News in brief
Fair Winds Tony Bullimore
British Vendée Globe solo racer Tony Bullimore has died in his native Bristol at the age of 79. Although he became better known for the daring rescue by the Australian Navy from his upturned Exide Challenge during the third edition of race which took place between 1996 and 1997, he was already an accomplished, successful offshore racer who commissioned pioneering Nigel Irens multihull designs in the 1980s, winning the Round Europe Race and the Round Britain Race in 1985.
The story of his rescue made news headlines around the world. Correspondingly news of his passing today from a rare form of cancer has already been reported all over the world.
His boat turned over and filled with water in seconds when the keel broke off his boat and the boom punctured his deck lookout window in 80kt gusts and huge seas in the Southern Ocean on January 5th at 52 deg S, some 1200 nautical miles west of Australia and 800 miles north of Antarctic. While the outside world mostly assumed he had perished in the frozen oceans, he survived in an air pocket for nearly five days, eating a bar of chocolate and food remnants which had floated past him.
The Royal Australian Navy’s HMS Adelaide first rescued Thierry Dubois on 9th January and very early next morning found Bullimore who swam out from the upturned hull. When he boarded the Adelaide and met the Chief Petty Officer Bullimore’s first request was for a cup of tea, telling the the chief petty officer: 'If you didn't have a beard I'd kiss you.'
Queen Elizabeth II later paid tribute to his spirit of survival.
Mike Golding writes:
Tony Bullimore 1939 - 2018
The legend that is Tony Bullimore is perhaps best known for being rescued from his keel less and upturned boat deep in the Southern Ocean during the Vendee Globe 96/97. It was here Tony earned the nickname “The British Bulldog” as no one expected to find anyone alive after four days adrift in the freezing and stormy conditions in the South. The famous photos of Tony wrapped in a space blanket holding his hand (he lost a part of his finger during the rescue) and his assertion that he had survived on just Chocolate and True Grit were beamed around the globe. Tony was a real “can do” guy who’s ebullient character just made big things happen – for example, it was Tony who commissioned the two 60ft Nigel Irens designed trimarans (Apricot 1/11) that transformed offshore multihull sailing forever. Prior to the Apricot’s, multihulls seemed like they were assembled from parts of other boats – the Apricots brought everything together and performed accordingly, dominating the races of that decade.
Away from his passion for sailing he was a highly successful businessman who along with his West Indian wife Lalel, opened the Bamboo Club in 1966. It was the first social venue in Bristol to welcome the African-Caribbean community which hosted big names including Bob Marley And The Wailers, Tina Turner and Ben E King.
If you met Tony, even just once, you would never forget him – he will be sadly missed by the sailing community that cherishes such character and charisma.
Sail safely Tony…
Drheam Cup: Girls' Dream Double Leaves Guys in the Shade
The Drheam Cup Destination Cotentin finished with an unprecedented double for the two women solo skippers Sam Davies (Initiatives Couer) and Isabelle Joschke (Monin) who finished first and second, an excellent result for the only two women in the IMOCA fleet. For Davies it is her first win solo in her new IMOCA which she has taken over from Tanguy de Lamotte. And for Joschke it is her second consecutive second place after the Monaco Globe Series event which she sailed with Alain Gautier.
Yann Eliès, on his first solo race with the newly configured Ucar-St Michel finished third and paid a glowing tribute to the ‘flawless’ sailing of the two women. Nine soloists finished this race which is a qualifier for La Route du Rhum Destination Guadeloupe.
Giancarlo Pedote : A boat to be there at the start in 2020
The Italian sailor Giancarlo Pedote has just acquired Jean-Pierre Dick's former Virbac-Paprec aboard which Yann Eliès will race in the 2018 Route du Rhum. The boat will be made available to the italian sailor in january 2019. His faithful sponsor Prysmian Group, who has been at his side now for several years, will enable him to train for the 2020 Vendée Globe before he finds additional partners to allow him to compete.
Giancarlo Pedote has spent most of his ocean-racing career in the Mini circuit, but he has also raced in the Figaro and Class40 circuit. He finished in second place the 2013 Mini-Transat aboard a prototype designed by David Raison. A married father of two, he currently lives in Brittany. The world of IMOCA sailing is not really a discovery for him, as he was Fabrice Amedeo co-skipper in the last Transat Jacques Vabre.
