Bio-Diesel Speedster In Barbados To Start Round-The-World Dash
Earthrace is a bid to break the world record for circumnavigating the globe in a powerboat, and using only renewable fuels. The program includes an 18-month tour calling at 60 of the worlds great cities, promoting fuels like biodiesel, and raising awareness about sustainable use of resources.
Circumnavigating the globe represents the pinnacle of powerboat challenges, and at 24,000 nautical miles, is also the world’s longest race. The current record of 75 days was set by British boat Cable & Wireless in 1998.
The Earthrace aims to smash this record by completing the voyage in less than 65 days, and will mark the first time in history that an official UIM Powerboat record will be attempted using renewable fuel…
The race starts and finishes in Barbados – from March 10 to about May 2, 2007…
… from the EarthRace website (link here)
Boat & Crew Arrived In Barbados Without Required Cricket Visas – But With Bullet Holes
The Earthrace boat is tied up in Bridgetown now and to me, it looks like something out of a science fiction movie. Up close it is also not as shiny and new as it appears on the website – which is no surprise because it has already journeyed from it’s home in New Zealand to the west coast of the United States, through the Panama Canal to the southern States and then to Barbados.
And oh yes… it has a few patched bullet holes in it from a bad encounter with the Columbian Police, who don’t care it your boat is famous and has sponsorship decals all over it. When they say “Stop” … they really mean it!
Many of the Earthrace crew are from New Zealand and had no idea that they needed a visa to enter Barbados. After all, they had been planning this for years and researched every little detail before setting out on their journey from New Zealand to Barbados. Then a few days before Christmas Mama Mia Mottley and company decided that Kiwis weren’t trustworthy enough to continue coming to Barbados without visas.
In all of that, the Earthrace folks were at sea and missed the fact that things had changed in Barbados. Obviously, something was worked out because the boat is here and I haven’t heard any stories of the crew being thrown in jail. 😉
The race is due to start on March 10th and we’ll be there to bring you what we can see.
You can visit the Earthrace website, blogs for the Captain and crew and a MySpace website too. (All links can be found at the Earthrace website.) It has not been all smooth sailing for the crew – with the shooting incident (no one hurt), some mechanical problems and a few loads of bad fuel, so it will be exciting to follow their progress around the world. Success is by no means assured and that makes things interesting for the spectators – and even more interesting for the crew!
Here’s a bit from the Ground Crew’s blog by Scott Fratcher…
27 Feb 07
The Little Things
Ground Crew-Marine Engineer
It’s the little things that can’t be planed for that slow down the ground crew.
Last night we receive an email that a major world Cricket match is being held in the Caribbean. That means new and special visa requirements. Kiwi citizens need a special advanced visa to enter Barbados.
Pete, Ryan and Anthony are already underway heading for Barbados from Puerto Rico. That means they will arrive without visas. What does that mean you ask?
I call the Barbados Embassy, they tell me they don’t issue Barbadian visas for the next couple months. That is now up to the Jamaican Embassy. I call the Jamaican Embassy. A land management company answers, but they tell me the Jamaican Embassy happens to share an office with them and they put me through.
I make a silent prayer never to buy land from such a place.
The Jamaican conciliate tells me they have no idea what to do if the boat is already underway.
“You mi jus hav do tak da chanc” the council tells me in a singsong happy tone.
That exchange and research took three hours and were back at square one.
I sit down to check on Earthrace’s progress.
In fact everyone can get a live update on the Earthrace position. Just go to Earthrace.net and click “track our progress”.
And don’t miss the TURBO tab to see our new Discovery Channel link.
I click and find Earthrace has turned back for Puerto Rico. I want to call but the new satellite communication system is in my bag waiting to be installed in Barbados.
We wait till they are back in cell phone range. A tired voice explains the new load of biodiesel had a high level of glycerin. It needs one more run through the centrifuge and that will take half a day.
It’s another little thing that is adding up to a major delay…
… continue reading this blog entry at Earthrace Blog (link here)