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Earthrace (Ady Gil) is a alternative fuel powered wave-piercing trimaran; part of a project to break the world record for circumnavigating the globe in a powerboat—and to do so using only renewable fuels.

Design

The vessel was designed by Craig Loomis Design Group and built by Calibre Boats. The wave-piercing trimaran design allows for improved speed and stability. Additional stability is also provided by its two large sponsons and it is designed to right itself if it capsizes. The hull is composed of a composite carbon fibre and kevlar with a non-toxic anti-foul paint.

The ship is powered by two 540 horsepower Cummins Mercruiser engines that run on a low-emission animal fat and vegetable oil mix biodiesel. Then in 2005, the operator underwent liposuction and converted 100 grams of his own body fat into fuel as a publicity stunt. It can also run on diesel, biodiesel or blends. To cool and provide fresh air to the engines, intakes are located on two dramatic fins.

It cost $2.5 million, which was mostly funded by sponsors. When asked, "Regrets about the cost of it all?" skipper Pete Bethune replied "No...You know, I do have the coolest boat in the world."

Record attempts

Earthrace is intended to showcase environmentally friendly technologies and broke the world record for circumnavigating the globe in a motorized boat. It set the record in 60 days 23 hours and 49 minutes. This beat the record set by the Cable and Wireless Adventurer (now the Ocean 7 Adventurer) by 13 days 21 hours and 9 minutes but the time is still behind Orange II's overall world record of 50 days and 16 hours.

2007

The attempt originally departed from Barbadosmarker on March 10, 2007 but encountered significant delays including problems with the propellers and other mechanical problems.

A problem with an engine off Palaumarker caused an 8-day delay because of the remoteness. On the night of March 19, 2007, while around 22km offshore from Guatemalamarker, Earthrace collided with a local fishing boat. No Earthrace crew were hurt, but one of the three crew members from the fishing boat was killed. The crew was absolved of any responsibility after a 10-day investigation during which they were held. The delays prevented Earthrace from completing the circumnavigation in record time, but because Earthrace took an official start time when leaving San Diegomarker, the team decided to "restart" with this new start/finish line. They departed San Diego on 7 April 2007 and needed to return by 21 June to break the record. However, the attempt was abandoned on 31 May 2007 after a crack was discovered in the hull shortly after leaving Malagamarker, Spainmarker.

2008

After a refit at the Vulkan Shipyard at the Port of Saguntomarker, a second attempt on the record began at 14:35 (CET) on April 27, 2008.

The route for the second world record attempt and estimated time for each leg was as follows:

  • Sagunto, Spain – Azores: 3 days
  • Azores - Puerto Rico: 3 days
  • Puerto Rico - Panama: 3 days
  • Panama Manzanillo (Mexico): 3 days
  • Manzanillo - San Diego: 3 days.
  • San Diego - Hawaii: 5 days
  • Hawaii - Majuro (Marshall Islands): 5 days
  • Majuro - Koror (Palau): 5 days
  • Palau - Singapore: 5 days
  • Singapore - Cochin (India): 5 days
  • Cochin - Salalah (Oman): 4 days
  • Salalah - Suez Canal (Egypt): 4 days
  • Suez Canal - Sagunto (Spain): 4 days


The boat experienced problems with the autopilot two days after departure, and then on April 30 the lift pump of the starboard engine became blocked. However, although some time was lost, the boat arrived at the Azores slightly ahead of schedule for the world record attempt and with all technical problems apparently solved.

The next two legs went without any major problems and the crew managed to bypass a big backlog of ships in the Panama Canal. On day 22 about half way to Hawaii, a severe vibration caused them to stop and after skipper, Pete Bethune, went under the boat in the dark with a torch, it was discovered that some nylon netting had got entangled in the one prop and had to be removed.

Shortly after leaving Palau on day 34, Earthrace struck submerged debris which sheared two blades off the port propeller and bent the drive shaft. This necessitated a return to Palau in order to assess the damage and remove the prop. The boat then continued to Singapore on one engine, while plans were set in motion to manufacture a new drive shaft and obtain another propeller. Once in Singapore, Earthrace was hoisted from the water in a sling and repairs were effected on the dockside in record time.

On day 48 the crew were really suffering from the heat and high humidity and were all affected by heat rash. At this time they had also encountered monsoon weather and their speed was much reduced due to mountainous waves. The heavy seas continued all the way to Oman and beyond before entering the Red Sea. During this stretch the boat's transponder was damaged and the marine tracker stopped working.

On day 56 en route to Port Suez the lift pump started giving trouble, limiting their speed to 16 knots. This entailed a three hour job to change it.

On Friday June 27, 2008 Earthrace set a new powered circumnavigation of the globe world record when it crossed the finish line at 14:24 CET at Sagunto, Spain.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

It has been announced that the Earthrace will accompany Sea Shepherd in in its 2009-2010 operations against Japanese Whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Pete Bethune, the operator, says that an agreement was reached with Sea Shepherd for the boat to adopt a support role. On 17 October 2009, the Earthrace was presented to the media with a new black paint job and re-named Ady Gil. The Sea Shepherd's owner and founder, Captain Paul Watson, says he plans to use the vessel to physically block Japanese harpoon ships.

References

  1. Earthrace press release, Press release, May 9 2007
  2. Earthrace chief in court over tragedy, New Zealand Herald, March 20, 2007, 9:00AM
  3. Judge frees Earthrace Captain, 28 March 2007, Earthrace Press Release
  4. Earthrace Forced to Abandon Record Attempt, May 31, 2007 Press release
  5. Earthrace
  6. Biofuelled boat ready to resume challenge - New Zealand news on Stuff.co.nz
  7. Earthrace will be at British Motor Show


External links




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