The New HUGO BOSS will be a VPLP Design
The new boat, HUGO BOSS, on which Alex Thomson will race the 2020 Vendée Globe will be a design from the VPLP design studio, working along with the British skipper’s own design and technical team.
The English based Alex Thomson Racing team have confirmed that the design process is ‘well under way’ to the point that the new build will start later in June.
“This is a hugely important period for us. Everything we do over the coming months leads up to the Vendée Globe 2020 and so it’s vital that we put in place a team which has the expertise, and the passion, to deliver. I’m confident that we have done that. We wholeheartedly believe that - with the right minds and the right boat - we can become the first British team ever to win the Vendée Globe”.
Ross Daniel, technical director at Alex Thomson Racing, said: “VPLP of course has a proven track of designing world class racing boats. As the first design office ever to make the move to foiling monohulls, they hold an unrivalled knowledge in what we know will prove to be the most crucial area of design within the next generation boats.
“But our decision to work with the firm was also based on who they are as people. The process of designing, building and launching a new boat is an incredibly complex one, which requires everyone involved to work collaboratively towards one common goal. We are confident that, together, we can build the very best boat in the fleet, one which is both wholly reliable and has the capability of winning a race as punishing as the Vendée Globe”.
Meilhat and Gahinet take Monaco Globe honours
Paul Meilhat and Gwénolé Gahinet (SMA) are the first sailors to have their names on the top prize as winners of the Globe Series, the new IMOCA world championship. The duo won the Monaco race early this Thursday morning, June 7. They were welcomed back to the dock by Prince Albert II. After more than 3 days and 19 hours of sailing, on a shortened but nonetheless exhausting course which was made all the more nerve wracking because of the unstable weather situation, they beat Isabelle Joschke and Alain Gautier (Monin) to second with Fabrice Amedeo and Eric Péron (Newrest - Art & Fenêtres).
"It was extremely physical and tough on the nerves", explained Meilhat, who won the Bermudas 1000 Race just a few weeks ago. "It reminded me of what I experienced racing on a Figaro in the Mediterranean. In terms of the race, it was crazy with a lot of action! Whether you were ahead or behind, it was never over. But there's nothing more interesting in terms of adrenaline. You feel alive when you race in the Med!" It is a first big win of the season for Paul Meilhat on his conventionally configured foil-less IMOCA. Meilhat is on the look out for a replacement partner to participate in the next Vendée Globe.
Monaco Globe Series :
1/ SMA (Meilhat/Gahinet) in 3d 19h and 17m
2/ Monin (Joschke/Gautier) 3d 21h 3m 50s
3/ Newrest – Art & Fenêtres (Amedeo/Péron) 3d 21h 11m 10s
4/ Kilcullen Team Ireland (Mulloy/Ruyant) 3d 22h 25m
5/ Boulogne Billancourt (Le Diraison/Maslard) 3d 23h 45m 03s
6/ Groupe Setin (Cousin/Roura) 3 d 23h 32m 38s (+15 mins)
7/ Malizia (Herrmann/Casiraghi) 4d 00h 03m
8/ Bureau Vallée 2 (Burton/Hubert) 4d 01h 29m 26s
9/ 4MyPlanet2 (Barrier/Quiroga) 4d 02h 44m 30s (+5 minutes)
Setting A Course for 2020
With one eye looking forwards to the 2020 edition, the new teaser video for the Vendée Globe encapsulates the magic of 30 years of the historic solo non stop race around the world. The teaser is targeted at new partners who might want to come on board for the next edition of the race, to become involved. The short video really captures the emotions, it shows the moods and the drama of start day, the doubts, the fears, the anticipation and the the departure out the famous channel where hundreds of thousands of well wishers turn out.
The Vendée Globe is also now a huge, significant media event, an ocean race which mobilizes and engages hundreds of thousands of people day after day, through social media, the event and specialist websites as well as huge coverage on traditional print, news and sports media. In just three short minutes it says it all, delivering a short, sharp reminder of what the Vendée Globe means.
Bermuda 1000 Race, close finish, Meilhat wins from Davies
The competitors of the Bermuda 1000 Race between Douarnenez and Cascais have all finished safely, that is with the exception of Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) who decided to return back to Lorient because of a persistent abnormal noise under the hull of his boat.
The main conclusions from this first race of 2018 are:
- Paul Meilhat (SMA) is still a top contender. Leading the fleet from the start of the race he was able to draw out the very best of his conventionally set up monohull and hold off the foilers.
