Team Britannia

Solid as the Rock – Gibraltar’s Robert Mackenzie joins British world record attempt

Gibraltar-based businessman Robert Mackenzie is set join Team Britannia, the British bid to design and build the fastest and most fuel-efficient powerboat to circumnavigate the globe.

The adventurous 66-year old will step on board the revolutionary 80ft powerboat, which hopes to cut up to seven days off the current world record of 60 days 23 hours 49 minutes, held by New Zealander Pete Bethune.

The ground-breaking semi-wave slicing design of the boat will see the 20 tonne vessel 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 23,000 nautical mile trip smoother and faster.

The two race-tuned Fiat Power Train C13 500, 6 cylinder engines will run on a unique blend of diesel, water and surfactant. The emulsified diesel, which has been developed in the UK, will help the boat to extend its range while producing less pollution than diesel on its own.

Mr Priddy commented: “Robert is a hugely accomplished businessman who has travelled overland from London to Australia in a Land Rover, trekked to the North Pole, and was nearly part of the BT Global Challenge crew for the round the world yacht race in 1996. His adventurous spirit combined with his sailing experience makes him a highly valuable team member.”

Mr Mackenzie added: “Alan and I go way back, and I am delighted to be part of his latest world record bid. I greatly look forward to the journey, and although we are certain to face challenges on our way, the sense of achievement which comes with setting a world record together as a team will make it all worthwhile.”

The boat will be crewed by a team of 12, including five wounded or injured veterans on each of the seven legs of the voyage, who are being supported by Blesma (the Limbless Veterans Charity).

Mr Mackenzie, who is originally from Bromley in Kent, has since relocated to Gibraltar, the start and end point of Team Britannia’s record bid. He has long held a passion for the maritime life, and has previously sailed from Punta Arenas round Cape Horn to Cape Town through the Southern Ocean on a Challenge boat, and the Atlantic on the square-rigger Stad Amsterdam.

In addition to his wealth of sailing exploits, he is a Real Tennis champion, captained the AirTusker’s Elephant Polo Team to world cup glory in 1998, is a self-proclaimed golf addict and holds a private pilot licence.

The boat, which is being built at the Aluminium Boatbuidling Company on Hayling Island is expected to be launched this spring. The team hopes to name the boat in Portsmouth in the summer, before undertaking an extended programme of sea trials to ensure it exceeds all safety requirements before setting off on challenging journey.

The record attempt will start in October 2017 in Gibraltar, using the iconic Europa Point as its timing mark.

To complete the record attempt the boat must pass through the Suez and Panama Canals, 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 entering an exciting phase of the project where we have got all our ducks in the row. The boat is nearing completion with the hull having been turned over, before we start to kit her out with the latest navigation and communications equipment, the two engines and jets."

“While work on the boat has been steaming ahead, we have taken the time the complete the selection of the crew, both those who will do the full voyage and those who will do a couple of legs. All of those selected have undertaken sea survival and RYA powerboat level 2 and have demonstrated a commitment to the project and bringing the world record back to Britain.

“I am confident that we have an outstanding crew with the right mix of experience and tenacity. Getting the team right is vitally important if we are to beat the current record.”


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.

Boat specifications:

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

For more information and regular updates visit: or @team_britannia

For media inquiries, please contact:

Alistair Thompson of Media Intelligence Partners | 07970 162 225