• Attempt to beat current record by more than a week
• Team Britannia will showcase best of UK’s marine industry
• Boat will be powered by fuel emulsion that will significantly cut pollution
British ocean racing legend Alan Priddy will this week re-launch a multi-million pound round the world record bid in a revolutionary semi-wave slicing powerboat run on a fuel emulsion that slashes harmful emissions.
Mr Priddy hopes to shave up to seven days off the current record of 60 days 23 hours 49 minutes, held by New Zealander Pete Bethune.
The boat has been designed by Professor Bob Cripps, former Technical Director of VT Halmatic. It will slice through the waves, rather than surfing them, with its super-efficient design, a variant of the “fast displacement hull”. This reduces fuel consumption by up to 30 per cent and should make the 24,000 mile trip smoother.
Last year Mr Priddy, had to call a halt to the record bid after one of the record attempt’s major sponsors was no longer in a position to fund the project.
Last year we had to take a very difficult decision to delay the whole project by twelve months, after one of our key sponsors was not able to provide the funding that had been agreed. This was a real blow, but given the size of this project a setback like this was always possible.
We didn’t give up and after exploring various options, we were delighted to have received the support from a number of companies from the City. I am delighted to announce today the metal is already being produced and 12km of framing will be cut next month in Southampton by Aalco Metals – Europe’s largest laser cutting facility, while the Aluminium Boatbuilding Company in Hampshire will build the boat in record time and have started to extend their main boat hall to accommodate it.
The four companies financing the build of the 1.8 million boat are Rivers Leasing, Fulcrum Technologies, The SME Clinic and Elite Wealth Services.
The vessel will be powered by a revolutionary fuel emulsion, a mixture of diesel, water and emulsifier, that when burnt reduces harmful emissions such as particulate matter and NOx.
The British company behind the emulsion, Clean Fuel Ltd have pioneered new technology that they say produces a stable, more efficient burning fuel that will improve the boats range, while cutting pollution.
The effects of the emulsified fuel on the engines and the emissions will be monitored for the duration of the voyage and the results published by the Clean Fuel online in real time. If successful it could have major implications not just for the marine sector, but for the power generation and transport sectors.
The 80ft vessel, built out of marine grade aluminium, will be launched in September to allow it to complete its sea trials, which will include sailing around the UK and London to Monaco. It has not been named yet, but the group are in talks with sponsors.
This project really is the culmination of a lifetime’s work for me that I hope will highlight the amazing qualities and skills that we have in abundance in our country – the best sailors, engineers, boat builders and designers. This is why when we started this project several years ago, we called ourselves Team Britannia.
We have secured the funds to complete the project and now that we have fired the starting pistol on the construction process there is no going back. In few months time we will have a stunning cutting edge powerboat that later this year my team and I will sail round the world quicker than anyone has ever done. In doing so we will bring the world record back to Great Britain were it belongs.
To complete the record attempt the boat must pass through the Suez and Panama Canals, cross the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator and start and finish in the same place. The world record authorities, UIM (Union Internationale Motonautique) have approved Team Britannia’s proposed route, which will start in Gibraltar and call at Puerto Rico, Acapulco, Honolulu, Guam, Singapore, Oman and Malta to take on fuel.
Chris Davies ARPS, has been photographing and writing about powerboat racing since 1987.