Tony Bullimore goes from battling 50k winds to barely a breeze in his mission back to NZ 17/5/07

In stark contrast to the 50 knot gale strength winds that have battered Tony Bullimore in the last few days, the conditions in the South Pacific Ocean have eased considerably.

Bullimore reported: “There is barely any wind now and I am struggling to make much more than 3-4 knots. It is a complete contrast to what I have been experiencing for the past 16 days and given me the chance to catch up on sleep.

“Big seas continue to roll in from the west however, making it almost impossible to make headway on the opposite tack towards New Zealand. I think I will have to get a bit more north before I can tack over towards Auckland.”

Lee Bruce, Team Bullimore’s weather router is also concerned about how to limit easting. He said: “If Tony continues on a N 030-040T heading, he will probably need to go all the way up to the 35S latitude before the wind allows a switch to starboard tack so that he can make a reasonable course for Auckland. Alternatively, once north of 37S, slow down – if he can – to minimize easting, and try to go tack over to starboard no later than 36S – if sea state allows. That course would be in the 220T range, but it would at least have him moving toward the improving wind. Sea state may well be the controlling factor here, so we will have to play it by ear.”

Sailing to windward is difficult for a 102ft multihull like Doha. But there is still hope as Lee Bruce forecasts that winds will be from the south-east at 25 knots by the Saturday19 May, which would carry Doha straight to Auckland, New Zealand.