- Sam Davies (Initiatives Coeur) proved that on her return to solo racing she can be considered a good prospect for success in the next Vendée Globe. She finished less than 15 minutes behind Meilhat despite having to overcome some technical problems which compromised her at the start of the race.
- For Fabrice Amedeo (Newrest - Art & Fenêtres) and Manuel Cousin (Setin Group) their first objective above all was to qualify for the next Route du Rhum. Tick. Done.
- Damien Seguin (Apicil Group) who sailed two up with Jean Le Cam was able to optimize the handling of his Imoca by benefiting from the presence of Le Cam who, a veteran of four participations in the Vendée Globe who lead the refit and reconfiguration of Seguin’s boat.
Courses are now set for the Mediterranean and the Monaco Globe Series which runs from 1st to 8th June. Several teams have planned to take advantage of this outing on the Med, the so called Big Blue, which include hospitality days on the French Riviera.
A Better Looking Horizon for Yann Eliès
There is no certainty that he will be at the start of the next Vendée Globe but Yann Eliès has taken a a big step forward. Despite his undeniable talent and a very solid track record, fourth in the last edition and three times winner of La Solitaire du Figaro, he seemed to be struggling to find a partner. But now at least he is guaranteed to be at the start of this Autumn’s classic Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe.
The rental company UCAR have committed to the project which is run by Jean-Pierre Dick with whom Eliès won the last Transat Jacques Vabre. And it is on that same boat that Eliès will line up when the race starts from Saint-Malo.
But the ambition of Yann Elies remains the same, to find enough money to build a new boat and take victory into Les Sables d’Olonne in January 2021.
Armel Tripon: a new contender and a new boat
It is more and more obvious that the 2020 Vendée Globe is encouraging some innovative projects to be developed. After Jérémie Beyou, Sébastien Simon and Charlie Dalin, Armel Tripon has now announced the construction of a new boat. After moving up through all the classes involved in ocean racing (winner of the Mini Transat and competitor in the Figaro, Class40, Multi 50 circuits), Armel is now preparing to tackle the Vendée Globe.
His approach is different in two ways, as the construction of his boat is bringing together a boatyard in Nantes, Black Pepper® Yachts, which specialises in large cruising vessels with the designer, Sam Manuard, who so far has been known for his particularly well performing Mini and Class40 designs.
However, Armel Tripon is not leaping into the unknown. The yard is used to building high-tech carbon constructions. On top of that, Sam Manuard, who is unusually both a boat designer and ocean racer, clearly has a lot of knowledge in this field.
The successful experiments with foils in the 2016-2017 appear to have created a lot of excitement, which should make the 2020-2021 edition a major moment in the history of the race.
Enda Completes His Remarkable Odyssey
Finally he made it. On Easter Sunday Irish solo racer Enda O'Coineen, 63, skipper and team ambassador and for Le Souffle du Nord and Team Ireland, who both had to give up their Vendée Globe - yesterday finished sailing around the world.
The solo racer writes a new chapter in the sailing history of Ireland. He took 66 days between New Zealand and Les Sables d'Olonne to finally finish off his own 'race'. As well as completing his personal mission, to complete the circumnavigation after losing his mast off New Zealand there has also been a strong initiative of solidarity with the association Le Souffle du Nord which also had to stop into New Zeland.
Enda's mast came down on January 1st 2017 when he was around 200 miles south of New Zealand. After retiring into New Zealand he combined with the programme of Thomas Ruyant's Le Souffle du Nord. The rebuilt-rebranded Team, Le Souffle du Nord Kilcullen Team Ireland was launched from Christchurch.
Since leaving New Zealand on 26th January O'Coineen has covered the returning 13,000 miles as a symbol of solidarity between the teams.
"After 66 days alone at sea since New Zealand I am elated. It's incredible. I'm overwhelmed... and now I'm surrounded by thousands of people who gave me an amazing welcome into Les Sables d'Olonne. It's an honour to be here and to be representing Le Souffle du Nord Kilcullen Team Ireland. The support, interest and encouragement has been great.”
“This adventure really started in January 1st 2015 when we decided to 'Go for It' and to take on this challenge. Preparations have gobbled- up all the ranges of personal emotion, physical challenge, personal resource, fear and jubilation in between. There is no logic to the logic. And right to the finish line for the final week, rounding the Azores and the North West corner of Spain, the storm crossing the Bay of Biscay, kept me on edge."