It looks like it’s truly the end of the road, or the water in this case, for a biodiesel-powered boat trying to set a record for a ’round-the-world trip.
Previous reports of the Earthrace abandoning its bid were dismissed by the crew. The record attempt looked in serious jeopardy earlier this spring when the boat ran into mechanical and biodiesel fuel supply problems. But the crew decided it could restart the race and continued its attempt. On May 18th, David Perez with the Earthrace’s ground crew sent this note to Domestic Fuel:
Just wanted to let everyone know that the world record attempt is absolutely, positively not abandoned. We have an official restart/finish line in San Diego, CA and are currently en route to Salalah, Oman doing good time.
Please visit our website for updates on the race and thanks for your continued support … we here at Earthrace believe failure is not an option and with your help, we are determined to fight our way to a victorious end !
Earthrace Ground Crew
Race Leg Sponsorship
But the Earthrace has run into more problems, suffering structural damage to the main hull while crossing the Mediterranean Sea. The damage occured when the boat hit a strong storm on route from Port Said, Egypt to Malaga, Spain… the third severe storm she had hit in three weeks. The crew found a two meter crack (6 feet) in Malaga. They made repairs, but shortly after leaving the port, it was apparent the repair would not hold. In this release on the Earthrace web site, the crew was crushed at the realization the record-breaking attempt would not happen this year:
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 shot “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”
But Bethune hints they might be trying again… as early as March of next year.