Team Legato sets sail to finish qualifying

By Barry Pickthall on 31 Dec 2000

Team Legato set sail in THE RACE this evening without Bernard Perrin - formerly Tony Bullimore's No 2. The decision has been wholly mutual but nonetheless a sad one for all concerned. "Bernard Perrin has been instrumental in ensuring TEAM LEGATO is in the state of readiness that she is. Without his efforts, we may not have reached the start line at all" said Tony Bullimore. "Sadly however, we all felt that for reasons of crew compatibility and to ensure the optimum crew configuration for "Team Legato," it would be best to leave Bernard behind."

"Decisions like this are never easy for anyone," added Bernard Perrin. "All that matters is that Team Legato has the best chance to win once she is at sea. Conditions will be tough at times and all the crew need to be wholly at ease with each other. My main role in readying TEAM LEGATO for the race ahead has been done to the satisfaction of all concerned ö now the rest of the team can hopefully crew her to success."

Safety checks are now complete and Bullimore and his crew intend to set sail straight away to complete their 150 mile qualifying distance. They will return to Barcelona early tomorrow morning and cross the start line for The Race. If weather reports are any indication, Team Legato will not be at too much of a disadvantage. The five strong fleet which started at 2pm today expect to encounter up to 40 knot head winds on their way westwards to the Straits of Gibraltar which will slow their progress considerably. However, within 2 days these are expected to swing to the northwest which will give the Team Legato crew a much faster run out into the Atlantic.

Team Legato Crew line-up - Four new faces including one from "Team Philips"

Tony Bullimore today announced his final crew line up aboard TEAM LEGATO for "THE RACE", the 27,000 mile non-stop circumnavigation starting from Barcelona today. The four new names in his 10-strong lineup include one from Pete Goss' "Team Philips". The fresh faces are: Rob Salvidge from the UK, Paul Larsen from Australia, Olivier Cusin and Armand Coursodon both from France, who have joined a strong core group that have been with Bullimore and his 102ft catamaran for the past 2/3 months.

Tony Bullimore (GBR - 61) Skipper

    Tony Bullimore is one of Britain"s best known sailors with more than 250,000 ocean racing miles under his belt. His many racing successes include the Round Britain & Ireland Race, Singlehanded Transatlantic race, the Quebec/St Malo transatlantic race, Plymouth/Vilamoura Race, Round the Island Race, Round Europe Race and 2-man Transatlantic Race. In 1985 he was voted "Yachtsman of the Year" jointly with TEAM LEGATOs" designer Nigel Irens after they won a succession of races with Bullimore"s 60ft trimaran "Apricot ". In 1997 he secured world fame for tenaciously surviving 5 days in the freezing conditions of the Southern Ocean inside his capsized yacht during the Vendee Globe solo round the world race.

Jason Owen (GBR - 30)Navigator and onboard weatherman

    Jason Owen has taken a 3-month sabbatical from Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting) to join Team Legato as navigator. Owen is an high tech ocean navigator with 8 years of offshore racing experience that has taken in four Fastnets and one Round Ireland race. Specialising in meteorology, weather routing and satellite image interpretation, Jason"s grounding in optimal course calculation, routing and tactical analysis of performance data will be vital onboard TEAM LEGATO during THE RACE when he will be supported by routing advice ashore by Robbie Burns and Mike Broughton. Jason, who was part of Adrian Stead"s match racing crew during 2000, is also a registered medic.

Mike Gettinger (USA - 37)

    Mike Gettinger knows Team Legato inside out, having crewed on her during while still in her ENZA colours. The 37 year old American, gained his first blue water experience on the maxi circuit, racing well known yachts like "Congere" and "Matador". In 1993 he joined Bernard Perrin on the former Whitbread maxi "Merit", before racing on Mike Slade's British challenger "Longobarda". In 1998, he spent time sailing on the top French trimaran "Primagaz". Highly experienced in all forms of big boat racing, Mike has a key role to play during THE RACE.

