I love celebrating midlife sailing heroes. You probably remember hearing about Tony Bullimore, who was rescued 1300 miles out in the wild Southern Ocean after six days surviving in an air pocket under his upturned, 60ft yacht after disaster struck during the Vende Globe Around The World Yacht Race.
But here we are, on the 3rd of January, exactly 20 years after his accident, and Tony is 78. Is he hanging up his oilskins? Nope! He can hardly contain himself as he prepares to take on the Atlantic solo.
As he told The Express, a UK newspaper, “I’m no spring chicken but there’s no substitute for experience. I can still teach the young bucks a thing or two. Sailing and racing boats is what I do. It’s just not in my nature to put my feet up.”
We salute you, Tony! With more than 300,000 miles and 50 years´ sailing experience under his belt, he’s a true sailor to the bone.
The most surprising and awesome thing about Tony, however, is that he didn’t hesitate over getting right back into a yacht after his accident. Respect!!
Tony now works as a motivational speaker, and races on a regular basis. His Plymouth, UK-Newport, Rhode Island crossing with take 12 days, if all goes well, he says.
Tony is currently in the gym five days a week preparing for the Atlantic adventure as he cements the sponsorship he needs to buy a new boat. Tony also dreams of spending a year cruising down the coast of South America. Don’t we all!
Tony’s wife is supportive, too. “She accepts that I’m a bit of an adventurer, but also that I’m a bit crazy. I don’t think she wants to change me now,” said Tony to The Express. Maybe they’ll end up cruising full time with her in the future in a more gentle way, taking a 30-footer around the Caribbean. There certainly seem to be a lot more years in Tony Bullimore, despite the traumas he’s experienced.
And for a reminder about his rescue, watch this video where he describes the accident blow by blow, with some visuals of the rescue halfway through. Enjoy, and see you soon 🙂