With less than 48 hours til the start, Team Legato still has 150 miles of her qualifier to sail

1700GMT 29 December

With less than 48 hours to go before the start of The Race, work is still continuing with varying degrees of desperation on the six giant catamarans taking part in this the world’s first non-stop fully crewed round the world race.

Tony Bullimore’s Team Legato, the only British boat left in the event following the abandonment of Team Philips, along with the Polish Polpharma Warta team, seem to have the longest job lists.

Following their delivery trip down to the Med from Portishead, several crew have departed Team Legato and Bullimore has spent the last few days looking for replacements. Following his withdrawal from the Vendee Globe, Richard Tolkien has signed up to sail on board and he is likely to be joined by two former Team Philips crewmen Australian Paul Larsen and Alex Bennett. Earlier today Team Philips navigator Andy Hindley was on board checking out the electronics, in particular the dead SSB radio, as a favour to his former crewmates.

Following their delivery trip cum qualifier from England Bullimore’s crew seem happy with the structure of their 100ft Irens-designed catamaran (formerly ENZA New Zealand) after it was extended and had its bows raised. However next to the three brand new Ollier catamarans such as Club Med she looks tiny. Although she is only 10ft or so shorter, her freeboard is substantially less.

While the crew of Team Legato are hard at it getting the boat prepared, The Race’s Technical Committee are demanding she complete her 2,500 mile qualification passage of which there are 150 miles still outstanding. Cam Lewis yesterday sailed the final 20 miles of his on board Team Adventure while Loick Peyron sailed the remainder of his today. An attempt was being made by Bullimore’s team to get a petition signed by the other skippers to encourage The Race organisation to give them a dispensation as they urgently need this time alongside to finalise their preparations. However Australian singlehanded round the worlder David Adams, who is one of The Race’s technical directors, said he was adamant that they would not get away with this. As the start date for The Race has drawn closer and closer with all the campaigns making a frantic dash to get to the start line on time, so the qualification requirements have been reduced and reduced. Currently boats must have sailed 2,500 miles, but these need not be consecutively. Adams said they will not back down more. Further negotiations are likely to take place this evening.