Earthrace: engine compression failure

Round the world record slips further from their grasp

Koror, Palau, – Earthrace undergoing repairs

Earthrace is currently undergoing repairs in Koror, after what appears to be a compression failure in its starboard engine.

Earthrace Captain, Pete Bethune, says they were about 500 nautical miles from Koror when there was a sudden change in engine tone. On inspection there was a large amount of white / blue smoke coming from the exhaust. The problem was initially diagnosed as a possible faulty injector, so the crew changed all six injectors, however the problem remained.

The boat then limped into Koror on one engine, arriving at 7:37am on Monday, 23rd April local time. Since then the problem has been isolated down to cylinder one, which has a compression of only one atmosphere, compared with around 24 atmospheres for the other 6 cylinders. Earthrace Engineer Scott Fratcher believes the problem is most likely to be a dropped valve or damaged piston, with evidence suggesting the valve is more likely.

A Technician from Cummins Mercruiser is flying to Guam tonight to assist with repairs, while a replacement head, piston and other parts are currently being organized. Koror is a remote island in the Pacific, located some 500 km East of the Philippines, and with limited flights, is a difficult place for urgent shipments. When the parts will arrive and how long the repairs will take is not known.

Recommended videos for you

Bethune says the only good to come from this latest challenge is the crew has been able to see one of the most stunningly beautiful Island chains anywhere in the world.

Earthrace is now just under half way round, in its mission to set a new record for a powerboat to circumnavigate the globe. This latest setback will make it even more difficult for them set a new record, although the team remains optimistic that it is still possible.


Latest videos