Businessman Tony Bullimore known as the ‘British bulldog’ dies

Businessman and avid sailor Tony Bullimore, 79, known as the ‘British bulldog’ who survived in the water for four days after boat capsized in 1997 dies from cancer

  • Famous veteran yachtsman, Tony ‘British bulldog’ Bullimore has died aged 79 
  • He dominated headlines after he survived four-days in freezing waters in 1997
  • The 67 year-old was competing in Vendee Globe race when incident happened
  • He was also known for being a founder member of the famous Bamboo Club

The businessman and sailor known as the ‘British bulldog’ who famously survived days in freezing conditions has died aged 79.

Tony Bullimore is understood to have died from cancer. 

He dominated headlines after surviving for four-days in the upturned hull of his boat on the Australian coast in January, 1997.

The then 67-year-old was stranded in freezing conditions in the Southern Ocean – 1,400km off the Australian south coast.

Veteran sailor, Tony Bullimore (right) who dominated headlines after he survived four-days in the Australian sea has died. He is pictured here with his wife Lelel (left) 

Mr Bullimore had been competing in the 1996 Vendee Globe single-handed around-the-world race before his boat capsized. 

He was sailing in his boat, the Global Exide Challenger before he confronted rough and cold conditions. 


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The Exide Challenger upturned in the open waters  – the vessel was severely damaged and he was battling to stay alive.  

The Bristol yachtsman was rescued from the freezing conditions by an Australian naval crew.

Bullimore survived five days trapped inside the overturned yacht. Pictured: A rescue speedboat carries Bullimore away from his craft

Tony Bullimore is comforted on a Navy dingy after being rescued from his capsized yacht, the Globe Exide Challenger, in the freezing Southern Ocean

During his trip the craft was severely damage. Pictured: Bullimore smiles while wrapped in foil to raise his body temperature after being rescued 

He survived only by a make-shift hammock, and a scarce supply of chocolate and water. 

Mr Bullimore lost a part of his little finger and suffered mild hypothermia, dehydration as well as frost bite. 

As well as the dramatic rescue in the late nineties – Mr Bullimore made waves in the Bristol music scene. 

Mr Bullimore (right) lost a part of his little finger and suffered mild hypothermia, dehydration as well as frost bite when his boat capsized 

Tony Bullimore dominated headlines after he survived four-days in the upturned hull of his boat on the Australian coast in January, 1997 – pictured here meeting the Queen

He was also known as founding member of the Bamboo Club – which he opened with his wife Lelel in 1966.

For 11 years the nightclub hosted influential artists such as Bob Marley and the Wailers as well as Ben E King.  

Bristol’s Lord Mayor Cleo Lake paid tribute to Mr Bullimore on Twitter. 

She said: ‘A Bristol legend both on the waters and on the music scene. Everything you did to break down racial barriers. Sleep well Tony Bullimore and thank you’.   

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