Earthrace biodiesel powerboat under construction

By | July 01, 2005
Circumnavigating the globe in a sleek, futuristic-looking powerboat fueled by biodiesel in record time-while stopping at 60 of the world's most famous cities to promote renewable fuels-is what Earthrace is all about. Peter Bethune, CEO and founder of the Australian-based Earthrace project, said in early June the Earthrace boat was four months into construction.

"This has gone mostly as expected, although a shortage of funds has meant we only have 10 guys on construction, which will have us launching later than we'd hoped for," Bethune said.

The two outrigger-like sponsons are complete, and now the crew has focused its efforts on the construction of the central hull. "Composites are costing us more than budgeted," Bethune said. The war in Iraq, he intimated, has caused a global shortage of carbon and Kevlar.

Bethune said aside from composites, most other items have either been donated or sponsored to the project. "The exceptions are life rafts and a Fleet 55 Comms System, plus some odds and ends. In terms of value, items still to get sponsored account for about 10 percent," he said.

He asserted that Earthrace has 150 sponsors to date. The project is still looking for a title sponsor. "We are in talks with Gillette, Emirates, HSBC and a few others, but lots of work still to do there," Bethune said.

Earthrace is also looking at school competitions, where students create art, short films or essays on environmental issues in their area. Winners would receive various prizes. Earthrace is looking for someone to oversee this promotional aspect in the United States.

Fifty volunteers have signed up to help with promotions in the United States. Bethune said the team would like more volunteers in the Los Angeles and New Orleans, La., areas. Interested people are urged to contact him at [email protected]
-Staff Report
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