Skipper begins to admit defeat

The Round the World Speed Record could now be beyond the Earthrace team’s grasp, skipper Pete Bethune has admitted.

For the first time in the disaster-hit voyage New Zealander Bethune admits in his latest blog that the biodiesel-fuelled craft could fail to beat the 75-day record set by British boat Cable & Wireless Adventurer nine years ago.

Hit by further engine problems in the Pacific, the team is almost 4,000 miles behind record pace, with around 11,000 miles run.

They are already on Day 47 of the circumnavigation they originally claimed they would finish in 65 days, and have been waiting in Palau for almost two weeks for parts to arrive to repair their battered engine.

After receiving news of further delays, Bethune describes a conversation with one of the Earthrace team in his latest blog: “Ryan comes wandering in. He’s got a big smile on his face so he’s obviously not aware of the latest developments. He slots down with a plate of hot food and I give him the crappy news. His smile disappears and he looks out at the harbour just metres from where we’re sitting. ‘Does this mean we’re buggered for the record?’ he asks. I do some quick sums in my head. Even if we had a perfect run from here there’s no way we’d get the record by Barbados. He pushes his plate away but doesn’t say anything more.”

Bethune admits he is also missing his family and the strain of mishap-laden voyage is beginning to show.

He writes: “There’s also one other thing that’s been gnawing at me since last evening. Sharyn had phoned up from New Zealand in tears, annoyed at the lack of contact with me, stressing over a $400 bill from the vet for our cat Honey, and no doubt pissed off at how long I’ve been away. All fair enough really. Maybe I should just flag all this and get home where I belong, I think to myself.”

He concludes the entry reflecting on “what a difficult journey this is”.

Read more in the next issue of MBY.

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