Saturday, November 29, 2008


The world record for circling the globe:
60 days 23 hours 49 mins

In June 2008, the amazing Earthrace vessel set a new world record for a powerboat to circle the globe, and she did this with 100% renewable biodiesel fuel, and a net zero carbon footprint. The voyage was over 24,000 nautical miles, and took 60 days, 23 hours and 49 minutes, smashing the old reocrd by over two weeks.

Earthrace is a 24m (78ft) tri-hull wavepiercer that has been designed and built specifically to get the record for a powerboat to circumnavigate the globe. She is an advanced endurance vessel, capable of submarining up to 7m (23ft) underwater as she powers across oceans. One journalist recently reported "Earthrace is like a rally car but for oceans, with her ability to handle rough seas and storm conditions at high speed."

The horns
There are a many features that stand out on Earthrace. Firstly the distinctive horns. These are actually ducts. Hot air from around the engines is expelled out the top of these, while cool air is sucked through the lower channel and funnelled under the engines. This however is not powered, it runs simply by convection. In big seas (waves over 8m (26ft)) the horns get submerged, however any water ingress is ducted out the sides automatically. Also, because Earthrace is only underwater for a few seconds at a time, the engine bay holds enough air to keep the 1080hp of Cummins Mercruiser engine roaring along.Another feature about Earthrace is her unusual appearance, especially the extremely narrow hulls and flowing lines. She has this shape to allow her to pass easily through waves, rather than riding over the top like conventional designs.

Another feature about Earthrace is her unusual appearance, especially the extremely narrow hulls and flowing lines. She has this shape to allow her to pass easily through waves, rather than riding over the top like conventional designs.

The range of Earthrace depends on speed. At 6 knots she can go an incredible 13,000nm (24,000km) on one tank of biodiesel. That's over half way around the globe! Of course your crew gets grumpy at 6kn when you're in such a high speed vessel. At 25 knots she has a range of about 2,000nm (3,700km).

Much of the Earthrace helm has been modelled on race cars. Recent additions to the helm are custom carbon / kevlar racing seats by Corbeau and a custom made pre-preg carbon steering wheel by Reverie.

  • Hull: Wavepiercing Trimaran
  • Designer: Craig Loomes Design Group
  • Builder: Calibre Boats
  • Length: 24m (78ft)
  • Beam: 8m (24ft)
  • Draft: 1.3m (4ft)
  • Range at 6 knots: 13,000nm (24000km)
  • Range at 25 knots 2,000 nm (2,700km)
  • Maximum speed: 40 knots (75km/h)*
  • Fuel: B100 Biodiesel (100%)
  • Fuel Capacity: 12,000 liters (3,000 gallons)
  • Dry Weight: 14 ton
  • Weight fully fuelled: 26 ton
  • Construction: Carbon , Kevlar sandwich composites
  • Crew: 4
  • Beds: 6
  • Engines: 2 x QSC - 540 ( Cummins Mercruiser Diesel 540 hp)
  • Gearboxes: ZF 305A (ZF)
  • Air intakes: top of wings to remain above waves while piercing
  • Windscreen: 17mm laminated toughened glass
  • max speed is dependent on fuel load, propellor pitch, and gearbox ratio.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Red Bull Air Race

About Air Race:

The Red Bull Air Race is an exciting competition in which the world’s most talented pilots are up against each other in a race based on speed, precision and skill.

The competition features a dynamic new discipline of flying, called ‘air racing’ where the objective is to navigate a challenging obstacle course in the sky in the fastest possible time. Pilots fly individually against the clock and have to complete tight turns through a slalom course consisting of specially designed 20m high pylons, known as ‘air gates’.

The Air Race is not just about speed but also precision. The slightest mistake can result in penalty points. Flying low to the ground at speeds that can reach over 400kph, while negotiating the air gates, requires immense skill that only a certain number of pilots in the world possess. That is why the pilots are hand selected based upon their expertise and experience. These pilots are at the top of their game. They have to be – the Air Race exerts huge demands on their flying abilities and they have to withstand forces of up to 10G. There is no room for error.

