PlayStation and Team Legato begin their perilous journey to The Race

Fossett and Bullimore head out into a vicious Bay of Biscay

Thursday December 14th 2000, Author: Andy Rice, Location: United Kingdom
PlayStation and Team Legato have both set sail on Thursday morning from their respective havens in the south-west of England. Now, despite the forecast of more fierce conditions, they begin the perilous journey into the Bay of Biscay and on to Barcelona for the beginning of The Race on 31st December.
PlayStation left Falmouth at 0900 and reported back to the Fossett Challenge shore crew that she was "abeam of the Manacles by 1000". So the American Steve Fossett is making his way directly for Barcelona. Meanwhile Tony Bullimore has set sail on Team Legato, the old ENZA, for the first time since he took control of the Nigel-Irens 102-foot design.

Team Legato’s PR man Barry Pickthall spoke to madforsailing via mobile phone on Thursday morning. "We got going at 0615 early this morning and motored out of the lock at Avonmouth," he said. "The wind’s not too bad out here, about 25 knots from the south-west, which is the direction we wanted. We’ve just pulled the sails up, although we’ve got the storm jib up and three reefs in the main - we’re doing about 7 knots.

"We’re just sorting out some teething troubles, not with the rig, but with one of the engines which has packed up due to some electrical failure. A lot of the equipment on board is exactly the same as it was in her Enza days, but she’s looking really smart. Now we’re going to make our way along the Devon coast and on to Falmouth, where a few of us get off.

"I don’t think Tony really wants to make the detour, he’d rather go towards Brest. There is some nasty weather coming - a low depression of about 970. I believe his plan is to make a lot of progress on starboard tack to the south-west, and then to change tacks and head across the Bay of Biscay."

But whatever the conditions, Bullimore will be pleased to have got going: "It's been very frustrating, particularly for the crew who have been itching to get going on our 2,500 mile proving trial since last Thursday, but the winds have been up to 80 knots." Now he will have to take whatever the weather throws at him, but his plan is to reach Barcelona by 19 December.

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