Due to leave the blocks in September, a new 24m boat is set to become one of the outstanding deliveries of 2016.
Come October, the vessel will set out from Gibraltar with the intention of circumnavigating the globe in record time, covering a route of 23,850nm and aiming to beat the existing record set by New Zealand’s Pete Bethune, who completed his round-the-world trip in the 24m trimaran Earthrace in 2008.
The vessel is being built for Team Britannia, spearheaded by seasoned sailor and record breaker Alan Priddy, which intends to cut seven days off Bethune’s current record of 60 days, 23 hours and 49 minutes. To achieve this goal, the vessel will only be able to stay at each of its key refuelling stops for a period of approximately four hours.
In accordance with the guidelines laid down by the international governing body of powerboating, Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM), the vessel will be required to pass through the Suez and Panama Canals and cross the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator in order to validly claim the circumnavigation world record. The boat will subsequently depart Gibraltar for Puerto Rico, before entering the Panama Canal, en route to Mexico. From there, she will travel to Hawaii, Guam and Singapore, then head to Oman and access the Suez Canal on a route back to Gibraltar.
Far and WiDE
The craft has been designed by Professor Bob Cripps, former technical director of VT Halmatic and a veteran of UK Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) designs. Construction of the powerboat commenced in June at Aluminium Boatbuilding Company’s Hayling Island facility.
In addition to challenging the round-the-world record, however, the boat is also set to serve as an example of the potential of green craft technology.
For instance, the vessel has been constructed largely from recycled aluminium; Team Britannia estimates that approximately 80% of her build will be fashioned from this recycled material. In the event of scrapping the boat at a later date, the group claims that 90% of the build could be recycled further. The vessel has a hull thickness of 8mm.
The craft will also be powered by a relatively novel fuel, in the form of the Water-in-Diesel (WiDE) fuel emulsion solution developed by Clean Fuel Ltd – a new company, set up by Priddy.
WiDE was born from the notion of utilising emulsifiers to mix water with fuel, in order to drastically cut NOx and particulate matter (PM) emissions. According to Clean Fuel Ltd: “WiDE cuts PM and some greenhouse gas emissions by improving atomisation of the hydrocarbon molecules, increasing their surface area, leading to a more complete burn. This decreases the temperature of the combustion and improves the power output. As for PM emissions, the presence of water during the burning process intensively reduces the rate of formation of soot particles and enhances their burnout.”
In the past, adoption of such technology has been hampered by the risk of uncontrolled micro-explosions. However, Clean Fuel Ltd claims to have “cracked” this problem by incorporating a technique that involves “wrapping the water with fuel”. In September 2015, the company undertook a series of fuel tests; using a 373kW boat engine, the Clean Fuel product was shown to result in reduced NOx emissions compared to conventional diesel fuels, with no subsequent tail-off in performance nor power, the company claims.
Team Britannia intends to monitor the WiDE solution’s performance during the course of the world record attempt, and hopes that positive feedback could lead to some instant opportunities to place the fuel mix on the commercial market. Priddy comments: “[WiDE] does not require expensive changes to existing engines and has the potential to actually deliver a net saving to the user.” The team estimates that this special fuel formula could lead to a 30% reduction in emissions, overall.
The craft is being fitted with a pair of FPT C13 500 engines. These six-cylinder diesel engines will generate 373kW apiece, and will drive two Castoldi Turbo Drive (TD) 490 HC waterjets. Castoldi has also provided the craft with its electric and hydraulic main steering systems. Team Britannia intends to realise an average speed of 16knots throughout the course of the journey, regardless of the weather conditions encountered.
The vessel’s core crew will comprise eight persons, in addition to at least two wounded or injured UK servicemen/women, supported by the Royal Foundation’s Endeavour Fund. The wheelhouse features a 6m x 3m galley, with seating for 12 persons, as well as toilet and shower, chain locker, workshop and stores spaces. Four bunks are located in the aft cabin, in addition to two single cabins and a double cabin.
Raymarine has supplied the vessel’s navigation station, while Standard Horizon is to supply the crew with VHF communications equipment, in the form of its HX870E radios. Rated 6W, these models feature built-in GPS and man overboard functions, and include a ‘Group Monitoring Function’ which enables a user to check the positions of up to nine other users on his or her display.
Standard Horizon adds: “In the unlikely event that a lightning strike or other weather event knocks out the boat’s advanced navigation system, then the leg can be completed using just one of the HX870E sets being carried on board, as it has a waypoint navigation function. It can store up to 20 routes with 200 waypoints, with navigation via a compass-style display, and can also be connected with other onboard devices such as a laptop, for uploading waypoint information, via a USB port that can also output NMEA sentences for other onboard functions.”