What makes the ‘Air Race’ so exciting and interesting for spectators is the proximity of the contest to the crowds. Low level flying on a relatively compact course means that people can really experience all the action close-up.

The idea of the Air Race was conceived by Red Bull who then approached renowned Hungarian pilot Peter Beseynei to help them refine the concept. The very first Red Bull Air Race took place at AirPower in Zeltweg, Austria in 2003 and was hailed a great success. It was clear that there was a huge potential for the competition. Subsequent Air Races were then held in Hungary, England and the USA and since then it has evolved into its current format, the Red Bull Air Race World Series. The first World Series kicked off in 2005, taking place in 7 venues across the world with 10 internationally acclaimed pilots competing.

11 pilots will take part in the 2006 Red Bull Air Race World Series in 9 spectacular international locations.

‘Air races’ have their roots in the US but unlike those contests where the objective was purely about speed, the Red Bull Air Race brings another dimension into the challenge – skill. They are using some of the lightest, agile and responsive planes that exist, but ultimately it’s the pilot’s stamina and skill that determines who will be crowned the next Red Bull Air Race World Series champion.


Aircraft suitable for the Red Bull Air Race cost around 230,000 euros each. A conventional sports plane does not come close to having the necessary agility, and the forces encountered in a race would break it to bits.

The planes flown by the Air Race pilots are mostly made of advanced carbon composites that can withstand forces of up to 15G and reach top speeds of around 450 kph. They can fly at speeds as low as 100 kph and still perform their unbelievable manoeuvres. Their maximum roll rate is 420 degrees per second, the equivalent of 70 rpm; a spin cycle that makes it impossible for the pilots to perceive the horizon.

"Air" gates:

A slalom in the sky with pilots speeding through the Red Bull Air Race course at over 400 kph? It's extremely exciting but also very risky. That is why it is so important that the obstacles can deal with impact without any adverse consequence to the plane or pilot. One question that's always asked is: what happens when a plane hits a pylon?

The 'Air Gates', as the pylons are called, have been painstakingly developed by the Innsbruck based company Bellutti Protection Systems. Martin Jehart and his team have designed air gates that disintegrate when a plane collides with them. They are made from a very light and fragile spinnaker material which rips immediately when touched by an aircraft wing or propeller, so that they simply collapse without any damage or danger to the airplane. Within four minutes an air gate can be replaced by a new one.

Despite their fragility the air gates are also very resilient and can withstand wind-speeds of up to 54 kph without being blown over. This is achieved by making the pylons cone-shaped - at their base they measure five metres across and at their tip 75 centimetres.

The air gates stand 20 metres high and the distance between each pair is approximately 10 to 14 metres.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Supermoto (also called Supermotard due to its strong foothold in France) is a cross-over of motocross and road racing. Races are commonly held on road racing tracks with an off-road section in the infield; approximately 70% tarmac and 30% dirt. The motorcycles used are frequently custom-created combinations of off-road motorcycles and road-racing rims/tires. Riders also wear a combination of road race and offroad equipment, normally leathers and a motocross helmet and boots. Unlike normal motorcycle racing, the emphasis lies on slower (<100>


Supermoto has its origins in the 1970s where ABC’s Wide World of Sports was the highest-rated sports show in the United States. In 1979, ABC commissioned a made-for-TV event to be included in the series, named Superbikers, whose intention was to find the ultimate all-around motorcycle racer. Superbikers was then manifested as a yearly event run at southern California's Carlsbad Raceway. The show's tarmac-and-dirt courses were intended to draw on talent from the worlds of off-road, flat-track and road-racing. World and National Championship-winning motorcycling greats such as Kenny Roberts and Jeff Ward, whose respective sports at the time were road-racing and motocross, participated in the races. The Superbikers quickly became a huge Nielsen rating contender, running until 1985, at which point ABC was forced to cancel the show due to new management and budget cuts; its cancellation also initiated a long sabbatical of the sport in the USA. The European racers who participated in the sport at Carlsbad, however, brought it back to Europe with them, where it quickly gained popularity in countries such as France.

