Green challenger up on Cable & Wireless

Earthrace is speeding up the western coast of Mexico en route to Manzanillo as it continues to gain on the current Round the World Powerboat Record.

The crew hopes to arrive in Isla Navidad, Manzanillo on Wednesday afternoon (14 May).

New Zealand skipper Pete Bethune and his international crew are currently 513 nautical miles ahead of the pace set by the record holder, British boat Cable and Wireless, in 1998.

The crew is making up for lost time waiting for a transit through the Panama Canal at the weekend.

“Good sea conditions have allowed us to cover almost 600 nautical miles in the last 24 hours,” says Bethune.

“We have seen a few thunderstorms off in the distance, and one of the most amazing lightning shows I’ve ever seen, but the storms are local and they show up as giant blobs on our radar screen, allowing us to skirt around the worst bits.

“Considering this is our first day in the Pacific, we’ve seen an amazing array of life.

“A pod of whales, several pods of dolphins, a sailfish, hundreds of flying fish, about twenty turtles, and several workups of surface fish with birds feeding on them, and lots of smaller fish that break the surface as we rocket past.

“I love the diversity in this ocean – the many islands that litter its surface, the deep blue water that invites you in for a swim. It’s the greatest stretch of water on earth.

“There was a bit of downturn in morale over the last few days, with the problems in Puerto Rico and the brief delay in Panama. And things didn’t get better when one member of the crew, Mark, slipped and lacerated his foot.

“You have to remind yourself sometimes quite how much organisation this project entails – our role on the boat is clearly defined – get Earthrace from A to B as quickly and safely as possible – but the ground crew also have to think about fuel, water, food, customs, immigration, canal transits and anything else that may throw itself at us.

“We all have to remember that we have the same goal – to get Earthrace round the world in record time, and to make a positive contribution in the process. There was renewed optimism when we left the dock behind in Panama, and now spirits are as high as ever as we power through the ocean at an average speed of 24 knots, well on track to reach Manzanillo ahead of schedule.”

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