Friday, 25 May 2007

Earthrace around the world

While the crew of NZL92 rest in Valencia after qualifying for the Louis Vuitton Cup against Luna Rossa, another stunning New Zealand-designed vessel is at sea audaciously attempting to break the world record for circumnavigation of the globe by a powerboat. The Earthrace 100% bio-fuelled, wave piercing trimaran must arrive in San Diego on or before 21 June to break the record of 75 days set by the British boat Cable & Wireless in 1998. The project, conceived and skippered by Peter Bethune, aims to show how renewable bio-fuels can, for example, power a revolutionary boat around the world in record time. The craft showcases environmentally friendly technologies such as low-emissions engines, non-toxic anti-foul and efficient hull design. Earthrace is a story of grit, guts and genius. It is undoubtedly a beautiful craft, a pretty monumental piece of design, and when on track it seems the fastest boat around the world. Apart from an immediate need for cash to keep the race going, Peter Bethune must be slightly zen at the present knowing that he has already experienced many of the worst scenarios the journey has faced: the death of Guatemalan fisherman Gonzales in a low-light accident; breakages; sea conditions; logistical nightmares; being shot at; people situations; fuel; the constant proverbial shoe-string. Earthrace is currently in the Suez Canal and then onto Malaga, the Canary Islands, Barbados, Panama, Acapulco and San Deigo – about 9,000 nautical miles left in a 24,500 nm circumnavigation. I know of Earthrace only from reading media reports and their website (check out the Captain’s Blog) and it seems to me that this campaign needs every support over the next 28 or so days to meet its mission. I had a variety of peripheral involvements in several America’s Cup campaigns including instigating the first “fax attacks” from New Zealand to San Deigo. Earthrace deserves this sort of attention. It’s a win-from-the-edge effort similar in ways to the 41-day Atlantic rowing record set by Rob Hamill and the late Phil Stubbs in 1997. At there are a variety of immediate ways you can give your financial support to pay for fuel and support, or you can contact John Allen at or David Perez at Earthrace has been supported thus far from over 200 New Zealand companies, organizations and international brands, but they urgently need widespread showings of support (via credit card or PayPal). You can support for a minimum of US$15.

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