Biodiesel boat race back on, says captain

Yo ho ho. A little tug on the parameters and the race is back on

Earthrace, a novel-looking boat that's trying to circumnavigate the globe on biodiesel and set a record, is apparently back on track.

The group set sail from Barbados on March 10 with a goal of getting around the world in less than 75 days. Unfortunately, a series of snags in Central America slowed it down. Engine problems grounded it in Palau last month. The record became impossible to achieve.

Captain Peter Bethune, however, isn't giving up. Instead, he's re-starting the voyage, and taking San Diego as its starting and finishing point.

"If we continue our current pace, we will break the record by 4 days," wrote David Perez of the Earthrace ground crew in an email. The estimated arrival date is June 21. The boat is currently in the Singapore area. You can read more here on the Captain's blog, which is a phrase I've always secretly wanted to use.

Of course, if Earthrace makes it, a do-over like this will likely create debates over who really owns the record. But that's what sports are all about.

The record for circumnavigation is 75 days, and it was set in 1998 in by a British group of sailors in a regular diesel boat. Although Bethune did not have extensive open-water sailing experience, the Earthrace on paper seemed to have a pretty good shot at the record. The boat, a trimaran, can cut through high waves and travel at 40 mph.

Bethune hopes to raise awareness for biodiesel and environmental issues during the race. To help that cause, Earthrace maintains an 'open boat' policy wherever it lands and invites locals to inspect it.

 

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