First of all, the biodiesel vessel is ENORMOUS ? you don?t get that impression when visiting the website or seeing pictures of Earthrace over the Internet? I had e-mailed the skipper and he sent me an itinerary, so over the weekend I was then given an actual tour of the vessel by their resident cinematographer, Ryan Heron, from New Zealand – he mentioned how they saw my coverage on this News Blog and were so pleased as many media houses have been ignoring them, it’s a shame most media houses are only interested if you have problems up the ya-ya, eh?
Docked at the Independence Square side of the Careenage ? the Earthrace, as this seafaring vessel is ironically called, is to show the importance and viability of not depending on fossil or carbon-based fuel to power the engines of the world. Imagine, processed vegetable oil from a fast-food outlet can theoretically fuel the vessel! In reality, the amount it needs would take too long to process for the purposes of this race, so it has to be prepared in advance.
Ryan said their goal is to circumnavigate the whole planet in just over two months ? 65 days, with the current record at 75 days. While Earthrace can travel on a full tank (3,000 gallons) at a speed of 7 knots per hour and reach halfway around the world, the ideal is not to move at peak velocity of 40 knots per hour, but to maintain a high-capacity of 20 to 25 knots when travelling, thus maximising on their resources before refuelling at the next leg of their trip.
?Race rules state we must pass through the two canals, so the fastest route lies near the equator for much of the journey? The southern route crosses both oceans directly, as shown on the map. This route places greater restrictions on boat design, principally because of the San Diego – Hawaii and Canary Islands – Barbados legs, which are 2400 and 2800nm respectively. This has the boat travelling over 5000km on a single tank of fuel.
?Because the Earthrace boat has been designed to maximize fuel efficiency, the shorter Southern route has being made possible.
?Race Route: Barbados – Panama – Acapulco – San Diego – Hawaii – Majuro – Koror – Singapore – Maldives – Aden – Port Said – Malaga – Canary Islands – Barbados.?
Earthrace is not a catamaran but a trimaran; it was specifically built for long-distance seafaring and its hull is made of an alloy of Kevlar and carbon-fibre ? this is a structural integrity that is so durable it can actually dive under the waves to a depth of 60 feet before the hull would crack, this allows it to withstand rough seas or storms while mid-ocean; however, they will have to resurface eventually as air is not self-sustainable in those cramped quarters!
Here is some of what their website says about the design of the biodiesel vessel ? ?Wave piercing technology was originally formulated for passenger ferry applications, and more recently it has been applied to military craft.
?Wave-piercers have a very fine bow with minimal reserve buoyancy in the forward portions of the hull to minimize vertical motions. When a wave is encountered, the hull pierces through the water rather than riding over the top. The result is a dramatically smoother ride than traditional deep-V designs, minimizing stress on the vessel as well as the crew.
?Wave piercing is a key element in getting the record for circumnavigating the globe. It allows the boat to run continuously at high speed in both flat and rough sea conditions.?
One of the downsides of this racing boat is that for streamlining purposes, there?s no shower! So when the crew are between stations of the race, the odors get quite interesting ? not surprisingly, the crew say they get used to it – I dunno if that’s good or bad?
Starcom Network ? and only Starcom had a contest (not reflected on their website) so that a Barbadian can travel on board the Earthrace, none of the other media houses made their presence known to record the rare occasion!
Earthrace starts its quest on March 10th 2007 ? remember, you can trace the voyage of the trimaran and see how they face the challenge of creating a new world record!