Earthrace storms towards Puerto Rico

Earthrace closes on Puerto Rico
Six metre seas, a submarining trimaran and a fuel spill. It’s been a tough 24 hours for New Zealander Peter Bethune and his Earthrace crew.

They set out from the Vulkan Shipyard at the port of Sagunto, Spain, Sunday, April 27, aiming to set a new world record for a powerboat circling the globe running 100 percent on sustainable fuels.

Six days later, Earthrace has powered nearly 3,000 nautical miles; she stopped for two hours in the Azores to refuel and is now closing on Puerto Rico.

A day ago in mid-Atlantic a fuel tank latch failed and 50 litres of biodiesel spread through the boat. The Earthrace crew had no choice but to stop the boat and fashion a temporary latch while at the same time mopping up the spilt fuel from the bilges.

Then last night the weather deteriorated, waves built from two metres up to six metres on the nose and Bethune slowed the boat down for eight hours, as the wave piercer punched into the heavy waves at speeds of 14-15 knots

Now conditions have eased and the boat speed has lifted back towards 20 knots as she closes on the Americas.

The crew of the 78-foot trimaran aims to complete the voyage in less than 65 days, which would easily come in under the present record of 74 days, 23 hours, and 53 minutes, set in 1998 by the United Kingdom boat Cables & Wireless Adventurer.

Listen to the latest sat phone report from Earthrace below.