Back in the day, the ceremony was about laying the keel. In the 21st century it’s about collecting the aluminium! However, the moment is no less significant.
On Monday April 4th, global adventurer Alan Priddy and the team he has selected for an attempt on the world powerboat circumnavigation record, took their first steps in the build of their revolutionary new boat. Built entirely to Lloyds specifications, the design is 80’ long, 16’ wide, has an estimated top speed of over 45 knots and a range of 5000 nautical miles.
It’s not just the twin engine, jet-drive design that’s cutting edge but the build process will be breaking new boundaries as well. Forget welding pieces together to create the shape of the hull, this build will be about creating a frame and then shaping aluminium plates around it – minimising the build time, cutting down on welding and creating an incredibly strong and elegant design.
It does though require enormous plates of aluminium and Blackburns Metals, one of Europe’s leading suppliers, have been selected to provide them. The build team will consist of Alan Priddy and his team (including Jan Falkowski and Clive Tully from Alan’s previous record-breaking trips and British Powerboat Champion, Shelley Jory-Leigh) and Micklewrights Structures Ltd. Micklewrights may be best known as fabricators of metal buildings but this means their metal-working skills are second to none. They have been chosen to assist in the build because of their outstanding responses to any technical questions put to them.
The build process will be a collaborative one between the skilled metal workers at Micklewrights and the circumnavigation team who have a wealth of long-distance powerboating and yachting experience behind them. That experience has shown them exactly what works and what doesn’t and all that knowledge is being put into this build. Also supporting the project are a number of marine industry leading companies who will all be supplying their relevant expertise.
The route for the record attempt is strictly regulated by the rules of the Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM). Those rules dictate that the craft has to pass through the Suez and Panama Canals and that the journey must start and finish in the same place, though that can be anywhere in the world. The team’s proposed route will be made up of five 4,800mile legs, with fuel and provisioning stops supported by an F1-style pit crew to minimise time spent in harbour. Anticipated stops include Gibraltar, Panama, Honolulu, Hong Kong and Singapore (or India).
More information about the project can be found at www.circumnavigationrecord.com