But problems ahead as they reach the Red Sea
Earthrace is around 13 days ahead of the current Round the World Powerboat Record and looking on target to beat it, with just one port stop to go.
The eco-powerboat is due to arrive at Salalah Port, Salalah, on Thursday 19 June, from where it heads up the Red Sea and through the Med before reaching its destination Valencia.
Earthrace, a 24m tri-hull wavepiercer that runs on biofuel, is 2,500 miles ahead of the world record pace set by the British Cable and Wireless Adventurer in 1998.
The crew are hoping for a speedy refuelling at this crucial stage of the race, before setting off up the Red Sea to Suez, the last port stop before returning to Spain.
If all goes to plan, the crew hopes to storm into Valencia on 27 June, smashing the record by 13 days.
However, they will be battling against adverse weather conditions as they head up the Eastern coast of Africa and later in the Mediterranean.
Earthrace has overcome many obstacles during this journey, the second attempt by the international crew.
The most challenging obstacle was the replacement of the boat’s driveshaft and propeller after hitting sea debris in Palau.
A rapid turnaround during the last port stop in India helped the crew claw back valuable time which was lost during these repair works.
“We’re so close to the end of the race that I can almost taste the world record,” says New Zealand skipper Pete Bethune.
“I have to keep reminding myself that we still have a lot to overcome.
“The weather isn’t great – we’ve had to endure monsoon conditions and massive waves on our way to Oman – and passing through the Suez Canal could be tricky.
“There have been reports of a massive backlog of ships waiting to transit the canal – we managed to overcome the same situation in Panama, and it’s vital we don’t get delayed here.
“Ground crew, boat crew and everyone else involved are pulling out all the stops to ensure these last legs of the race run as smoothly as possible.”