A MAJOR milestone has been reached in the construction of an 80ft powerboat hoping to race around the world in the fastest time and bring a new world record back to the Solent.
The Team Britannia vessel was today flipped over the ride way up at its yard in Hayling Island ready to be kitted out inside.
This is a distinct milestone in the project. In terms of engineering, everything we have done is out of the box, it’s not what people expected.Team Britannia principal Alan Priddy
The internal work will see six massive fuel tanks, twin engines and jets installed and a distinctive wheelhouse and deck being craned into place.
Team principal Alan Priddy says his maritime crew will then prepare for sea trials in the new year – and a ‘spring’ start for their global voyage from Gibraltar waters.
Speaking to The News before his boat was turned by machinery ‘millimetre by millimetre’ under canvas, Mr Priddy said: ‘This is a distinct milestone in the project.
‘In terms of engineering, everything we have done is out of the box, it’s not what people expected.
‘Building part of the boat upside down ensures everything falls into shape.
‘We have used gravity to our advantage, rather than it being a disadvantage.’
The boat, which is costing £1.6m to build, was designed by Professor Bob Cripps, former technical director of VT Halmatic.
It’s being constructed out of marine-grade aluminium. and is being made from materials that aims to cut fuel consumption by up to 30 per cent.
The vessel will be powered by a diesel, water and an emulsifying agent that will reduce harmful emissions.
Portsmouth-based businessman Mr Priddy said more should be done to boost the economy by supporting similar projects.
He said: ‘I have been very disappointed in the efforts the area puts into maritime services.
‘We are very hot on training apprentices, and making noises, but we don’t see much action. Our dockyard should be building boats like this.
‘If we have been able to do this, using our own money, there’s no reason why others shouldn’t be.’
Team Britannia were due to set off on their 23,000 mile trip in October, but delays in construction meant the voyage was put back to March.
That could change again depending on weather conditions, say team officials.
The boat will be crewed by a team of 12, including up to five wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women on each of the seven legs of the voyage, who are being supported by the Royal Foundation’s Endeavour Fund.