A former Royal Navy sailor, Richard Hunt (47), is returning to the seas by joining the crew of Team Britannia, the round-the-world powerboat record attempt.
Richard, who lives in Fareham, will join the project led by ocean racing legend Alan Priddy, which hopes to cut seven days off the current record of 60 days 23 hours 49 minutes held by Kiwi Pete Bethune.
The former Able seaman, who was based in Portsmouth for three years, is no stranger to record attempts. In 2014 he attempted to become the first amputee to kayak solo around the UK coast, but was halted after he injured his shoulder.
He will join the 12 strong onboard crew who will sail the 80ft vessel on its 23,000 nautical mile voyage as part of the Team’s veterans programme, which is supported by the Charity Blesma. On each of the seven legs, up to five of the crew will be wounded and injured former soldiers and sailors who will rotate on and off the boat.
Team Britannia, led by Alan Priddy who holds 37 records, will use a specially built boat that will cut through the waves, rather than going over the top of them or trying to “submarine” under them. The ground-breaking design, the work of Professor Bob Cripps, will make the boat much more stable and reduce fuel consumption by up to 30 per cent.
Mr Priddy commented: “Richard’s ability to push himself to the physical and mental limit is well-proven. It is great to have him on board to provide the grit and determination we need to bring the world record back to Great Britain. It is also fantastic to reinforce a key message that Team Britannia is keen to deliver right across the world – that disability should never define you and that you can and will be able to do extraordinary things after injury.”
Richard added: “Opportunities like this do not come along very often, and I am delighted to be part of this amazing crew. I have unfinished business when it comes to world records – injury stopped me from becoming the first amputee to kayak solo round the UK, but I’m determined that nothing will stop me this time. I’m looking forward to learning more about myself, the team and our magnificent boat. Alan has selected a great team and I can’t wait to make history for Great Britain.”
Richard, who was originally from Nottingham, but now lives in Fareham, Hampshire, ran his own business, Saltwater Creations. An above knee amputee he visited schools and colleges to talk about disability, setting and achieving goals, resilience, empowerment and focus.
No stranger to an adrenaline rush, Richard is also a licensed skydiver and likes to bungee jump.
In addition to the fuel-efficient design, the boat will use a pollution-cutting Water-in-Diesel (WiDE) fuel emulsion to 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 it will be fitted with the latest navigation and communications equipment from the British marine industry.
The record attempt will start in October 2017 using the iconic Europa Point in Gibraltar as its timing mark, before going to Puerto Rico, Manzanillo, Honolulu, Guam, Singapore, Oman and Malta to take on fuel.
Mr Priddy concluded: “Most people will have heard me say this over and over again, but the most important thing about any record attempt, or extreme challenge is your Team. Something I discussed with the adventurer Bear Grylls when he visited Hayling Island recently to see the boat and meet some of the crew. Get your Team right and you can deal with all the problems and issues that the challenge will throw up. So I am delighted to have Richard on board as someone who can put mind over matter and will never ever give in.”
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 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 October 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 Everywhere
Batteries – Mastervolt
Total crew – 20 (12 onboard with 5 rotating on and off the boat plus 3 shore based)
Crew clothing - Sebago
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