Preston’s Ray Finch (50) is taking on his latest challenge and returning to the seas by stepping aboard the crew of Team Britannia, a new round-the-world record attempt.
The British Army veteran and former boxer will join the Hampshire based round-the-world powerboat, which hopes to cut up to seven days off the current record of 60 days 23 hours 49 minutes, held by New Zealander Pete Bethune.
Team Britannia, led by British ocean racing legend Alan Priddy, will use a revolutionary semi-wave slicing boat that will carve through the waves, rather than surfing them. The super-efficient design, a variant of the “fast displacement hull” will reduce fuel consumption by up to 30 per cent and make the 24,000 mile trip smoother and faster.
The boat will be crewed by a team of 12, including up to five wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women (WIS) on each of the seven legs of the voyage who are being supported by veterans’ charity Blesma.
Mr Priddy commented: “I am really pleased to welcome Ray into the Team Britannia record attempt. Ray contributes to our impressive group of veterans, which makes this challenge so unique and gives us so much to be proud of. Ray’s career in the infantry and as former boxer proves he is up for a challenge – there is no better quality than that!”
Ray added: “From a young boy, I was always fascinated with the Guinness Book of World Records, so it would be amazing to be part of it! I am really looking forward to what will be an epic challenge – something I am always ready to crack on with as a former infantryman. As well as smashing the world record, I also want this record attempt to be about proving that my disability is not the end of living an active life, and that despite giving up on challenges after I was retired from the Army, there is still fire left in my belly!”
Ray, who comes from Preston but now lives near Blackburn, Lancashire, joined the British Army at 16 and served his country as an infantryman – being awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery.
Being no stranger to water, Ray is a qualified PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) Divemaster as well as a rescue diver. He is also an emergency first responder.
In addition to fuel-efficient design, the boat will use a pollution cutting Water-in-Diesel (WiDE) fuel emulsion power the two race-tuned Fiat Power Train C13 500, 6 cylinder engines. The boat is being built by the Aluminium Boatbuilding Company who are based near Portsmouth and will be fitting the latest navigation and communications equipment from the British marine industry.
The boat will be launched in late 2016 and will then commence sea trials. The record attempt will get underway next year using the iconic Europa Point in Gibraltar as its timing mark.
To complete the record attempt the boat must pass through the Suez and Panama Canals, cross the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator and start and finish in the same place. The world record authorities, UIM (Union Internationale Motonautique) have approved Team Britannia’s proposed route, which will start in Gibraltar and call at Puerto Rico, Manzanillo, Honolulu, Guam, Singapore, Oman and Malta to take on fuel.
Mr Priddy concluded: “We are at a crucial and exciting point in the project as we have just turned over the hull. So the build is into its final stages and we are putting together our team, both shore-based and those who will take part in this epic challenge. Getting the right team together is crucial if we are to smash the current record, so it is great to have Ray on board – he has the courage and determination required to bring the world record back to Great Britain.”
Notes to editors:
Team Britannia is a multi-million pound British bid to design and build the fastest and most fuel efficient semi-wave slicing powerboat to circumnavigate the globe for the much-coveted UIM world record, currently held by the New Zealander Pete Bethune at 60 days 23 hours 49 minutes.
The World Record Authorities (UIM) dictate that for a recognised circumnavigation the craft has to pass through the Suez and Panama Canals, cross the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator and must start and finish the journey in the same place.
The boat is a completely new design from Professor Bob Cripps, former Technical Director of VT Halmatic. It has been designed in the UK and will be constructed in the Portsmouth area out of marine-grade aluminium. It encompasses “an exceptionally efficient hull”, which will cut fuel consumption by up to 30 per cent.
In addition to the design the vessel will be powered by a revolutionary fuel emulsion, a mixture of diesel, water and emulsifying agent from Clean Fuel Ltd. This will reduce harmful emissions such as particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide.
The effects of the emulsified fuel on the engines and the emissions will be monitored for the duration of the voyage and the results published online.
The boat is being built by the Aluminium Boatbuilding Company based in Hampshire, out of marine-grade aluminium. The metal was produced by Blackburn metals and laser-cut by specialist firm Aalco in Southampton.
The whole construction process is expected to take around nine months before it starts a programme of sea trials around the UK.
The boat will also showcase nearly a dozen leading marine companies, which are supporting the project with their expertise and equipment.
Team Britannia will launch their record bid in spring 2017 from Europa Point in Gibraltar.
Length – 80 feet
Internal beam – 13 feet
External beam – 19 feet
Draft – 30 inches
Material – Marine grade aluminium, including nearly 12km of framing
Hull thickness – 8-10 mm
Build weight – 20 tonnes
Range 4,000 nautical miles
Engines – Two customised Fiat Power Train C13 500, 6 cylinders
Power – Each engine is capable of generating 500HP at 2,000 RPM
Water jets – Two Castoldi turbo drive 490 HC
Fuel – Emulsified diesel (diesel, water and a unique emulsion developed by Clean Fuel and its partners)
Navigation station – Raymarine
Communications equipment – Standard Horizon & Iridium Everywere
Batteries – Mastervolt
Total crew – 20 (12 onboard with 5 rotating on and off the boat plus 3 shore based)
Crew clothing – Sebago