His giant catamaran hits the dock

Tony Bullimore and his crew arrived with a bang – quite literally – at Albany, West Australia earlier today when two inflatables acting as ‘tugs’ failed to stop the 102ft catamaran from slamming into the wharf.

Crewman Simon Redding, who was trying to orchestrate the two support boats from the port bow of Doha 2006, was thrown into the water, but came to no harm. Nor was their any damage to the boat or dock.

Bullimore said: “We have come in to take on fuel, make one or two small repairs and get a technician to look at the satellite communications onboard Doha 2006, before continuing the voyage to Hobart. I hope to leave on Wednesday or Thursday.”

Bullimore also explained what went wrong with the communications systems onboard that led to his 11 day silence:

“It was simply a communication problem.  We have three satellite phones onboard which meet the safety standards set by international race organisations like the Oryx Quest round the world race which I finished second in last winter. We started out using the Mini M sat phone as our main coms and e.mail system, but this does not have good coverage in the Indian Ocean. We lost coverage with this on Nov 7, shortly after crossing the Equator and swapped over to the Fleet 33 and 77 phones which do have good coverage in the Indian Ocean. However, we couldn’t get a connection – We think the problem may lie with the antenna and will now get this checked out.”

Once in Hobart, Doha 2006 will be stripped of 3 tons of extraneous equipment including her two engines and sail drives prior to Tony setting off on a solo attempt to break the 70 day barrier for sailing around the world.  The record is currently held by Dame Ellen MacArthur with a time of 71 days 14 hours.