BREAKING NEWS – Earthrace Forced to Abandon Record Attempt: Decision has been made to discontinue

I have very sad news, folks…

On Wednesday May 30, 2007 the Earthrace powerboat was forced to abandon its world record attempt to circumnavigate the globe. The Earthrace vessel and crew are in Malaga, Spain.

The Earthrace boat suffered structural damage to its main hull during its crossing of the Mediterranean Sea. During this crossing she encountered a vicious storm on route from Port Said, Egypt to Malaga, Spain. This was the third severe weather system that Earthrace had endunred in 3 weeks, the other two being a monsoon off the southern coast of India and 50 knot head winds encountered traveling up the Red Sea. It appears these severe conditions, collectively, have taken their toll on the Earthrace boat.

Prior to Earthrace arriving in Malaga, the crew noticed the boat was taking on water in the forward section of the main hull. Upon investigation, a 2m crack was found in the floor of the hull. While in Malaga the crew made an initial repair, and it was thought to be sufficient to finish the race; however, 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 undergo more substantive repairs. Given the time that it will take to properly repair the hull, 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 went on to say ?We gave it our best shot. The Earthrace project was created to promote the awareness and use of alternative fuels such as biodiesel. And whilst it is disappointing to miss out on 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?

Bethune has not ruled out having another crack at the record sometime in the future, perhaps as early as March 2008.

Bethune said ?Our focus right now is to repair the boat and come to terms with what has happened. After that we plan to take the boat up to Valencia to offer our support to the New Zealand America’s Cup campaign before embarking on our 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.

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