The final competitors make their way to Qatar for the start of the Oryx Quest 2005 which starts in just 10 days

The dockside in Qatar is a hive of activity this morning with the arrival over the weekend of two more of the giant multihulls contesting Oryx Quest 2005 which starts on 5 February.

Tony Bullimore’s 102ft catamaran Daedalus was first to arrive, slipping quietly into Doha harbour on Saturday evening. The final 400-mile stage of the trip, with light following winds and flat seas, was calm compared to the 30 knot surfs enjoyed on the way to Gibraltar just before Christmas.

The veteran skipper was in great spirits as he stepped ashore commenting: “We’re really pleased to be here. The trip has been fantastic, very valuable experience. We have spent a lot of time putting in and taking out reefs, checking over equipment, organising racing procedures and learning how we can make the boat go that little bit faster, all good stuff for the race. There is no doubt, we are going to be on form, and we will be one of the best organised crews.”

The crew will spend the coming days removing the multihull’s engines as a final weight-saving modification, and completing minor repairs.

The second arrival was French ocean racing legend Olivier de Kersauson aboard Geronimo, at 110ft the world’s largest racing trimaran. Geronimo and her support craft Ocean Alchemist left Brest on 29 December and have completed the 6,200-mile journey in 25 days. The trip has provided the ideal opportunity to test modifications made since the trimaran’s Jules Verne Trophy-winning circumnavigation last year, and to finalise crew selection.

The new arrivals join Qatar 2006 (formerly Maiden II), which has recently undergone an extensive refit in Qatar. She was re-launched last week and is now in the final stages of preparation for the race. Part of this process involves the fitting of specialised camera and communications equipment, supplied by the race organisation, to allow high quality audio and video footage to be transmitted during the course of the competition and provide the viewing public with the best possible means of following the action. All competitors will receive this equipment in the next few days.

Steve Fossett’s Cheyenne, holder of the outright around-the-world record, is expected to arrive in Dubai today, having travelled from Antwerp as deck cargo. After stepping her mast she will complete the voyage to Qatar under sail.