Posts Tagged ‘Accomplish More’

The Gibraltar Cup – it’s official!

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Gibraltar officially declares its support for the British entry for the Around the World powerboat race between UK and USA later this year, and will award the winner with a perpetual trophy entitled the Gibraltar Cup. The ceremony was held at the Parliamentary offices of Gibraltar, and attended by the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.

“The signing of the Race document now makes it all very official and real,” commented Team UK captain Alan Priddy, “and I am extremely pleased that the team of Accomplish More has a fixed home in which to challenge for the trophy, and prevent the American team from stopping us saying that Britannia rules the waves. Up until the signing of this document, Gibraltar has just been accepted as a place to start a voyage or stop for fuel. Now it has become the ancestral home for all global powerboat attempts.”

The design of the Gibraltar Cup will be set as a competition for the schoolchildren of Gibraltar, with the brief of “Gibraltar the World”. Once all the entries have been received by organisers the Rotary Club of Gibraltar, they will be put on display, with a public vote to decide which design wins.

From my point of view, it’s rather nice inasmuch as the official document announcing the race uses my words. It’s the first time anything I’ve written has been endorsed by a Prime Minister!



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London Boat Show

Monday, January 14th, 2013

This year’s London Boat Show saw Global Challenge project leader Alan Priddy once more making appearances in the Knowledge Box celebrity lecture area. The first day of the show saw him make two presentations to capacity audiences (people were spilling out into the surrounding aisles!) explaining how the round the world powerboat challenge turned into a race against the Americans, along with some interesting historical background. Alan will be back again next weekend, while crew member Shelley Jory-Leigh will be filling in for him during the week.

The show this year is noticeably smaller – just one large hall at ExCel instead of two, with quite a few “fringe” exhibitors you wouldn’t normally expect to see. But hopefully it will still be around next year, with Accomplish More freshly returned from a record circumnavigation of the world as the star exhibit!

Mum’s the word!

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

The next two or three months may see me relatively tight-lipped about Accomplish More as the Mk2 version begins construction. While every stage of the Mk1 boat (which has now been cut up for scrap) was photographed and ended up on Facebook and on the project website, that’s not going to be the case with Mk2. Rather like a Formula 1 race car in development, the actual building process won’t be publicised as it progresses, although obviously we will still document it all for posterity. So the first people will see of her will be when she’s finished.

And while Mk1 never even made it to the water, we’ve learned enough from her to incorporate some intriguing modifications into the new boat. In the meantime, one interesting snippet from project boss and Accomplish More skipper Alan Priddy: between now and the point when we arrive back in Gibraltar in December (after beating the American team and smashing the circumnavigation record, of course), the project cost in pounds runs well into four figures – every day!

Now it’s more than just a record

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Regular readers of my blog will know that back in May, the factory where Alan Priddy’s round the world superboat Accomplish More is being built was attacked by arsonists. The unit next to the one housing the boat was completely gutted, but at the time, we were led to believe that the boat itself had sustained no damage, and that therefore we could carry on with the construction. It was while the main fuel tank was being tested that Alan’s suspicions were aroused, and after a metallurgy inspection, it was confirmed that parts of the hull had lost up to 50% of its strength as a result of heating during the fire.

The news came as a real kick in the teeth, but the only option available to us was to scrap the boat and start again. With no further capacity at Micklewrights in Dudley, we had to look elsewhere for a boat-builder up to the task, and were fortunate to find ABC Marine on Hayling Island, conveniently just around the corner from Alan Priddy’s base of operations in Portsmouth. They specialise in building aluminium support boats for the offshore wind industry, and with considerably more manpower than we had in Dudley, they’ve said they can produce the hull and wheelhouse in an astonishing 12 weeks. We’ll still be doing the interior fit-out ourselves as originally planned, but the boat will now be scheduled to be in the water by Easter next year.

Of course, the original plan was for us to attempt the round the world record last year, and then as the schedule slipped, this year. We’d known about another planned attempt on the circumnavigation record by the American Ocean’s Quest team for some time, and we’ve been in contact with them over the last few months. Now they’ve challenged us to a race, and we’ve accepted! There’s still an awful lot of detail to sort out, not least another tier of sponsorship to cover the race organisation, but as it stands, the race between Britain and America will begin in November 2013.

It will be the first time ever that a powerboat race around the world has taken place (the current and previous record-holders simply raced against the clock), so without wishing to sound over-dramatic, what we are going to do is definitely one for the history books. And of course, we still aim to bring the circumnavigation world record back to Britain!

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Picture this

Friday, August 17th, 2012

This week I succumbed to the inevitable, something I’ve been staving off as long as possible. Someone still needs to explain to me how a timeline of two columns with entries staggered on either side is more logical or easier to navigate than a single column with consecutive entries falling one after the other, or why Facebook should impose a layout on its users when surely they could have provided a choice. But then maybe that “we know best” attitude has contributed to the dramatic plunge in their stock value. Anyway, I digress.

Faced with a choice of thousands of photographs I could have used as my cover image – which spans the width of the page at the top – I opted for a picture that shows me in what was arguably one of the happiest and most memorable days of my life, and coincidentally, it was something that happened nine years ago this month. I’m standing on the aft deck of Spirit of Cardiff, renamed Jolly Sailor for her recently completed transatlantic. We’d already set the official New York to Lizard Point record in 2001, but this one from St John’s to Cape Wrath gave us 2,102 nautical miles with an at sea time of under 120 hours, which remains the fastest crossing for a RIB. More to the point, it was Spirit of Cardiff coming home after circumnavigating the world, and a winter in Newfoundland.

