British yachtsman Tony Bullimore has had to call a halt to his latest solo circumnavigation attempt after a 164 ft. pin holding the fore stay on his 102 ft. catamaran Doha lost a retaining bolt and begun to pull out.
"If the pin had pulled out completely, the rig would have fallen down and I would have been left adrift." Bullimore said early today, adding. "When I found it during a daylight check of the rig a few days ago, my heart almost stopped. With the rig under so much tension, there is no way of banging the pin back in place. In fact, it is the tension that has stopped it from falling out altogether." Bullimore spent several hours lashing the fore stay to Doha’s main beam to secure both the stay and the rogue pin, and having already chosen to head north east away from a low pressure system that was to sweep over his course on May 9, is now diverting to New Zealand to affect repairs.
"I’m devastated, particularly after the promising start I had from Hobart when I was running ahead of the record. I have devoted the past two years preparing for this solo round the world attempt. I can only assume that the retaining bolt came loose during the bashing Doha received in the 50 knot winds experienced a week ago. All I can say is thank goodness it happened now and not when I was deep in the Southern Ocean or close to Cape Horn. The rig is now secure and I am sailing under reduced canvas northwards to New Zealand. Once repairs have been completed, I will sail back to Hobart and re-start the Blue Ocean Wireless Round the World Challenge later in the year."
Neither Bullimore nor his catamaran are in any danger. Doha is currently 1,155 miles SE of Wellington but currently facing headwinds, which are forcing the British yachtsman to sail NE for the moment which will delay his arrival in Auckland.