Posts Tagged ‘Global Challenge’

Letter from Number 10

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

I haven’t posted any round the world boat updates for some time, because frankly there hasn’t been much to say. The project has had something of a bumpy ride this year in terms of sponsorship, and while this has inevitably introduced delay into our planned timeline, we will have some positive news to announce soon.

In the meantime, we received rather a nice letter which gave us all a warm rosy glow – me in particular, as the one who penned the original letter which elicited this response.

It’s from Prime Minister David Cameron, writing to express his admiration for our endeavour, and looking forward to following our progress. Click on the letter to read the larger version on our Team Britannia Facebook page.

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!

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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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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Accomplish More survives inferno

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

We always knew the toughest part of the Company85 Global Challenge would actually be getting the boat to the start line. There have been many behind-the-scenes dramas throughout the history of this project, which for the moment remain unpublicised. But no one could have imagined the latest turn of events.

My heart sank when Alan Priddy called me yesterday to say that he’d been told there was a fire on the industrial estate in Dudley where the round the world powerboat Accomplish More is being built, with four fire tenders tackling the blaze. It was a tense hour before he rang back to say that the fire was actually in an adjacent unit, on the end of the one where the boat is. But the fire was intense enough to melt machinery and vehicles, and as I write this on Tuesday morning, the fire service are still in attendance damping down what remains.

The good news is that apart from a film of soot from the smoke, Accomplish More has come through the exposure to intense heat unscathed.

“I designed Accomplish More to be as tough as old boots,” says Alan, “and I guess she’s proved her worth. She’s been to hell and back even before she gets into the water!”

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British from start to finish

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Gibraltar was always the favoured start and finish point for the Company85 Global Challenge. Now it seems this little British outpost at the gateway to the Mediterranean will be featuring rather more heavily as the “home port” of the round the world powerboat Accomplish More. And if you’re anywhere near the West Midlands on Saturday 14th April, come along to our open day in Dudley and take a close look at our impressive boat.

You can read all about it in this month’s Accomplish More newsletter.

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Background moves

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

I sometimes think that if I didn’t have a split personality before I started out on this powerboating lark, I certainly have to have one now. You might think the absence of an update over the last week or so would mean not much is happening, but the truth is there’s a lot going on behind the scenes – I just can’t tell you about it yet. At the moment, Company85 Global Challenge project leader Alan Priddy is out in India, visiting the school and health centre he’s been building for the last couple of years (and attending a royal wedding, as you do…) But we’ve been in daily contact as things progress on several fronts.

Going off at a slight tangent, I was reminded that Friday 16th March is the 100th anniversary of the death of Captain Lawrence Oates – he of the ill-fated Scott expedition to the South Pole, who bravely walked out of his tent into a blizzard to give his fellow explorers a better chance of survival. Of course his last words “I am just going outside and may be some time” have since become the stuff of legend. Scott’s ship, the Terra Nova, set sail for Antarctica from Cardiff, and it was from here, 10 years ago, that Alan Priddy and I departed on our first circumnavigation of the world in Spirit of Cardiff.

We actually set off from Cardiff Bay for Gibraltar on Easter Sunday, March 31st 2002. The preceding few weeks had been pretty manic – getting the boat ready, sorting out provisions, including some supplies which had to be freighted out to stops ahead of us. And we were still checking details with various refuelling stops, and keeping a keen eye on what the weather was doing. It hadn’t helped that circumstances had forced Jan Falkowski to pull out from the crew at the beginning of the month, but we forged ahead regardless.

Neither could we have known that our big day would nearly fizzle because of the death of the Queen Mother the day before. But in the end, the good people of Cardiff gave us a wonderful send-off, officiated at by Welsh First Minister Rhodri Morgan, Cardiff South MP Alun Michael and Welsh Assembly Member Lorraine Barrett. There’s still some way to go before we get to anything similar with Accomplish More, but we’re thinking about it, and everything else that’s going to happen in between.

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When Clive met a Python

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Things are still moving steadily onwards with the Company85 Global Challenge. After a site survey by the haulage contractor charged with the task of transporting the round the world powerboat Accomplish More from her factory unit in Dudley to Port Solent Marina, project leader Alan Priddy has decided to switch her to an adjacent unit. It’s all about making sure the haulier can get his trailer right up to the building, but it will also provide a brief photo opportunity with the boat before she’s back in the confines of a factory unit.

You can read all about it in this month’s Accomplish More newsletter, along with what happened when I met Michael Palin!

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Balancing the carbon books

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

All the way along, I’ve been at pains to explain that the Company85 Global Challenge powerboat Accomplish More has been designed to be as fuel efficient as possible. The primary motive behind that is to get the greatest range that we can on one fill of fuel, and thus cut down on time spent in port. But we’re also very mindful that we have a range of technologies brought together for the first time in one boat, and that it’s very likely that what we achieve with Accomplish More will influence the way boats are built in the future.

While we want to show it’s possible to make boats which are less demanding on the earth’s resources, we’re also very keen to ensure our environmental balance sheet doesn’t go into the red. Ultimately what that means is the process of carbon offsetting – not just contributing money to schemes such as planting sustainable forests, but actually working out very precisely what our carbon emissions will be (including all ground crew movements around the world), and then deciding on appropriate projects to provide the offset.

The plan is to have a complete audit trail, and for the expected emissions for the round the world trip to be fully offset before we depart on the great voyage. But we will continue tracking our emissions on the way round so we can make up any shortfall once we complete the trip.

We’re in talks with some experts in making boats completely carbon-neutral, and once the appropriate dotting and crossing has taken place on anything that looks vaguely like an “i” or a “t”, I’ll tell you more about it.