With me in the picture are Alan Priddy and Jan Falkowski, with numerous RIBs and other powerboats following behind, our flotilla of honour escorting us into Portsmouth Harbour. I seem to remember some of them slightly bemused when they saw the entire crew out on the aft deck (Newfoundlander Eg Walters took the photo), but not only was Spirit on autopilot, Alan had a remote control in his hand that could steer the boat from anywhere on board.

It was the hottest day of 2003, the temperature up to 34 degrees. As we approached Gunwharf Quays, packed with hundreds of people, the world-famous Portsmouth Field Gun Crew fired a six-gun salute. After the champagne and speeches, we took the boat around to the historic Camber Dock of Old Portsmouth, where she was craned out of the water, lifted on to a trailer, and then manhandled through the streets of Portsmouth by those burly tough guys of the Field Gun Crew.

Looking ahead, I can see it might take more than a single field gun crew to pull Accomplish More along on a trailer, but I’m sure we’ll come up with something equally eye-catching when we have something to celebrate. Meantime, there’s still a lot of hard work to put in before we even get the boat to the start line, but we’re getting there!

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Scaled down – but still big and beautiful

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Since my last post about the round the world powerboat Accomplish More, we’ve had to tackle a setback with some of the welding in the main fuel tank, but we’re on our way to sorting it out now. In the meantime, the race is on as to whether the boat will be finished before its 1:24.4 scale model, being made at the moment by crew member Steve Mason.

The plan is to exhibit the model at the Monaco Yacht Show in the middle of September, displayed on the stand of our sponsors GO2 Global Yachting / ECOsuperyacht. All things being well, the real boat will be finished by then too, but we wouldn’t have the time to get her there.

Of course, we’ve seen more than our fair share of delays, and even this year, Accomplish More should have been ready in time to take part in the Queen’s Jubilee Thames Pageant in June, and right now I should have been posting an update from the middle of the Atlantic on our way back from our shakedown cruise to Greenland. The one predictable thing about this project over the last three years has been its unpredictability, and I’m inclined to think that actually going round the world is likely to be the easy bit. Getting to the start line has been the real challenge!

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Boat progress

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

Things have continued to progress at breakneck speed with the Company85 Global Challenge round the world powerboat Accomplish More. Since my last post on the subject around three weeks ago, all the crew accommodation has been completed, clean and waste water tanks fitted, and most of the decks put in place, with just the topsides of the bow to be finished off.

The next big job is an important one. The huge fuel tank has to be scrupulously clean before the wheelhouse floor (the top of the tank) is welded down. The job is made rather more complicated by virtue of the many baffles within the tank, designed to stop the fuel sloshing about. There was a point when we were considering the Victorian option – after all, they used to send small boys up chimneys to clean them! What we’ve settled for is a massive vacuum cleaner capable of lifting items up to 2kgs.

Then, with that done, the tank will be filled (not with fuel) to make sure everything is functioning as it should and to ensure it’s all flushed out properly. Last week we had a site visit from Dupont, who are supplying the paint for Accomplish More’s incredible bright red mirror finish. There’s a fair amount of preparation work involved before the boat takes on her new colour, but it’s going to be worth it.

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My own office

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Since construction of the round the world powerboat Accomplish More resumed three weeks ago, the progress has been startling. Not only does the boat have flooring throughout, the crew cabins are complete, along with toilet/shower rooms (they have yet to be fitted out with plumbing), and my office! Yes, I actually get my own office on board the boat, and I have to say, it almost looks better than the one I have at home!

Of course, I’ll be hoping not to spend too much time in there, given that I’m also going to be shooting video for what I’d like to see end up as a BAFTA award-winning documentary. But when I am in my media office, uploading daily blogs, I’ll have the advantage of being connected by Bluetooth to all the boat’s electronic systems. So at a glance I’ll have our position, course and speed, along with all sorts of other more techy stuff which could be useful.

Externally, the tube carriers have been fitted, and part of the aft deck is in place – basically the roof of the aft crew cabin (which includes my office). It shouldn’t be too many more weeks before the structural work is complete, and the exciting part begins – the process of giving the boat her incredible mirror red paint finish.

And, as they say, in other news, the Company85 Global Challenge Facebook page is nearly up to a whopping 6,000 followers. So if you haven’t “liked” it yet yourself, click on the link below and you’ll get regular updates and photos of the boat’s progress.

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For more news, click here for the latest Accomplish More newsletter.

Back on track

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

After many months of delay, including the recent fire in an adjacent factory unit, work has finally resumed on Company85 Global Challenge‘s round the world powerboat Accomplish More. In the first two days back at the build site in Dudley, Alan Priddy and his team have finished all the welding on the hull, and removed the circular steel frames which allowed the boat to be rotated during the earlier stages of its construction.

The next few days will see the 30,000 litre fuel tank topped off with what will become the floor of the wheelhouse, roof beams for the cabins fitted, plus the carriers for the inflatable tubes down each side of the boat. As things stand at the moment, the timing of our long-distance shakedown cruise may change somewhat, but we’ve told everyone that the main event – the circumnavigation attempt – will begin in Gibraltar around November 3rd.

In the meantime, “likes” for the project’s Facebook page have started to snowball. Last Friday we celebrated our first 1,000, and it seems we may well reach 2,000 before this week is out!

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Fire aftermath

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

In the aftermath of the fire at the factory in Dudley where the round-the-world powerboat Accomplish More is being built, we’re still waiting for an OK from the police and fire service to gain access to the site. We were very lucky in that the boat escaped serious damage from the arson attack on 21st May, but we do know that the first job when we’re allowed back is to give both boat and factory unit walls a good scrub down to remove the soot which covers everything.

You can read about this and the rest of the latest news from the Company85 Global Challenge in this month’s Accomplish More newsletter.

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