Posts Tagged ‘around the world’

Down at the boatyard

Monday, February 5th, 2018

You might think that not a lot has been happening on the Team Britannia front, but things have been quietly moving forward. Having negotiated the funding to finish building the round-the-world powerboat Excalibur, the ABC Marine boatyard on Hayling Island is gearing up to resume construction, with launching projected for late spring / early summer 2018. Sea trials will include one or two record attempts before basing the boat in Gibraltar, and the round the world record attempt commencing in October.

In the meantime, there’s a bumper bundle newsletter to provide a little catch-up on the news. Download directly from here, or visit and enjoy a browse before finding the download link.

Trending theme

Sunday, May 14th, 2017

Over the last few months, Team Britannia has been putting out press releases every so often for individual members of the crew, targeting them at publications in their own locality, as well as in Portsmouth, the home of the project. It’s a great way of keeping the publicity ticking over, even when there isn’t much else to report.

The middle of May finally saw my turn. and it’s been interesting following it up to see who decided to run with the story. Not surprisingly, my local newspapers the Eastern Daily Press and Eastern Evening News ran it, along with Teamlocals and The News in Portsmouth.

It also featured in the marine press, including All About Shipping, and sporting publication The Sport Feed. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of it all was to find that the phrase “Clive’s skills and experience” had popped up as a trending theme on Team Britannia’s word cloud, which highlights the most often used words or phrases in our current media coverage.

Hog roast in action

Saturday, January 21st, 2017

When Team Britannia‘s round the world superboat was turned right side up – once described to me as “like a giant hog roast” – at the beginning of December, we had no shortage of still photographs showing the hull at different angles through its 180 degree turn until she was resting on blocks looking much more like a boat. But this recently released video conveys something more of the drama and tension of the day – a day with one or two moments where it looked as though things could have gone horribly wrong. But the professionalism of the skilled workers at the Aluminium Boatbuilding Company shone throughout.

Since my last post about the project, team boss Alan Priddy has also confirmed that the round the world attempt will now take place in October 2017. A variety of technical problems have contributed to delays so far, and after the boat was turned, a couple more came to light which have since been rectified. But that, combined with the Christmas break has meant we would be pushed to be ready to go in the spring weather window. At the very least, if we went at the tail end of it, we would be looking at a bumpier and therefore slower circumnavigation – not what we want at all!

With the boat not far from completion, we’re still hopeful of getting her in the water by the end of March or early April, and sea trials including a couple of world record runs before basing her in Gibraltar.

Team Britannia – nearly there!

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

Followers of Team Britannia will doubtless have noticed that while we were booked for the round the world superboat Excalibur to make her first public appearance at the Southampton Boat Show, we didn’t quite get there. We moved heaven and earth to get the boat finished in time, but an accumulation of delays during her construction got in the way. But in a sense, they were all a good thing.

The fact that the boat is intended to take passengers throughout its life means it has to be built to a commercial coding, which means every major stage of the construction had to be signed off by an independent surveyor, along with any changes in design. They included welding 1,560 additional small reinforcing plates not in the original design, one at every point where a stringer crossed a frame. Agreed between project boss Alan Priddy, the boatbuilders and surveyor, it was a time-consuming job, but proved that there’s no cutting corners when it comes to safety.

We also ended up having the aluminium for the wheelhouse cut and preliminary welding done in the Netherlands to save time, with the parts shipped in a giant kit form to ABC Marine on Hayling Island to assemble in a shed next to the one containing the hull. Since the beginning of this month, the boatyard has been operating pretty much 24 hours a day. So we may have missed the Southampton Boat Show, we’ll most likely miss the Monaco Yacht Show at the end of September, but we will be OK to set off from Gibraltar around the world on 23rd October. If it all sounds a bit last minute, bear in mind that in 1998, Cable and Wireless Adventurer set off on her record-setting circumnavigation of the world pretty much straight from the boatyard.

There’s an awful lot more still to do to prepare for this momentous voyage, but once we get the boat to Gibraltar in mid-October, we’ll have plenty of time for any fine-tuning. But for now, with just over a month to go, I’m starting to feel the weight of the hand of destiny on my shoulder!


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Team Britannia update

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

Last week saw me pay another lightning visit to the Team Britannia boatyard on Hayling Island, where the round the world powerboat is progressing well with its construction. Speaking to several of the men working on her, I was struck with the care and pride which they take in what they’re doing.

A lot more metalwork has been added since my last visit, with all the stringers in place, and the keel fully built up. Hull plating is imminent, and the boat will be turned over by the end of the month. The wheelhouse is being built separately, and will then be added along with the decking.

At that point, activity ramps up somewhat, with 24 hour working to get the boat fitted out. The enormous fuel tanks have been delivered – all six tanks have a combined capacity to equal your average road fuel tanker – and the engines and jets are ready and waiting. The next few weeks will be hectic, without a doubt, but we’re getting there.

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Spreading the word

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

Team Britannia has been getting some amazing stats from press coverage recently – the stories have been going out fairly regularly concerning different partnership deals, including the latest with GAC Superyacht Services, who will be providing all of our logistical support at every refuelling stop around the world.

But it’s nice too. to get the message out on a more personal basis. So it was a great pleasure for me to do a short presentation to the Round Table Lunch Club Norwich last week in the wonderful surroundings of the Library Restaurant, a historic building formerly home to the UK’s first public subscription library.

