by Bob Maxwell
In the last 24 hours, the 78 foot biofuelled trimaran Earthrace has gained another 323 nautical miles on the World circumnavigation speed record.
Earthrace at dawn
Earthrace is powering up the western coast of Mexico towards Acapulco en route to Manzanillo. At 12:35GMT skipper Pete Bethune and his crew were 513 nautical miles ahead of the pace set by Cable & Wireless in 1998.
Earthrace is currently averaging 23-24 knots in smooth seas. Bethune reported by sat phone 'Good sea conditions have allowed us to cover 556 nautical miles in the last 24 hours, our second best one day distance during this Round the World speed attempt .'
'There was a bit of a downturn in morale over the last few days, with the problems in Puerto Rico and the delay in Panama. And things didn’t get better when one member of the crew, Mark, slipped and lacerated his foot. You have to remind yourself sometimes quite how much organisation this project entails – our role on the boat is clearly defined – get Earthrace from A to B as quickly and safely as possible – but the ground crew also have to think about fuel, water, food, customs, immigration, canal transits and anything else that may throw itself at us.
'We all have to remember that we have the same goal – to get Earthrace round the world in record time, and to make a positive contribution in the process. There was renewed optimism when we left the dock behind in Panama and now spirits are as high as ever as we power through the ocean at an average speed of 24 knots, well on track to reach Manzanillo ahead of schedule.'
'Now we are enjoying great conditions. In contrast to the Atlantic, here in the Pacific, we’ve seen an amazing array of life. A pod of whales, several pods of dolphins, a sailfish, hundreds of flying fish, about twenty turtles, and several workups of surface fish with birds feeding on them, and lots of smaller fish that break the surface as we rocket past. I love the diversity in this ocean – the many islands that litter its surface, the deep blue water that invites you in for a swim. It’s the greatest stretch of water on earth.'
The crew hopes to arrive in Isla Navidad, Manzanillo on Wednesday afternoon (14 May). Hopefully after a two hour refuelling stop, Earthrace will head out again towards San Deigo, another 1300 miles to the north west.
You can listen to the latest report from Earthrace here now.