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Friday, 13 April, 2001, 13:21 GMT 14:21 UK
Briton nears boat marathon's end
Tony Bullimore
Bullimore's 102ft catamaran will be the last to finish
A rapturous welcome awaits veteran yachtsman Tony Bullimore as he prepares for the end of the gruelling round-the-world challenge The Race.

The Briton and his crew hope to cross the finish line in Marseilles in their boat, Team Legato, on Saturday afternoon.

Hundreds of people and a flotilla of about 250 boats are expected to greet the team on their return.

The giant 102ft catamaran, one of six catamarans to take part in The Race, will be the last to finish after being dogged by setbacks throughout the three-and-a-half month, 27,000-mile global challenge.

The event was won by Club Med, skippered by New Zealander Grant Dalton, which sailed into Marseilles on 3 March.

Team Legato, the only British entrant after Pete Goss lost his boat Team Philips in the north Atlantic, had hoped to finish the race on Friday but strong conditions at sea set them back.

Tony Bullimore
The 61-year-old was rescued from the Southern Ocean in 1998
Bristol-based Bullimore, best known for surviving four days in a tiny air-pocket underneath the up-turned hull of his capsized boat in the Southern Ocean three years ago, was also delayed at the race's start because he had not completed a mandatory qualifying voyage.

He has had to stop a number of times during the race for repairs and several crew members, including BBC reporter Rob Salvidge, left the boat amid rumours of on-board bickering.

One of the remaining crew, 47-year-old Ukrainian Slava Sysenko, suffered a broken leg just two days ago when a wave crashed over the bow of the boat.

He will be taken to hospital for treatment on his arrival in Marseilles.

Team Legato spokesman Barry Pickthall said the team remained in good spirits.

"We are going to have a bit of a party," he said.

"I'm making sure we have got some steaks for them and some beer and some wine - I think they are looking forward to that."

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31 Dec 00 | Other Sports
Bullimore misses sailing start
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