Round the world record bid dodges crocs

Latest press release from the Earthrace team, just released:

Panama City, Panama – March 13, 2007? Earthrace has now completed the first race leg from Barbados to Colon, Panama, a 1247.3 nautical mile adventure in 83.25 hours (21:15 UTC March 13, 2007). Earthrace averaged 15 knots across the Caribbean. On board Earthrace during the Barbados to Panama leg was Earthrace boat crew, Pete Bethune the Skipper, Ryan Heron the Cinematographer, and Anthony Distefano the Engineer, as well as two sponsors, Bruce Sharp and Paul Farrington.

During the first race leg the carbon propellers purchased from the German company Air Fertigung Gnbh began shredding within nineteen hours of the race start. Earthrace was forced to slow its speed from 24 knots to 12. The crew became aware of the problem due to the unfamiliar vibration that engulfed the entire boat. To confirm the problem Skipper Pete Bethune dove into the Caribbean waters with a torch to find the propellers were shredding, some of the holes were as large as a dollar bill. The most apparent fear was that without propellers Earthrace would become a sitting target in the same waters they were shot at just five months prior.

Earthrace ground crew Scott Fratcher and wife Allison Thompson quickly evaluated the dilemma, found, purchased, and shipped propellers from New Orleans, Louisiana to Colon, Panama. The newly purchased props are made by HyTorq, and were purchased from Jefferson Marine. The HyTorq propellers have four blades and are 86.36cm by 106.6 cm. These propellers will arrive in Panama City at 10:30 UTC today, Wednesday, March 14, 2007. Once these propellers have cleared customs they will be delivered to Colon, Panama where Earthrace crew will then install them overnight in the crocodile infested waters of Shelter Bay. To then continue through the canal for a day crossing Thursday, March 15, 2007. Earthrace crew and boat are safe and will continue on the record attempt.