As Ellen MacArthur celebrates lowering the solo round-the-world sailing record, a project to grab the outright record in a powerboat is gathering pace.

As Ellen MacArthur celebrates lowering the solo round-the-world sailing record, a project to grab the outright record in a powerboat is gathering pace.

The so-called Earthrace aims to use environmentally-friendly fuels to power a radical wave-piercing trimaran around the planet in 65 days.

The current record was set by British boat Cable & Wireless in 1998, when the diesel-powered craft covered the 24,382 nautical miles in 74 days – around three days longer than MacArthur has just taken to complete the distance in her sailing trimaran. The record for a fully-crewed sailing boat is 58 days.

The Earthrace project took a step nearer the start line this week after Cummins MerCruiser Diesel came on board as sponsors. The Earthrace team are set to make presentations to the US marine industry at the Miami Boat Show this month.

British adventurer Alan Priddy, who has circled the world in a rigid inflatable, will be one of the crew on the craft, which has been designed in New Zealand. Sea trials on a scale-model (pictured) proved successful last year.

See Motor Boats Monthly over the coming months for more on the project.