The 24 metre biofuelled trimaran Earthrace has blazed through Hawaii and now has her sights set on the Marshall Island chain over 2,200 miles away.
The Earthrace turn around in Hawaii was the fastest ever at roughly two hours. The team reports the bottom is still completely clean and the Hy Torq props are still running at 100% efficiency.
Almost immediately upon departure from Hawaii Skipper Pete Bethune again pushed the big wave piercer into the 22 knot range. Bethune has always claimed he wants to 'smash' the current world circumnavigation record of 75 days and the team is on target to do just that.
The decision to attempt to 'smash' the world record instead of simply breaking the record is a constant point of discussion among the team and viewers. Smashing the record means running hard at maximum speed risking breakdowns or mechanical issues. Smashing the current world record also means Earthrace would not leave a fat easy to break record in her wake.
If Earthrace holds her current pace she is on target for a circumnavigation of less than fifty days, record may stay in the books for years to come.
In this current leg (Hawaii to the Marshall Islands) Earthrace faces two challenges. First is the tropical humid heat that will engulf the boat for the next 6000 miles. Earthrace just transited the relatively comfortable twenty degree north latitude to reach Hawaii, but she will now drop to about seven degrees north to reach the Marshall Island chain.
The trade winds don't blow nearly as strong along this path and the sticky heat quickly becomes unbearable inside the small carbon fiber confined cabin. The heat also increases the air intake temperatures to the big Cummins diesel engines. Hot air expands making the engine and turbo chargers work harder to achieve the same speed. When the engines work harder the risk of mechanical failure is always increased.
The second challenge the team faces is the lack of support and air service to these most remote islands. If spare parts are needed or crew has to be replaced it can mean a long delay. Even the ground team has dropped out of contact while they scramble to find air transportation to Majuro, the capital of the Marshall Island chain.