Tony Bullimore reports from onboard his 102ft maxi catamaran Daedalus, now speeding down the Red Sea towards Doha

Tony Bullimore reports from onboard his 102ft maxi catamaran Daedalus, now speeding down the Red Sea towards Doha, and the start of Tracy Edwards Oryx Quest 2005 round the world race, starting from the Qatar Capital on Feburary 5.

“Formula One racing in the Red Sea; that is how l describe it. We are doing a steady 25 kts overtaking 50,000 ton ships very quickly, as we make our way towards the Horn of Africa, the waterway that separates Asia from the African Continent. We have passed oil rigs, fishing boats and many very big merchant ships. Everyone has been so friendly and helpful, all the way from Port Said on our passage through the Suez Canal.

“The big announcement today is the appointment of Goncalo Melo as Watch Leader for the Oryz Quest 2005. This has raised a cheer from all the crew who have great faith that he will contribute greatly to the future success of the campaign. Goncalo’s helming skills are legendary.

“Goncalo, has raced with me for the last few years and was on board when ‘Daedalus’ won the Multihull Class in the 2004 Fastnet Race and the 2005 Middle Sea Race in the Medditeraneum. He was also a key player on board ‘Daedalus’ when she set two North Atlantic Records in 2003, Gomera in the Canaries to Port St Charles in Barbados and then the Montego Bay, Jamaica to Lands End, Great Britain record – both records ratified by the WSSRC (The World Sailing Speed Record Council).

“Goncalo hails from Lisbon, Portugal, and is married with a daughter named India. Commenting Goncalo said: ‘I am delighted to be appointed Watch Leader on board Daedalus, we are a fantastic team, and each and every one of us are hell bent on being the first boat across the finishing line in the Oryx Quest 2005 round the world race’.

“We have enjoyed an extremely fast passage since leaving Bristol in December. ‘Daedalus’ completed the first stage to Gibralter in 3 days and we crossed Mediterranean to reach Port Said in time to celebrate the New Year. What record to the bottom of the Red Sea? At the moment the wind is behind us and moving us along at a steady 23-25 knots. We are still wearing our oilskins, but temperatures are climbing and tomorrow should be our first in shorts and t-shirts.

“If these winds continue, we will be in Doha by January 15, several days ahead of schedule!

“Since leaving Gibraltar, we hear that Olivier de Kersauson and his crew on their trimaran ‘Geronimo’ have left France bound for the start of the Oryx Quest, and that David Scully is a late entry with Steve Fossett’s 125ft ‘Cheyenne’ which is going to be shipped by sea from Plymouth to Doha this Sunday. They are going to miss one of the rides of their life. This voyage from Bristol has certainly been one of the fastest and most enjoyable I have had in 30 years of racing multihulls!

“It all bodes well for the race starting on February 5.”