Hampshire’s Steve Mason joins round-the-world powerboat record attempt

Associations, Sailing, Sports, Yachting — By on November 30, 2016 at 4:09 PM
Steve Mason

Steve Mason

Hampshire’s Steve Mason (65) is realising his record-breaking ambitions by joining the crew of Team Britannia, the round-the-world powerboat record attempt.

The electrical engineer, who was born in Gosport, will join the round-the-world powerboat, which hopes to cut up to seven days off the current record of 60 days 23 hours 49 minutes, held by New Zealander Pete Bethune.

Team Britannia, led by British ocean racing legend Alan Priddy, will use a revolutionary semi-wave slicing boat that will carve through the waves, rather than surfing them. The super-efficient design, a variant of the “fast displacement hull” will reduce fuel consumption by up to 30 per cent and make the 24,000 mile trip smoother and faster.

The boat will be crewed by a team of 12, including up to five wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women (WIS) on each of the seven legs of the voyage who are being supported by the Royal Foundation’s Endeavour Fund.

Mr Priddy commented: “I am really excited to be reunited with Steve Mason in our latest round-the-world record attempt. As well as having excellent nautical experience – taking part in the 2006 Lively Lady Project – Steve’s position as Team Britannia’s Technical Manager recognises his valuable engineering skills. These are chiefly demonstrated by the revolutionary Clean Fuel that will be powering our record attempt.”

North west Atlantic on  the "Lively Lady"

North west Atlantic on the “Lively Lady”

Steve added: “This challenge represents a dual opportunity – beating the powerboat world record and doing it in an environmentally-friendly way. Clean Fuel’s emission-cutting technology will give us a crucial edge as we take on this arduous challenge – I’m glad to be doing it as part of an experienced and dynamic team.”

Steve, who lives in Warsash, will be Team Britannia’s Chief Engineer as well as Technical Manager.

A qualified BWSF (British Water Ski and Wakeboard) tournament Ski boat Driver, Steve is also a MCA (Maritime and Coastguard Agency) RYA (Royal Yachting Association) Yachtmaster. He joined the team of the Lively Lady Project and in 2006 skippered her on the northwest Atlantic, Indian Ocean and Mediterranean legs of her circumnavigation.

In addition to fuel-efficient design, the boat will use a pollution cutting Water-in-Diesel (WiDE) fuel emulsion power the two race-tuned Fiat Power Train C13 500, 6 cylinder engines. The boat is being built by the Aluminium Boatbuilding Company who are based near Portsmouth and will be fitting the latest navigation and communications equipment from the British marine industry.

It will be launched in late 2016 and will then commence sea trials. The record attempt will get underway early next year using the iconic Europa Point in Gibraltar as its timing mark.

To complete the record attempt the boat must pass through the Suez and Panama Canals, cross the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator and start and finish in the same place. The world record authorities, UIM (Union Internationale Motonautique) have approved Team Britannia’s proposed route, which will start in Gibraltar and call at Puerto Rico, Manzanillo, Honolulu, Guam, Singapore, Oman and Malta to take on fuel.

Mr Priddy concluded: “We are at a crucial and exciting point in the project. The boat is being built and we are putting together our team, both shore-based and those who will take part in this epic challenge. Getting the right team together is crucial if we are to smash the current record and I am delighted to be reunited with Steve’s skills and experience as we look to make history.”

Team Britannia is a multi-million pound British bid to design and build the fastest and most fuel efficient semi-wave slicing powerboat to circumnavigate the globe for the much-coveted UIM world record, currently held by the New Zealander Pete Bethune at 60 days 23 hours 49 minutes.

The World Record Authorities (UIM) dictate that for a recognised circumnavigation the craft has to pass through the Suez and Panama Canals, cross the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator and must start and finish the journey in the same place.

The boat is a completely new design from Professor Bob Cripps, former Technical Director of VT Halmatic. It has been designed in the UK and will be constructed in the Portsmouth area out of marine-grade aluminium. It encompasses “an exceptionally efficient hull”, which will cut fuel consumption by up to 30 per cent.

In addition to the design the vessel will be powered by a revolutionary fuel emulsion, a mixture of diesel, water and emulsifying agent from Clean Fuel Ltd. This will reduce harmful emissions such as particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide.

The effects of the emulsified fuel on the engines and the emissions will be monitored for the duration of the voyage and the results published online.

The boat is being built by the Aluminium Boatbuilding Company based in Hampshire, out of marine-grade aluminium. The metal was produced by Blackburn metals and laser-cut by specialist firm Aalco in Southampton.

The whole construction process is expected to take around nine months before it starts a programme of sea trials around the UK.

The boat will also showcase nearly a dozen leading marine companies, which are supporting the project with their expertise and equipment.

Team Britannia will launch their record bid in spring 2017 from Europa Point in Gibraltar.

Boat specifications:

  • Length – 80 feet
  • Internal beam – 13 feet
  • External beam – 19 feet
  • Draft – 30 inches
  • Material – Marine grade aluminium, including nearly 12km of framing
  • Hull thickness – 8-10 mm
  • Build weight – 20 tonnes
  • Range 4,000 nautical miles
  • Engines – Two customised Fiat Power Train C13 500, 6 cylinders
  • Power – Each engine is capable of generating 500HP at 2,000 RPM
  • Water jets – Two Castoldi turbo drive 490 HC
  • Fuel – Emulsified diesel (diesel, water and a unique emulsion developed by Clean Fuel and its partners)
  • Navigation station – Raymarine
  • Communications equipment – Standard Horizon & Iridium Everywere
  • Batteries – Mastervolt
  • Total crew – 20 (12 onboard with 5 rotating on and off the boat plus 3 shore based)
  • Crew clothing – Sebago
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