THIS is the first look at the revolutionary powerboat set to embark on a round-the-world record challenge which could spark a boom in the Solent maritime economy.
Work is well under way on the construction of Team Britannia’s 80ft vessel as the clock ticks down to the start of its voyage from Gibraltar next month.
The boat will come on now in leaps and bounds. As soon as it is rotated around, it means the cabin can go in as well as the fuel tanks. Within two weeks, it will be a 24 hour operation.Alan Priddy
And while the team boat is still in its skeleton form, skipper Alan Priddy says developments are happening ‘minute by minute’ and he’s confident everything will come together as planned.
He said: ‘It’s a massive operation. The clock is against us, but we have a big team behind us.
‘The boat will come on now in leaps and bounds. As soon as it is rotated around, it means the cabin can go in as well as the fuel tanks. Within two weeks, it will be a 24-hour operation.’
The first set of aluminium plates were fitted to the outside of the megastructure yesterday under canvas at the team’s headquarters in Hayling Island.
Once all of the exterior plating is complete, the boat will be rotated so it is round the right way.
Then six huge fuel tanks, which can hold 40,000 litres of diesel, will be slotted into place, before the rest of the boat’s interior fittings are put together.
The diesel will be blended with sea water to ensure the boat burns less fuel and is eco-friendly.
Mr Priddy anticipates the boat will be ready to hit the water by October 14.
The team will leave Gibraltar on its voyage around the world on October 23, clocking up 23,000 miles.
They hope to finish in under 60 days and bring home a new world record.
Mr Priddy hopes that should they clinch the record, orders for similar boats will come in from around the world and lead to a shipbuilding revival.
He said: ‘The Solent region has been forgotten. This region was the lifeline of engineering and manufacturing. We want to kick-start a boom in the maritime economy.’
Civic leaders have welcomed the progress. Hayling councillor Frank Pearce said: ‘Everything Alan does is a challenge.
‘I remember when he took kids around the world on the Lively Lady yacht.
‘This time it’s something similar, but with Alan taking servicemen around the world who have been injured one way or another.
‘He is very community-minded.’
Havant MP Alan Mak said: ‘We’re delighted the boat is being built in Hayling Island, supporting local jobs, and reinforcing our position as a hub for the maritime industry.’