Earthrace attempt in question

By | April 06, 2007
Trying to get biodiesel to 13 ports across the globe was expected to be the biggest hurdle for the Earthrace team in its attempt to break the 1998 circumnavigation record of 74 days, 20 hours and 58 minutes in a B100-powered wave-piercing ship. As it turned out, fuel was the least of the crew's concerns.

Just seven days into its attempt to break the record for circumnavigating the globe by sea, Earthrace's trip was put in jeopardy after a trio of setbacks. After leaving Barbados on March 10, the Earthrace crew experienced problems with the 78-foot trimaran's carbon propellers. Damage to the blades forced the crew to slow from 24 knots to 12 knots en route to port in Colon, Panama. After replacing the propeller blades in Panama, the crew continued on its journey only to face another problem: a hairline crack on a heat exchanger in the starboard engine. The crew was able to enact a temporary solution and ran the ship on its port engine alone, planning to make permanent repairs at a later stop in Acapulco, Mexico.

Making it to Acapulco is now in question following an incident off the shore of Guatemala in the Pacific Ocean. According to a press release from Earthrace, on March 17 the ship was involved in a collision with a small fiberglass fishing skiff. One man aboard the skiff is missing and presumed drowned while another man was seriously injured. A third occupant of the skiff received minor injuries in the collision. No one aboard Earthrace was injured, but upon return to Guatemala with the injured fishermen, the biodiesel-powered boat and crew were escorted into Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala, and placed under military guard while the incident was investigated.
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