Green machine Earthrace arrives Southampton

Earthrace
Jim King
The fastest and greenest powerboat in the world will be making waves when it sails into Southampton 15th August 2008. The £1.5m eco-craft is on a victory tour after smashing the world record for the fastest circumnavigation of the world in a powerboat.

Earthrace, which runs on vegetable oil, beat the previous record by almost a fortnight - and struck a blow for the environment by using bio-fuel.She will now be powering into Ocean Village on Friday to give members of the public the chance to take a look at the record-breaking vessel.

The futuristic-looking 78ft boat took just 60 days, 23 hours and 49 minutes to complete the 24,000-mile voyage, which began and ended at Sagunto, Spain.

Hampshire businessman Paul Topley was on board when it crossed the finishing line.

The 46-year-old from Ampfield was invited to join the crew for the final leg of the journey because he is managing director of Churches Fire Security, one of the sponsors.

His wife Lisa, 39, was on board when Earthrace set off from Spain back in April.

The campaign was a labour of love for skipper Pete Bethune, who auctioned his house and sold his company to pay for the boat, which has a top speed of 40 knots.

It was the second time he had attempted to break the ten-year-old record - the team's 2007 attempt was called off after the boat was hit by storms.

Earthrace is due to arrive in Southampton at around midday and will leave on Sunday.

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