Onboard Journalist Clive Tully Highlights The Environmental Aspects Of Team Britannia’s Circumnavigation Record Attempt.
It would be easy to think that Team Britannia’s attempt to grab the UIM record for the fastest powerboat circumnavigation of the world away from New Zealander Pete Bethune and his boat Earthrace was the be-all and end-all of the whole affair, but in truth, it’s quite a small tip of a very large iceberg. True, Bethune has now held the record for very nearly as long as the original record setters – the British boat Cable & Wireless Adventurer set it in 1998, and Bethune took it on his second attempt, in 2008. And yes, Team Britannia is firmly of the opinion that it’s high time the record came back to Britain.
Even when Alan Priddy and I were trying to break the Adventurer’s record 15 years ago in the 10 metre RIB Spirit of Cardiff, it wasn’t simply a case of jumping into a boat and seeing how fast we could go. The boat’s range is dictated by the amount of fuel it can carry, and the moment the sea conditions and wind start to work against you, you have a stark choice – either you slow down (and in extreme cases, stop), or run out of fuel before you get to the next port.
In 2002 we used a fuel additive which helped our diesel go a little further, but with Team Britannia’s boat “Excalibur,” technology provides us with some significant advantages. At the most basic level, the boat’s hull has been designed to be 30% more fuel efficient than anything else afloat, for which we have to thank leading naval architect Professor Bob Cripps and his design company Longitude Engineering. And while our experience of hitting floating debris dictated our decision to propel the boat with waterjets rather than propellers, the way engines and jets are tied together with the shortest possible prop shafts and gearing in the jets set to eliminate the need for separate gearboxes is all about maximum power transfer, and therefore the most efficient fuel usage.
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