Earthrace – Setting a New World Record

Earthrace – Setting a New World Record
Earthrace, a 24m tri-hull wavepiercer built in New Zealand, has smashed the world’s speed record for a powerboat to circumnavigate the globe by completing the journey in 60 days, 23 hours and 49 minutes. The previous record, set in 1998 by the British boat Cable and Wireless Adventurer, was 74 days, 20 hours and 58 minutes. By running 100% renewable biodiesel fuel, and with a net zero carbon footprint, Earthrace set out to draw global attention to the great efficiency and potential found in alternative fuel sources.





Earthrace utilizes wave piercing technology so that the boat is able to traverse rough sea conditions while maintaining a high speed. The boat’s hull doesn’t ride over the top of a wave but pierces through it, thus minimizing stress on the vessel. Earthrace is designed for 15m (50ft) waves, and to go 7m (23ft) underwater with a factor of safety of 3.

Earthrace runs sustainably produced B100 biodiesel. The vessel uses two QSC-540 engines producing a combined power output of 1080 horsepower. They are cooled via a raw water intake and feature turbochargers with a boost pressure up to 45 psa (3 bar), and an intercooler (aftercooler). The boat’s gearboxes are the ZF-305A single speed box with a ration of 2.423:1.

Earthrace’s horns are actually ducts which get submerged when encountering waves of over 8m. Hot air from around the engines is expelled out the top of these, while cool air is sucked through the lower channel and funneled under the engines, running by convection.

Aside for running on 100% renewable biodiesel fuel, Earthrace features other eco-friendly elements as parts of it are made from hemp composite. Furthermore, it uses a new non-toxic type of antifoul and lubricants made from vegetable oils. In addition, bilge water is pumped through special filters so that any oil or hydrocarbon can be removed.

“Earthrace’s success has proved that any form of transport, including marine, can be nondamaging to the environment while still maintaining high performance. Although these are early days for alternative fuel and there are issues that need to be addressed by those with the power to make change happen. But I hope that Earthrace and her adventure highlight to the world the importance of continuing to research and develop alternative fuel sources for global use,” said Skipper Pete Bethune. 

TFOT covered the XSR48 speedboat – a luxury powerboat with supercar looks. With two powerful bi-turbo diesel engines or twin petrol engine ranging from 1410 to 2400 horse power (hp) and a range of 345 miles/555 kilometers, the XSR48 can boost a supercar acceleration to match its stunning appearance. TFOT also covered several other watercrafts, including the Transparent Canoe, which allows its user to see the underwater world beneath the boat, the UH-19XRW Hoverwing, which combines the features of a boat, an airplane and a hovercraft, and the Dolphin Watercraft, which is a fully submersible vessel designed to mimic the look and abilities of a dolphin.

More information about Earthrace can be found here.
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About the author

Noa Rotkop

Noa has a B.A. in Philosophy from Tel-Aviv University and is currently completing her degree in Arts. She has also applied for MA studies in Philosophy, which she plans to begin next year.

View all articles by Noa Rotkop