Biodiesel boat gives up on record, says report
An effort to set a record for circumnavigating the globe and make a statement about the environment is over, according to a news report from New Zealand.
TV 3 in New Zealand reports that Pete Bethune, captain of the Earthrace, has conceded that it will be impossible to beat the record.
The Earthrace , a boat that runs on biodiesel and employs other green technologies, launched on March 10 from Barbados. Since then, it has been plagued by mechanical problems and also got delayed by a wreck in Central America. For the past several days, the boat has been stuck in Palau foraging for parts.The Earthrace, docked in S.F. in August.
"Even if we had a perfect run from here, there's no way we'd get the record by Barbados," Bethune, who is from New Zealand, wrote in his blog . Bethune's last post was April 26, on the early side of the International Date Line. The TV 3 story was posted April 27, New Zealand time.
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.
Several biodiesel refiners had agreed to supply the boat with fuel. Ironically, the only place that a sponsor had not delivered biodiesel, a form of diesel made from vegetable oil and/or animal fat, was Palau. Thus, even if the boat had nabbed the record, it may have had to rely a bit on fossil fuels.
The boat also employed organic compounds to keep barnacles off the hull.
The boat has created a media sensation in nearly all the ports it has docked and Bethune has mostly kept an open boat policy for visitors.