“We gave it our best shot” declare the Earthrace skipper.
While crossing the Mediterranean Sea Earthrace encountered several storms that stalled Earthrace’s speed from 22 knots to 10 knots (25.31 mph to 11.50 mph) as they battled head seas of 15 feet and 50 knot (57.53 mph) wind gusts. The powerboat suffered structural damage to its main hull and the crew decided on 31 May to abandon the world record attempt to circumnavigate the globe.
The Mediterranean Sea storms where not the first storms that the Earthrace endured. When crossing the southern coast of India encountered a monsoon, and while traveling up the Red Sea a 50 knots (57.53 mph) head wind.
Before arriving to Malaga the crew noticed that the boat was taking on water in the forward section of the main hull. They discovered a 6.56 ft. (2 m) crack was found in the floor of the hull. In Malaga the crew made an initial repair, but shortly after the boat left for the Canary Islands the crew concluded that the repair would not hold and so the decision was made to return to Malaga to properly repair the hull. Given the time they would have lost with the repairs the crew realized that Earthrace will no longer be able to break the record, and so the decision has been made to abandon the race.
Earthrace skipper Pete Bethune said “The whole team is pretty devastated right now. We have all put so much time, money, and effort into this record attempt; it is pretty upsetting to have to abandon the race. We can all feel proud of what we have achieved with the limited resources we had, and we do take some heart from that”. Bethune believes that Earthrace reached its purpose despite its failure in breaking the world record “we have certainly succeeded in our overall aim of promoting biodiesel, and we will continue to build on this success during our upcoming European promotional tour”.
The Earthrace boat was attempting to break the world record for a powerboat to circumnavigate the globe, and was doing this using biodiesel fuel – a fuel sourced from vegetable oils.
Earthrace began its record attempt on April 7 from San Diego, California and had to finish in San Diego on or before 21 June to break the record of 75 days – set by the British boat Cable & Wireless in 1998.