Earthrace, the 24 metre biodiesel powered speedboat attempting to break the round the world speedboat record,continues to limp toward Majuro the capital of the Marshall Islands on one engine, but maintaining 16 knots.
by Scott Fratcher and Powerboat-World
Earthrace left the Vulkan Shipyard in the port of Sagunto, north of Valencia in Spain, on April 27 to make a second attempt at a world record for circumnavigating the globe.
There was drama for the Earthrace crew two days ago, after a high pressure fuel line burst soon after the boat left Honolulu on the long 2,200 nautical mile passage. The fuel pressure system runs at nearly 30,000 psi preventing any repairs at sea.
At the current rate of speed Earthrace should reach the remote Pacific docks in 53 hours. While she is no longer gaining on the 1998 Cable & Wireless world circumnavigation record of 74 days 234 hours and 53 minutes, she is still around 2,000 miles ahead of that pace.
Powered at the moment by just one Mercruiser 54 hp engine, Earthrace is still pushing towards their next fuel stop now just 850 nautical miles away at 16 knots. This is a full knot faster than Earthrace has ever been able to drive on one engine in the past. The team credits the extra knot of speed to the new PPG extra slippery bottom paint.
Skipper Pete Bethune has to be pacing the narrow Earthrace hallway, calculator in hand and a scowl on his face, watching the clock tick away at his lead.
The ground crew has split up due to the mechanical failure. Chief Engineer Tino de Freitas has stayed behind in Hawaii to secure the needed parts for the Earthrace fuel system. Meanwhile the rest of the team has landed in Majuro and has gone to work preparing for the Earthrace arrival.
De Freitas is not taking any chances with the parts shipping. He first located parts in Australia minutes before the close of business on Friday. Now the Australian parts have been shipped, de Freitas has secured a second set of parts from Hawaii to hand carry and have waiting on the dock for the Earthrace arrival.
The ground team has begun to turn their attention toward Palau, the next stop along the round the world race route.
Scott Fratcher knows Earthrace well, he led the Ground Support Team during her 2007 World record attempt. Visit his website to see his books including two from the first Earthrace World record attempt. www.Yachtwork.com
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9:59 PM Sat 24 May 2008 GMT
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