Earthrace begins voyage using sustainable fuels

By Timothy Charles Holmseth | April 15, 2008
Web exclusive posted April 28, 2008 at 1:44 p.m. CST

The eco-boat Earthrace roared out of the Vulkan Shipyard at the port of Sagunto, Spain, Sunday, April 27, with plans of setting a new world record for a powerboat circling the globe running 100 percent on sustainable fuels with a zero carbon footprint.

"For the next 40 days we're going to believing on adrenaline," said Pete Bethune, a skipper for Earthrace, who auctioned off his home and sold his company to fund the building of the $1.5 million vessel. "The crew have entered race mode and we have one thing on our minds the world's record," he said.

With its voyage beginning in Sagunto, Spain, the boat will travel east to the Azores where it will stop for refueling, and then go on to Puerto Rico.

The crew of the 78-foot vessel plans to complete the voyage in less than 65 days, which would easily come in under the present record of 74 days, 23 hours, and 53 minutes, set in 1998 by the United Kingdom boat Cables & Wireless Adventurer.

"This time it's really happening and we're all raring to go," Bethune said earlier this year. "Our new team is working really well together and we have the skills we need on board [as well as] the ground-crew to break the record."

The start date originally in March was delayed due to La Nina weather patterns; a second start date was prevented by a European Union customs delay that interrupted the Portuguese supplied biofuels from reaching all of the refueling locations along Earthrace's route.

"We owe so much to our sponsors and the thousands of supporters of Earthrace around the world and we're determined to succeed for all of them," Bethune said. "Breaking the record will help to further increase awareness and debate about biofuels and renewable energy solutions, and that, in the end, has always been my goal.".

Bethune said the crew is fully committed to beating the record. "We don't intend to leave anything to chance the boat is fully geared up and the weather conditions are optimum. There have been five attempts, including our own first attempt last year, since the current record was set in 1998 and we'll do anything we can to mark this tenth anniversary by beating it."
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