2003 signalled the resurrection of the sport in the United States with the birth of the AMA Supermoto championship.


Prior to the 1990s, supermotos, including the precursor motorcycles used in Superbikers, were converted open-class two-stroke motocross or enduro bikes. The motorcycles currently used for Supermotard racing are predominantly single-cylinder 4 stroke powered dirtbikes with 17" or 16.5" wheels. The smaller rims allow the use of up to 5.5" wide superbike road racing slicks and are often hand grooved on the rear tire to facilitate slightly better acceleration on the dirt stretches of a motard course. Suspension is lowered and slightly stiffened in comparison with a stock motocross bike, and braking power is improved with oversize rotors and calipers as well. Despite the lack of trees on supermoto courses, 'bark busters' (hand guards) are frequently added to supermoto bikes due the extreme cornering angles achieved by riders.

In 1991 Italian manufacturer Gilera released the 'Nordwest' model, the first factory produced supermoto. Other European manufactures quickly followed suit, among them KTM, Husqvarna, Husaberg AB and CCM Motorcycles; all manufacturers whose emphasis were off-road models at the time. Models were developed for both track and road use. It took another 10 years, until the mid 2000s for Japanese manufacturers, such as Yamaha (2004), Honda (2005) and Suzuki (2005) to start introducing supermoto models in the european market, emphasising more domesticated models for road use rather than outright racing. Dual-purpose motorcycles such as the Kawasaki KLR650 are good examples of this. In the spring of 2006, Italian bike manufacturer Ducati announced their entry in the class with the "Hypermotard" machine which has more in common with streetfighter-type motorcycles than realistically being considered a supermoto. KTM currently has available a 950 "V" twin that could be described as the ultimate road going supermoto. Aprilia also has two new (450 and 550) SXV v-twin supermotos for sale.

Due to the popularity and versatility of these motorcycles, some owners modify them for street usage. In order to do this, headlights, taillights, and street-legal tires among other occasional modifications are needed, while some, such as the Husqvarnas and newer KTMs, come street legal from the factory. These motorcycles make excellent city-goers as their upright seating position provides comfort and great visibility. Their narrow frames and light weight also make them incredibly manuverable, as well as easier to ride in less than ideal road conditions that make most sportbikes have to slow down.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Route du Rhum - Extreme Sailing

The route du Rhum is an event organized by Promo voile S.A., a subsidiary of the Pen Duick S.A.S. company with the participation of the City of Saint-Malo for the starting procedures and the Guadeloupe Regional Authority for the arrival phase, along with their sports clubs, in conjunction with the French Ocean Racing Association (the “UNCL”).

Course: 3510 miles

The official race name and the only authorized one is the Route du Rhum – La Banque Postale.

The Route du Rhum is a top-level sailing event for solo yachtsmen and takes place every four years.

Its goal is to provide a showcase for sailors and boat owners, the City of Saint-Malo and the Guadeloupe Region, as well as its title partner and the other private partners responsible for financially supporting and promoting the project.


"No rest for the sailor or his machine"

Between Saint-Malo and Pointe-à-Pitre, the shortest route is not always the quickest … Winds and currents represent hurdles that have to be overcome or avoided... Then there are the rivals you have to keep a check on to avoid them getting away from you. Once the ramparts of Saint-Malo have been left behind, the competitors spend their first night in the English Channel before rounding Ushant and its shipping lane. Then there is the Bay of Biscay and usually headwinds and low-pressure areas coming one after another until they reach the Azores, the gateway to the trade winds. Next up in general there is a series of tactical choices to make to get across the high-pressure area with its light winds before picking up speed all the way to Pointe-à-Pitre, as the race record is there to be broken.

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