Fred Dahirel. (Fr - 37)

    Fred Dahirel brings a wealth of multihull experience to the crew. After racing aboard Alain Gabbay's 1989/90 Whitbread challenger Charles Jourdan, the 37 year old Frenchman joined up with Florence Arthaud aboard her 60ft trimaran Groupe Pierre 1er, and sailed aboard Jean Maurel in the 1992 Quebec St Malo race. In 1996, he won the Round Europe Race on Lo•ck Peyron's 60ft trimaran Fujicolor and sailed with Francis Joyon on Banque Populaire in the 1998 Round Europe Race. In between time, he skippered the 60ft monohull Clause Jardin in the 1994 Route du Rhum solo transatlantic race, and sailing with Jean Maurel, he won the Transat Jacques Vabre 2 handed race in 1997.

Kevin Pahl (USA - 47)

    Kevin Pahl and Tony Bullimore go back a long way - and even further as far as Team Legato is concerned. The 47 year old American was one of the Canadair building team which produced the Nigel Irens design back in 1982. He then joined Tony aboard the 60ft trimaran Apricot a year later when she won the 1983 Round Europe Race. In 1987 he spent the season racing Dupon Duran before re-joining Tony on Spirit of Apricot in 1988. In 1995 he raced with Bullimore in the 2man Round Britain & Ireland race and stayed on to prepare his 60ft monohull Exide Challenger for the 1997 Vendee Globe Race.

Slava Sisenko (Ukr - 47)

    Slava Sisenko is a veteran from the Whitbread Round the World race, having competed in the 1993/4 event aboard the first Ukrainian entry "Hetman Sahaydachny". He has remained in the West ever since carving out a career and reputation as a top professional yachtsman. Now a veteran of four trans-Atlantic crossings, he competed aboard Pierre Fehlman's "Merit Cup" in the Round Europe and Rhum Race in 1995/6. A year later, he progressed to competing on the Maxi One Design yachts for their world championship series that took in the Round Europe Race and Fastnet classics.

Paul Larsen (Australia - 30)

    Paul is one of two crew members to join from "Team Philips". A sailor since 13, he jumped aboard Bruno Peyron's "Explorer" with Skip Novak in 1998 for the delivery to Japan and stayed aboard for the successful Trans-Pacific record attempt to San Francisco. He came to Europe two years ago and got involved with the refit and sailing of "Spirit" (formerly Tony Bullimore"s "Spirit of Apricot") in the "Round Europe Race" where he met Pete Goss. He joined "Team Philips" in September 99 for an attempt at "The Race" which ended when she was abandoned in the North Atlantic earlier this month Paul then came straight to Barcelona to join "Team Legato." "I have heard only good words about the strength of this famous boat, and considering the amazing support we received aboard "Team Philips" from the British public, felt drawn to Tony Bullimore"s boat which is now the sole British Entry."

Armand Coursodon (Fr - 35)

    Armand Coursodon has joined TEAM LEGATO from Loick Peyron's "Innovation Explorer" which he helped prepare for The Race. A highly experienced ocean racing yachtsman, Coursodon who hails from St. Malo, crewed for Eric Dumont for 2 years sailing open 60"s and trimarans before joining Ludde Ingvall"s maxi-one design "Nicorette" for the world championship series. He has completed 5 transatlantic races, raced in the Rolex cup in St. Tropez and last summer sailed with Russell Coutts in the Sardinia Cup.

Olivier Cusin (Fr - 31)

    Olivier Cusin is a rigger by trade who has joined TEAM LEGATO from Cam Lewis" American entry "Team Adventure". This 31 year old Frenchman from Quiberon, sailed with Paul Vatine for a year on the multihull Region Haute de Normandie. He has 3 transatlantic crossings to his credit and skippered Pen Duick VI for a year. Last year he sailed the Fastnet Race on Whirlpool "Like, Armand, I set my heart on competing in "The Race." Unfortunately, there was no room for either of us on Innovation Explorer and Team Adventure, so the opportunity to join TEAM LEGATO was too good to turn down."

Rob Salvidge (GBR - 43) Cameraman and Cook

    Rob was one of the journalists recently press-ganged on board TEAM LEGATO for a day"s sail from Bristol only to end up in Lisbon. A news reporter with the BBC, Rob so enjoyed the experience that he returned to Bristol and asked the Corporation for a 2-month sabbatical to rejoin Bullimore"s crew. He competed in the 1989 Fastnet Race and more recently took part in the Times" Clipper round the world race, producing a documentary on the event for BBC 2. He says of "The Race" TEAM LEGATO is a fantastic boat and I"m very impressed with her strength and speed. I believe this coupled with a strong crew and her ability to take on heavy seas will be the elements that win "The Race".

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