds however, hampered his progress back to shore and it took over two weeks to reach New Zealand.

Bullimore finally arrived in Auckland, under tow from Cape Colville, on 29 May and has spent the last week or so working with his shore team carrying out essential repairs before he sets off again back to Hobart. Although he agrees it’s far too late to set off again this season, the plan is to go as soon as possible next season – effectively his last chance to break the current world speed record before the spate of new generation boats hit the water.

Chatting this morning from Auckland, Bullimore told yachtingworld.com that nothing is going to stop him attempting the record again: “I was absolutely devastated. The boat was going so well on the first two days, I was above the speeds I needed – doing 20-25kts. Had I still been out there I’d have been round the Azores by now and on my way back. So yes, I am determined to go for it again.

“Unfortunately it’s a bit late into the winter now so I may have to park up until the spring. I’m now looking at a possible November start. In the meantime, I’ll leave the boat here [in Auckland] and head back to the UK to see my family. Then later in the year I’ll sail the boat from Auckland to Hobart to await the start.”

Bullimore agrees that realistically if he has any chance at all of breaking the record in his 20-year-old boat he has to set off as soon as he can. Although it is unclear at this stage who Bullimore is likely to be up against next season – apart from say Francis Joyon – there is no doubt that these will be sailing the new generation, faster lighter boats, that will leave Bullimore in their wake. When questioned whether he really thinks he has a chance, Bullimore added: “Yes, I wouldn’t be here if I thought there was no chance.”

Bullimore said that there’s a possibility that after his next attempt he might put the boat on the market, adding: “I haven’t decided for sure yet but if I do make the boat available for sale, I’ll definitely be looking at something new.”