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Sailor in powerboat record attempt

A veteran British sailor hopes to smash the world record for circumnavigating the globe in a powerboat by taking to the waves in an environmentally-friendly vessel shaped like a torpedo.

Alan Priddy, 61, plans to shave around 10 days off the current powerboat record of 60 days, 23 hours and 49 minutes, held by Pete Bethune from New Zealand.

After securing £2.9 million of funding the project team, named Team Britannia, hope to begin construction of the 80ft boat early next year so they can set off from Gibraltar on their 24,000 mile voyage in November 2015.

The boat, which has yet to be named, has been designed to pierce waves rather than surfing across them, which they say should reduce fuel consumption by 30% and make the trip smoother than one in a boat with a conventional hull.

Made from marine-grade aluminium - 80% of which will be recycled - it will carry 7,700 gallons of what the team say is a revolutionary emulsion fuel, which when burned reduces harmful emissions such as nitrous oxide.

It will also have an estimated top speed of 34.4 knots and an estimated average speed of 22.5 knots

Mr Priddy, who will set his 38th world record if he succeeds with this circumnavigation attempt, believes the new boat will allow the team to do so "cleaner and greener than anyone else".

He said: "This project is the culmination of a lifetime's work that I hope will highlight the amazing qualities and skills that we have in abundance in our country - the best sailors, engineers, boat builders and designers.

"This is why when we started this project six years ago we called ourselves Team Britannia.

"We have the finest maritime designers, builders and sailors in the world. The British boat Cable & Wireless Adventurer first set the round the world powerboat record in 1998 and held it for nearly a decade.

"When this record, the pinnacle of powerboating, was lost to the New Zealand boat Earthrace, I knew we had an amazing opportunity to once again showcase the best of British. To show why our marine industry is still the best.

"Team Britannia aims to do just that. It brings together just a few of the people who make Britain and our marine sector great."

The route will see the team head west from Gibraltar, with stops at Puerto Rico, Acapulco in Mexico, Honolulu, Guam, Singapore, Oman and Malta to take on fuel.

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.

Mr Priddy will set off with a crew of seven and hopes to offer a place to injured servicemen or women on each leg of the voyage.

The team's first attempt at building a boat for the record attempt came to a swift end two years ago when a fire in a nearby factory left the hull damaged.

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