Earthrace Breaks Record, Joins Sea Shepherd

Monday, June 29, 2009

A year after the 100% biofuel eco-boat, Earthrace, finished its around the world dash, her international crew of volunteers have been officially named world record holders by the Union International Motonautique (UIM).

The worldwide governing body for powerboating has confirmed that the team did break the ten-year old round the world speed record previously held by British boat, Cable & Wireless Adventurer, smashing the record by almost two weeks.

The wave-piercing trimaran began the challenge from Sagunto, Spain on 27 April 2008. She travelled 23,497 nautical miles, through the Panama and Suez Canals, with ten other refueling stops around the world.  The journey, skippered by Earthrace founder, New Zealander, Pete Bethune, took 60 days 23 hours 49 mins (1,463 hours, 49 minutes) finishing back in Spain.

Pete Bethune said, "Obviously we're over the moon. It's great to finally get the official recognition. My goal in starting this project five years ago was to make a positive impact on the environment by increasing awareness of renewable fuels.  We have shown that a marine craft using 100% biofuel can travel as fast and efficiently across the oceans as anything using conventional fuels.

"It's about time governments and the global shipping industry put in as much effort as we have by funding further research into sustainable biofuel production and bringing in legislation that will ensure our oceans and seas are protected from the damage caused by conventional fuels."

At the same time as the announcement from the UIM, skipper Pete Bethune has revealed that the next stop for Earthrace will be the Antarctic ocean as the boat plans to join the Sea Shepherd organization in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in December as part of the protest against Japanese whaling fleet.

New Zealander Bethune said he decided to become involved because "this is happening in my backyard and it really pisses me off.  I'm going to make a stand alongside Sea Shepherd - the whaling fleet will find it hard to get away from us."

He said he planned to add half a tonne of Kevlar to the vessel to toughen it against the ice.  Earthrace has been built to have the endurance to go half way round the world on one tank of fuel.

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