Posts Tagged ‘Clean Fuel Ltd’

Launching Excalibur

Monday, October 7th, 2019

Getting Team Britannia‘s round the world powerboat Excalibur into the water after over three years in a shed in a boatyard on Hayling Island was a painstaking affair. The following video, about four and a half minutes, provides a flavour of the afternoon.

Excalibur: the clock is ticking

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019

Since the completion of all major welding on Team Britannia‘s round the world powerboat Excalibur, attention has turned to getting her ready for launching, and at the time of writing, that’s scheduled to take place at the end of September. While the below waterline antifouling is now going to be paint, the rest of the hull and wheelhouse will be wrapped in a bright red vinyl. Even so, preparation remains the same, with every square inch of hull being faired and filled in order to remove high spots and fill shallow areas to even up the surface. It’s all about providing the least resistance to movement through water, and of course to present the best finish aesthetically. The last few days have seen Alan Priddy, Wayne Priddy and Steve Mason hard at work, helped by willing volunteers.

“Using a grinding machine is a physically demanding job,” says Alan. “It’s important that the visible sections of the boat are as close to perfection without grinding down the thickness of the metal.” With the top part of the hull finished, Steve Mason set about painting the more intricate parts which can’t be covered by the bright red wrap.

Further work on the boat will be needed after launching before she’s ready to commence sea trials, but at least people will see her in all her glory, and realise that when we say we’re going to do something, we do it! It might even persuade one or two potential sponsors to jump off the fence and commit to supporting us.

Coming soon to an ocean near you

Monday, July 22nd, 2019

I’m rather mindful of the fact that recent progress updates on Team Britannia’s round the world powerboat project have been largely the same: “By the time you read this, Excalibur will be afloat.” And then of course it isn’t. And while completion of the boat has not been without its delays due simply to the fact that we’re building a one-off which departs from the norm in both design and construction, the bottom line has been – as you might expect – money. Fortunately we have a lot of supporters who’ve maintained faith in the project, and while lean times have forced us to suspend building operations every so often, it has only ever been temporary.

A summer resumption of activity in the boatyard has seen the hull and wheelhouse finished off, with just the transom to fit to make the boat watertight. Then comes the exciting part where the boat is wrapped – bright red for her topsides, and black below the waterline using a special hydrophobic antifoul material. We’ve also hosted a number of open days this year to which members of the public, supporters and partners were invited, and they’ve been well attended – even when the weather hasn’t been up to much. But the reaction from everyone that sees Excalibur for the first time is pretty much the same: “Wow, it’s big!” And visitors with boating or engineering backgrounds all remark upon the quality of the construction and attention to detail.

We’ve also made it easier for people to become involved by launching a competition on our website, with two crew places per round the world record leg as main prizes, and short trips out in the boat for runners-up. And even if the idea of a trip on the boat seems less than appealing, each entry is rewarded with 25 shares in Clean Fuel Ltd. Their pollution-busting technology forms a cornerstone of the entire project, and has the potential to clean up internal combustion engines without any mechanical modifications, so everyone’s a winner. Once Excalibur is in the water and operating from her base in Gibraltar, with a projected attempt in 2020, that round the world record may finally be on its way back to Britain.

Win with Team Britannia

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019

My last visit to Team Britannia‘s round the world powerboat Excalibur at her boatyard was back in January, when the weather was somewhat icy. The latest open day at the end of March saw rather more pleasant conditions, and a great turnout of visitors. It’s always interesting to get people’s impressions, particularly from those who have followed the project closely, but only previously seen photographs. Everyone remarks on the size of the boat, something which photographs of her in the cramped boat shed really can’t convey.

Apart from giving visitors a guided tour around the boat, we also used the open day to launch a new facet to the project, something which has consumed a fair amount of time over the last few weeks. We now have a prize competition, with a £25 ticket potentially winning a place in the crew for one of the legs around the world, with a hundred other prizes of short trips out in the boat after the circumnavigation.

And while you might think the odds of winning such a special prize are slim, the truth is that everyone is a winner, as each entry also gets 25 shares in Clean Fuel Ltd, whose pollution-busting fuel will power Excalibur around the world. In fact, if you’re interested in combating the Nitrous Oxides and Particulate Matter which form the awful traffic-generated pollution in our towns and cities, your support for Team Britannia and Clean Fuel will make a big difference.

Top calibre Excalibur

Saturday, June 2nd, 2018

As construction of Team Britannia’s round the world powerboat Excalibur approaches its final stages, here are some of the technical questions which have cropped up recently from social media followers.

State of the art round the world sailing yachts are made from carbon fibre composite. So why not Excalibur? We’ve had a strong eco theme running all the way through the project, and for that reason, we couldn’t consider carbon fibre. Light and strong it may be, but in some quarters it’s regarded as the next asbestos time bomb. It simply isn’t an environmentally friendly material – there’s no responsible way of disposing of it once it’s done with. Excalibur, on the other hand, is not only made from recycled aluminium, but in the event that she’s ever scrapped, over 90% of the boat will be recyclable.

The way she’s been put together is also worthy of note. We’ve used pulsed MIG (Metal Inert Gas), an efficient form of welding which provides a neat strong weld, and is particularly favoured for welding thinner aluminium plate, where the problem of warping and burnthrough would otherwise be a risk. Unlike other forms of welding, there is no spatter which has to be cleaned up afterwards, and it’s also favoured where the welder is operating in a confined space.

