Team Britannia’s round the world record bid has been delayed due to a technical problem with its two stern hull plates.
The problem only discovered late on Monday night, means that Alan Priddy and his team will not be able to set sail on 23rd October because the plates will have to be recut.
Mr Priddy commented: “This is a hard day for the project and everyone involved with it - more than 100 men and women. I have been living and breathing this project for five years and we were flying. The boat was taking shape and everything was on track for the start later this month.
“All the kit and equipment we needed is on site waiting to be installed, including the engines, Castoldi jets and high tech communications and navigation equipment from industry leaders Raymarine.
“Having been advised that it could take several weeks before the new plates arrive, while other work has had to stop, so I have reluctantly taken the decision to delay the record bid until early next year.”
The boat is now expected to be launched in November, which means it will miss the all-important weather window, as it has to complete an essential programme of sea trials to ensure it exceeds all safety requirements before setting off on the 23,000 mile voyage.
While no firm date has been set, Mr Priddy and his team are talking to Gibraltar-based meteorologist Steph Ball, who advises the project on all weather related matters. A preliminary analysis of the weather data indicates that the next window for the record attempt will be early next year.
“I cannot underscore just how good Aalco and the Aluminium Boatbuilding Company have been in driving this project forward. Their efforts have been considerable and their reputations for being the best is well deserved. It would be completely unfair for any blame associated with this delay to be attached to either.”
Mr Priddy also confirmed that his priority would be to press on with completing the boat.
“This delay will allow us to undertake an extended programme of sea trials that will include breaking the unsupported round Britain record, and revisiting the scope of work with our amazing wounded and injured veterans. It might be possible to increase their role as we move forward.”
“We will also be able to fly the flag in more places, visiting the London Boat Show and other major industry events around Europe.”
The boat was designed by Professor Bob Cripps, former Technical Director of VT Halmatic. It has been designed to slice the waves, rather than surfing them, with its super-efficient design, a variant of the “fast displacement hull”. This will reduces fuel consumption by up to 30 per cent and should make the 23,000 mile trip smoother.
In addition to the fuel efficient design the vessel will be powered by a revolutionary fuel emulsion developed by Clean Fuel Ltd, a mixture of diesel, water and emulsifier, that when burnt reduces harmful emissions such as particulate matter and NOx.
Inside the boat will be the latest radar, safety and communications equipment from Raymarine and Iridium Communications.
Mr Priddy concluded: “We always knew that there was the possibility of a delay, after all we are building a boat that will have to stand up to the toughest imaginable conditions, so it is vital to get it 100 per cent right before we set off.”
To complete the record attempt the boat must pass through the Suez and Panama Canals, cross the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator and start and finish in the same place. The world record authorities, UIM (Union Internationale Motonautique) have approved Team Britannia’s proposed route, which will start in Gibraltar and call at Puerto Rico, Manzanillo, Honolulu, Guam, Singapore, Oman and Malta to take on fuel.
Notes to editors:
Team Britannia is a multi-million pound British bid to design and build the fastest and most fuel efficient semi-wave slicing powerboat to circumnavigate the globe for the much-coveted UIM world record, currently held by the New Zealander Pete Bethune at 60 days 23 hours 49 minutes.
The World Record Authorities (UIM) dictate that for a recognised circumnavigation the craft has to pass through the Suez and Panama Canals, cross the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator, and must start and finish the journey in the same place.
The boat is a completely new design from Professor Bob Cripps, former Technical Director of VT Halmatic. It has been designed in the UK and will be constructed in the Portsmouth area out of marine-grade aluminium. It encompasses “an exceptionally efficient hull”, which will cut fuel consumption by up to 30 per cent.
In addition to the design the vessel will be powered by a revolutionary fuel emulsion, a mixture of diesel, water and emulsifying agent from Clean Fuel Ltd. This will reduce harmful emissions such as particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide.
The effects of the emulsified fuel on the engines and the emissions will be monitored for the duration of the voyage and the results published online.
The boat is being built by the Aluminium Boatbuilding Company based in Hampshire, out of marine-grade aluminium. The metal was produced by using recycled metals and cut by specialist firm Aalco in Southampton.
The whole construction process is expected to take around three months before it starts a programme of sea trials around the UK.
The boat will also showcase nearly a dozen leading marine companies, which are supporting the project with their expertise and equipment.
Team Britannia will launch their record bid in 2017 from Europa Point in Gibraltar.
Length – 80 feet
Internal beam – 13 feet
External beam – 19 feet
Draft – 30 inches
Material – Marine grade aluminium, including nearly 12km of framing
Hull thickness – 8mm
Build weight – 15 tonnes
Range 4,000 nautical miles
Engines – Two customised Fiat Power Train C13 500, 6 cylinders
Power – Each engine is capable of generating 500HP at 2,000 RPM
Water jets – Two Castoldi turbo drive 490 HC
Fuel – Emulsified diesel (diesel, water and a unique emulsion developed by Clean Fuel and its partners)
Navigation station – Raymarine
Crew – 12
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