Earthrace sets new world record

By Timothy Charles Holmseth | June 17, 2008
Web exclusive posted July 8, 2008 at 2:06 p.m. CST

The biodiesel-powered ocean vessel Earthrace has set a new world record for a powerboat circumnavigating the globe. It took the crew and boat 60 days, 23 hours, and 49 minutes to travel from the Vulkan Shipyard in Sagunto, Spain, on April 27 to Sagunto, Spain, on June 27.

The previous record was 74 days, 23 hours, and 53 minutes, which was set in 1998 by the United Kingdom boat Cables & Wireless Adventurer.

"We're completely stoked to have achieved something so incredible," Earthrace skipper Pete Bethune said. "Earthrace's success has proved that any form of transport, including marine, can be non-damaging to the environment as well as being high performance."

The vessel and crew were confronted by various challenges during its journey, the most challenging of which included replacing the boat's driveshaft and propeller after hitting sea debris in Palau. The crew also weathered a monsoon in the India Ocean and faced a back-log of ships waiting to transit the Panama Canal.

Bethune said alternative fuel is new and many changes lie ahead as its use is increases. "It is still early days for alternative fuel and there are issues that need to be addressed by those with the power to make change happen," he said. "I hope Earthrace and her adventure highlight to the world the importance of continuing to research and develop alternative fuel sources for global use."

Earthrace's route went from Sagunto, Spain, to Horta, Azores, to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Colon, Panama, to Manzanillo, Mexico, to San Diego to Maalaea, Hawaii, to Majuro, Marshall Islands, to Koror, Palau, to Singapore, to Kochi, India, to Salalah, Oman, to Port Said, Egypt, and finishing in Sagunto, Spain.

"This fantastic team of people and this astonishing boat have broken the record by a massive margin, and I feel that all the sacrifices made, especially by my family, have been worth it," Bethune said.

Following a visit to Portugal to meet their fuel sponsor, SGC Energia, the Earthrace team plans to embark on a tour of Europe, followed by the Caribbean and Australia. The crew expects to return to New Zealand in 2009.

According to an Earthrace press release, Bethune is actively looking for additional volunteers to serve as crew with the boat during the tour.

For more information about Earthrace, the crew and tour, visit
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