After a drink and some lunch, I gave the 50 or so attendees a lightning history of the world record attempts of Spirit of Cardiff, and then introduced Team Britannia, along with our programme for wounded ex-military crew members, and the enormous advantages of Clean Fuel which the circumnavigation world record run will showcase. It was short and sweet, but I’m pleased to say my audience was extremely attentive, and many came up to me afterwards with questions and good wishes.

Boatyard Bulletin

Friday, July 15th, 2016

I’ve been posting photos of the Team Britannia round the world powerboat on Facebook and Twitter ever since construction began at the Aluminium Boatbuilding Company, but I’ve only very recently clapped eyes on her myself for the first time. And despite seeing pictures including people to provide a sense of scale, nothing quite prepares you for the imposing size. Obviously some of that may go when she’s right side up and in the water, but of course there isn’t a wheelhouse on top of it all yet. You also get a much better sense for the intricate detail in which the different parts are shaped, complete with printed markings and numbers which correspond to what’s on the engineering drawings. It’s a bit like a giant Airfix kit!

With all the frames in place ready for stringers and hull plates to be added, I’d noticed the spot welds holding things together. “Everything is just tacked together for the moment,” explained ABC’s Colin Johnson. “When all the metalwork is in place, we run the continuous welding. That’s what makes the boat watertight, and also gives it tremendous strength.”

The way the continuous welding is performed is also meticulously planned. It generates a lot of heat – enough to cause the aluminium to warp. They know which way any likely movement is going to go, and so they’ll work it to weld one section, then follow up in the spot most likely to produce the opposite movement to cancel it out. We’re talking small here, by the way, so don’t expect to see ripples down the boat! ABC have already said they aim to make this their best boat ever, so for them, nothing short of perfection will do.

Lots going on at the sharp end!

Friday, July 1st, 2016

Lots going on at the sharp endAs construction of Team Britannia‘s round the world superboat continues at an amazing pace, news comes that the boat’s naming ceremony will be conducted on Press Day at the Southampton Boat Show in the middle of September. The guest of honour doing the naming cannot be revealed, but is being described as a “VVIP”. Needless to say it’s all very exciting!

Before then, the boat will already have some miles under her belt. The moment she’s finished we’ll fill her up with diesel (a full load is equivalent to your average road tanker), and drive her round Britain. Apart from testing the boat, its systems and the crew, it’s also about setting a baseline of fuel calculations which will be assessed by leading mathematician Professor Sir Bryan Thwaites.

The boat will then transfer to Gibraltar and on to Monaco for the Monaco Yacht Show. The run back from Monaco to Gibraltar will be our first world record attempt, and for Alan Priddy and me, it will be a small case of déjà vu. In October 2000, we took the powerboat Spirit of Cardiff from Gibraltar to Monaco in an attempt to break the fastest port-to-port record set in 1998 by Cable & Wireless Adventurer, the first leg of their circumnavigation. The idea was to prove we had the faster boat even before going around the world in 2002, and we knocked an hour and 19 minutes off their record!

Team Britannia – getting busier!

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

The first half of June has seen things move very rapidly for Team Britannia on the boat-building front. From the start of cutting the 12.5 kilometres of aluminium framing, it was just a week later when the first sections were assembled into the jig on which the boat is being constructed. The media turned out to see what was going on, including That’s Solent TV.

Team Britannia at the House of CommonsTuesday 14th June saw Team Britannia gather for the evening in the House of Commons with the All Party Parliamentary Group for Gibraltar, hosted by Jack Lopresti MP. It gave Alan Priddy the opportunity to brief MPs and other guests on the round the world challenge, the importance of Clean Fuel and our tie up with the Royal Foundation Endeavour Fund – not forgetting the crucial role played by Gibraltar. It was a great opportunity, too, to present newest crew member Daisy Coleman with her team shirt.

Oak-panelled splendour and historic works of art in the Jubilee Room provided a wonderful setting for the event. The photo shows the guests, with me having just enjoyed a chat with Colonel Bob Stewart DSO MP.

D-Day for Team Britannia’s record-breaking eco boat

Monday, June 6th, 2016

Today is a momentous one in the history of Team Britannia‘s round the world powerboat. Although we agreed we were in a position to start building the boat some weeks ago, a lot of preparatory work had to take place first. And while the 6th of June is of course the anniversary of D Day, it’s also our own D Day, as the actual building starts in earnest.

The last couple of weeks have seen some fine tuning to the engineering drawings for the boat, and today the first sheets of aluminium will be cut at Aalco in Southampton, home to Europe’s largest computer-controlled laser cutting facility. They will be producing the 12.5 kilometres of framing which will make up the internal structure of the boat, along with the wheelhouse and hull cladding. The cutting process should take less than two weeks, and the metal will be transported to the Aluminium Boatbuilding Company on Hayling Island later this month, where the boat will be assembled upside down in a special jig. The six 5,833 litre fuel tanks will be slid into place and the 30 frames fixed together.

The wheelhouse is being built separately at the same time, so when the boat is ready, the whole jig will be rotated 180 degrees and the completed wheelhouse fixed on top. Even so, we intend to tantalise everyone to the last. We may release one or two images during the construction process, but the first time anyone will see photos of the complete boat won’t be until she’s in the water. And that will come soon enough.