Tony Bullimore has set off in his attempt to break the 70-day solo round the world record 1/5/07

Today, 1 May, British yachtsman Tony Bullimore set out from Hobart, Tasmania on the Blue Ocean Wireless Round the World Challenge in an attempt to break the 70 day barrier for sailing solo non-stop around the world.

Onboard his 102ft catamaran Doha, the 68 year old yachtsman crossed the start line between The Iron Pot Lighthouse and Pearson’s Point marking the entrance to the River Derwent, at 16 knots, to quickly leave the flotilla of spectator craft in his wake.

Bullimore’s team had to wait three hours for the wind to fill to help hoist Doha’s massive sails – the mainsail alone weighs around 275kg, and stands 100ft high. Doha is the largest multihull anyone has attempted to sail sainglehanded around the world.

Bullimore also had to accept a tow from the World Sailing Speed Record Council start boat in order to get his engineless multihull to the start area.

The wind filled in at 1530 local time, and Doha was timed across the line at 05:50:09 GMT (15:50 local) speeding through the flat seas at 16 knots and was soon topping 21 knots in just 18 knots of breeze.

Bullimore is expecting winds to build to 25 knots, gusting to 35 knots. Tony Bullimore said: “It is lucky that I have a full moon tonight which will help me to get acclimatised, but Wednesday could bring even stronger winds as I head down around New Zealand’s South Island.

“I plan to throw in a couple of reefs later this evening in preparation for these stronger winds, so that I am fully prepared.”