Team Legato drops off excess crew in Lisbon

Bullimore 'press ganged' four media men into sailing with him from Bristol

Tuesday December 19th 2000, Author: Andy Rice, Location: United Kingdom
Barry Pickthall, the fourth journalist on board from Yapton in Sussex, was philosophical about it all. "I knew that there was not enough food on board for the 14 of us to reach Barcelona, but it was not such a bad thing I guess to lose some weight before Christmas."
Team Legato's greatest asset was her speed. Creaming across the Bay of Biscay at 20 knots on Friday gave her crew the ability to duck and weave between the depressions and avoid the worst of the weather. And even when battling against force eight and nine winds into Lisbon on Sunday and Monday, the boat behaved impeccably.

"I'm very sorry for all the turmoil and concern this has caused everyone," said Bullimore today in Lisbon, "but it has been a fantastic test for the boat. I've now got the greatest faith in her for The Race."

Barry Pickthall added: "We did everything possible to get off the boat, going to the extreme of forming an escape committee. The French crew members on board wanted to strike on to Gibraltar which in retrospect would have given us the best run, but we all had commitments and needed to get home as quickly as possible. One of the ideas we cooked up was to lock the French crew in one of the hulls. Another was to drug the skipper and take over the central 'god pod.' If we hadn't gone into Lisbon today, I'm sure we would have taken a life raft, an emergency beacon and jumped overboard." Tony Bullimore and his four hostages are returning to the UK, arriving at Heathrow on Tuesday evening.

While Bullimore's boat goes on to Gibraltar for the final push up the Mediterranean, PlayStation - which left the south-west of England around the same time as Team Legato - is set to reach Barcelona between 1800 and 2300 this evening. PlayStation spokesman Stuart Radnovskey told madforsailing: "They were motoring all night in an absolute flat calm under a cloudless sky. The crew said it was absolutely beautiful.

"Then at 0800 a 20-knot southerly came in and the watch leader Gino Morrelli said they were having a fantastic sail up the Mediterranean." So by Tuesday evening, Steve Fossett’s 125-footer should be moored alongside Club Med, which has already begun its final overhaul before The Race itself begins on 31st December.

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