One of the great advantages of working in aluminium is the way bits can be added and removed to assist with the construction process. An early example of this would be the extra lugs welded on fore and aft to allow the boat to be turned over from its initial state upside down. With the installation of the six fuel tanks and retaining beams which will also support the wheelhouse floor, the top parts of the original frames in the wheelhouse area have now been removed. And with the FPT engines bolted in, you might wonder too how major servicing or replacement would take place, as the photos show the tops of the frames in the way. Here, too, when the transom is in position, the ceiling of the engine room will be remodelled to allow for a bolt-down hatch which can be unsealed if we need to lift anything in and out. Why did the engines go in first? Simply because it’s a lot easier sliding them in from the back rather than craning them in from above!

The boat has been built to conform to a whole raft of codings, verified at every stage of construction by an independent inspector. Excalibur won’t just be A1 – Lloyds of London’s highest shipbuilding quality – but well in excess!

With the installation of our two FPT diesel engines, some have questioned whether they have the power to push a boat of over 50 tons through the water. But having to run passages of over 3,500 nautical miles, the focus is not on brute force, but maintaining a modest average overall speed. This means that when the boat leaves each port fully fuelled, its initial speed will be quite slow. Then as the fuel burns off and the weight reduces, so the boat picks up speed. More powerful engines wouldn’t necessarily add much to our overall average speed, but could burn significantly more fuel.

Apart from a fuel-saving hull design, we have the most efficient power transmission, with the FPT engines coupled directly to our Castoldi jet drives with no intermediary gearboxes. The final piece of the jigsaw comes with our use of Clean Fuel, the diesel, water and emulsifier mixing process which will not only extend the boat’s range, but power it without emitting any of the pollutants normally associated with diesel engines.

Clive Vlogger

Sunday, October 11th, 2015

Funnily enough, my middle name begins with “V”, but Vlogger isn’t it! As part of keeping Team Britannia’s new website constantly moving, I’m endeavouring to update it with words, images and video. Apart from the TV documentary about Spirit of Cardiff’s epic voyage around the world in 2002, that includes a couple of vlogs from me, which Team Britannia skipper Alan Priddy wants to see become more of a regular thing.

I was told many years ago by a TV producer that he thought I had a “great face for radio”, words which at the time stung somewhat as they fell upon my ears. As it happened, I was already doing a lot of radio, and I’d hoped to make a break into telly. And while part of me grudgingly agreed with him, I nevertheless proved him wrong by appearing in a string of TV travel, outdoors and leisure programmes, including a BBC travel show called “The Great Escape” hosted by Nick Knowles!

Even so, I guess I’ve felt somewhat more comfortable behind a camera rather than in front, but in the interests of promoting Team Britannia, my reservations have to take a back seat – not least because I know that once we get our boat in the water and take it around the world, I’m going to be appearing in front of TV cameras a lot!

So, as rough and ready as they are, the vlogs will probably be a good way of easing me back into limelight mode. This latest one from last month was shot in my office, and features Team Britannia’s eco-fuel partner Clean Fuel Ltd.

Team Britannia runs on Clean Fuel

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

I haven’t posted about Team Britannia for some time, but that’s not to say we haven’t been busy. Things have been progressing so quickly it’s hard to keep up! In the last three months we’ve changed tack on the way the project is funded by adopting what you might call self-sponsorship.

Team Britannia principal Alan Priddy has set up a company called Clean Fuel Ltd, promoting the idea of using emulsifiers to allow you to mix water with fuel for a low-pollution burn. And while there are other companies tinkering with the concept, they all seem to be relying on chemists, where what it actually required to make it work properly was an engineer! Alan Priddy has made some important (patent pending) modifications to an existing homogeniser unit, producing a piece of kit which is both affordable and portable.

It makes an important difference for Team Britannia inasmuch as Alan Priddy’s modified homogeniser will be small enough to carry on board the boat, so instead of refuelling at every stop with treated fuel, we simply fill up with standard diesel, which we mix with desalinated seawater and eco-friendly emulsifier as we go. This has never been done before, so it’s another exciting technological aspect which we’ll be showcasing as we power around the world after that record!

While we are now finally close to the point where construction of the boat can begin, the delays over the last few months means we would be pushing it to be ready to set off any time this year, let alone our original November 1st target. The clincher actually came after studying the weather. This year has been an El Niño year, and the effects in the Pacific (and indeed, worldwide) have been the strongest in two decades. The summer has seen a record number of typhoons, and for the first time ever, three category four hurricanes appeared in the Pacific at the same time. As if that isn’t enough, scientists predict El Niño will intensify from September. They’re agreed on the fact that it will carry over into the early part of next year, but not on when it will finish – some say February, some say April.

For our purposes, an attempt to circumnavigate the world can only be made in spring or autumn, so we will now be aiming to set off in March 2016.

Team Britannia has just launched an amazing new website, which when the circumnavigation record attempt takes place, will stream live video, along with performance data from the boat, weather conditions and even bio-data from each crew member. Then you’ll be able to guess whether or not I’m asleep! You can also follow Team Britannia on Facebook.