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Builders work on boat to break circumnavigation record

Work started in Great Britain on what designers hope will be the fastest circumnavigating powerboat in history.

Alan Priddy, a veteran of dozens of maritime challenges, believes he can break the current record of just under 61 days with the new “wave-slicing” super-boat to be built in Portsmouth, with a series of British companies playing a part.

The bid will be given the go-ahead this week with a formal announcement at the London Boat Show that the Hampshire firm ABC Marine is to build the boat.

Construction, expected to take four months, will get under way before a three-month program of sea trials in the Solent, according to a report in The (U.K.) Telegraph.

In addition to having a specially designed hull that is intended to cut fuel consumption by as much as 30 percent, the boat will use a unique new fuel compound designed to cut pollutants dramatically by mixing diesel and water.

The “SulNOx” emulsion is made by smashing the fuel particles together repeatedly at great speed and under high pressure. “Up until this week, the project was only on paper," Priddy told the paper. "We had pledges of support, a crew, but no boat.”

The ordering of the metal, appointment of a boatbuilder and a commitment of more than $2.7 million (about 1.8 million pounds) of material equipment and construction costs as part of the $4.38 million (2.9 million pounds) project “means this just got very real,” Priddy said.

“Although we are used to building large commercial boats, the design and structure of this very special boat is exciting everyone at ABC Marine and we have assured Alan and the crew of Team Britannia that this boat will be the pinnacle of everything we have done,” ABC Marine managing director Paul Johnson said. “Like Alan, we have been sitting on the edge of our seats for this day to come.”

Priddy’s “Team Britannia” attempt will circumnavigate the globe, starting and finishing in Gibraltar, passing through the Suez and Panama canals and cutting across the Tropic of Cancer and the equator with stops in Puerto Rico, Acapulco, Honolulu, Guam, Singapore, Oman and Malta.

In addition to the eight experienced sailors skippered by Priddy, the crew will include British servicemen who were wounded in the line of duty.

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