Earthrace sunk by red tape at Torquay

Earthrace - World Record Finish 2008

A round-the-world powerboat met its match during a visit to the Westcountry when officials said it was breaking health and safety rules by carrying invited passengers.


The skipper of an unnamed pleasure boat complained that Earthrace presented 'unfair competition', even though it was not taking any direct payment from passengers.

Now the skipper of the powerboat, which has endured attacks by Colombian bandits and punishing high-seas storms, has admitted defeat in the battle with red tape.

Pete Bethune, the boat's New Zealand skipper, said the people of Torquay had been very helpful to his crew by offering refreshments, and to say thankyou, he gave a few people a trip on her.

Because Earthrace is not a registered charter boat, it is not allowed to receive payment from passengers. 'We couldn't even take the harbourmaster out because he'd given us a free berth, which could be seen as a payment.

'We've been to more than 100 countries but this is the first time we've had this happen. We're not a chartered boat, so we could face a £50,000 fine if we break the law,' said Mr Bethune.

Maritime and Coastguard Agency officers issued the enforcement notice to Earthrace at Torquay harbour on Wednesday.

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