Posts Tagged ‘circumnavigation’

Onboard video

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

This rather handsome beastie supplied by Wex Photographic in Norwich is going to be my main camera on board Team Britannia‘s superboat when we circumnavigate the world next year. It has a number of features which make it my perfect choice, including enhanced focus and aperture control, dual-codec recording, fantastic low light performance, very good built-in image stabilisation, and abilty to transfer files direct to a USB drive without using a host computer.

Rather than filming a typical “point and shoot” adventure documentary, what I have in mind will be somewhat more cinematic in style, which I suppose may come down to the fact that I’ve been an avid movie-watcher my entire life!

Confronting Poseidon

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

Twelve years ago on the 7th April, I set off from Gibraltar with Alan Priddy into the Mediterranean on the 33ft powerboat Spirit of Cardiff. It was an attempt to break what was then the 75 day record for circumnavigating the world. It turned into an epic voyage over three months, with the first major problem hitting us (quite literally) at the end of the very first leg of the trip. We made a night approach into Valletta in Malta, and ran into an unlit and unmapped fish farm. From there, we experienced shocking corruption as we made our transit of the Suez Canal, and our first encounters with pirates at the southern end of the Red Sea, and again in the Gulf of Aden.

We had numerous mechanical problems. Apart from replacing a £30,000 gearbox and outdrive in Malta as a result of the tangle with the fish farm, we had to have a further two replacements as a result of burning out the clutches – a consequence of overheating through running 24 hours a day in tropical conditions with low grade fuel. And I’ll never forget our night arrival at Galle harbour in Sri Lanka, where my calling across to a guy on a nearby boat resulted in him unslinging his AK47 and aiming it directly at me. It’s a strange sensation looking down the barrel of a gun when you know the safety catch is off! Then there was the moment we arrived at a port in the far east of Russia to be placed under “house arrest” the moment we tied up.

Needless to say we didn’t break the record for circumnavigating the world, but we did have the most incredible adventure trying. It made for a pretty good TV documentary, and an even better book. “Confronting Poseidon” was released last year on Amazon Kindle – when it was published in print in 2002, it was hailed as a major contribution to marine journalism, and was nominated for the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award 2003. I know quite a few people who found it so difficult to put down they had to read it in one long sitting – sometimes throughout the night. That’s quite a compliment for me, and quite a recommendation for anyone else looking to read about the first major maritime adventure of this century.

Alan Priddy and I will be making another attempt on the fastest ever circumnavigation of the world by sea in the not too distant future. Hopefully the trip won’t be as eventful as the one we did in 2002, but you never know! In the meantime, read about my epic voyage around the world on Spirit of Cardiff in “Confronting Poseidon”. Click here to download your copy.

And today’s mystery object is…?

Friday, July 15th, 2011

When Goodheart crew member Steve Mason sent me this photograph, I must admit it had me foxed for a while. Even the inclusion of Alan Priddy’s hand doesn’t make it that much easier. But once you rotate the image 90 degrees to the right, it becomes easier to visualise.

“We were standing in the foremost part of the bow section in the inverted hull,” explains Steve, “looking up towards the first stiffening which will be part of the sealed off bit below the chain locker.”

So another appreciation of just how narrow the hull tapers towards the bow. And it seems Steve has acquired a taste for pictures taken at unusual angles in order to put together a quiz for the crew for those circumnavigation sleepy hours. “I’m sure I can come up with loads of silly stuff to while away the miles,” he tells me.

Follow Circumnavigation Record 2011 on Facebook

Half a billion viewers – is that enough?

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Apart from bringing the crew of Alan Priddy’s superboat together for the first time, the 2011 London Boat Show was the scene of a couple of useful meetings – one with a photo press agency specialising in boating matters. When British yachtswoman Dee Caffari became the first woman to successfully complete a solo, non-stop circumnavigation both ways around the world, they put her on the front page of every UK newspaper. They seem to think they can do the same for us.

And we also talked over TV coverage with the company that puts out the weekly motorsport programmes “Motorsport Mundial”, “Planet Speed” and “Max Power” to 27 million households in the UK and Ireland. Oh, and over half a billion households worldwide. They’ve promised us coverage not just for the duration of the Circumnavigation challenge itself, but in the run-up – including the building of the boat, and the test run, which will most likely take on the Transatlantic world record set by Alan Priddy, Steve Lloyd, Jan Falkowski and me 10 years ago in Spirit of Cardiff.

We’ll be looking at getting news coverage as well, and hopefully a documentary to tell the story afterwards, but there’s no denying we’re starting out from an exceptionally good position. All of which would seem to add up to some pretty powerful incentives for potential sponsors.

Apart from bringing the crew of Alan Priddy’s superboat together for the first time, the 2011 London Boat Show was the scene of a couple of useful meetings – one with a photo press agency specialising in boating matters. When British yachtswoman Dee Caffari became the first woman to successfully complete a solo, non-stop circumnavigation both ways around the world, they put her on the front page of every UK newspaper. They seem to think they can do the same for us.

And we also talked over TV coverage with the company that puts out the weekly motorsport programmes “Motorsport Mundial”, “Planet Speed” and “Max Power” to 27 million households in the UK and Ireland. Oh, and over half a billion households worldwide. They’ve promised us coverage not just for the duration of the Circumnavigation challenge itself, but in the run-up – including the building of the boat, and the test run, which will most likely take on the Transatlantic world record set by Alan Priddy, Steve Lloyd, Jan Falkowski and me 10 years ago in Spirit of Cardiff.

We’ll be looking at getting news coverage as well, and hopefully a documentary to tell the story afterwards, but there’s no denying we’re starting out from an exceptionally good position. All of which would seem to add up to some pretty powerful incentives for potential sponsors.

Long time coming

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

Isn’t it strange how sometimes things come together at the same time? Today a feature I researched ages ago in the middle of last year finally saw the light of day in the Sunday Mirror. Mind you, it did have a chocolate theme, so when better than just before the great chocfest of Easter to publish it?

And last week, things also took a significant step forwards with Alan Priddy’s next round the world powerboat. It’s tempting to call it son of Spirit of Cardiff, but of course boats are traditionally female, so I guess it has to be a daughter. Not a great deal of similarity between the two, anyway. More to the point, while it’s been designed for many months, at long last we will be in a position to go ahead with building the boat in the very near future.

When Alan and I attempted to break the round the world record eight years ago, it stood at just under 75 days (set in 1998 by the multi-million pound superboat Cable and Wireless Adventurer). A couple of years ago that was knocked down to 61 by the New Zealand carbon-fibre boat Earthrace. Our target is 40 to 45 days! Apart from taking back a world record which most definitely ought to be BRITISH, it also means that for the first time ever a powerboat will have gone around the world faster than the fastest sailing record (Bruno Peyron, Orange II, 50 days 16 hours 20 minutes, in 2005).

So how is it going to be possible to knock such a huge lump off the record? Maybe I’ll leave that for another blog – chances are it won’t be too long. And perhaps the most sobering thought is that pretty much by this time next year I’ll be writing about it all in the past tense!

For now, I can only speculate that once the boat is built (it’ll take around two months), she’s in the water and we’ve stretched her legs a bit, that the public will take her to heart and support our endeavour. In the meantime, for Alan Priddy and me, this is something that’s been a long, long time coming. But now it’s getting close.