At this stage, Alan Priddy’s giant aluminium round the world challenger Team Britannia’s Excalibur is perhaps not yet the prettiest star in the sky, but with each passing week the Hayling Island Aluminium Boat Building Company takes giant steps to complete this iconic 80 foot craft for its official launch in late 2018 for sea trials leading up to the 23,000 nautical mile record attempt set for 2019.
Excalibur waiting for stern section – Photo Chris Davies
Excalibur is designed by Hampshire based Professor Bob Cripps, former Technical Director of VT Halmatic, who designed the craft to slice the waves, rather than surfing them, and with its fast displacement hull is hoped to reduce rule consumption by up to 30 per cent. The aluminium hull constructed of 6mm aluminium plate, emerged for the first time out of the building shed a few days ago and although the boat’s 6,000 litre fuel tanks have been installed along with all the bulkheads which divide the boat into various compartments, it is currently waiting for its fitting out which includes adding extra length to the stern for the jet drives. Undoubtedly the finished craft will look much different particularly as Excalibur will be fitted with RHIB style tubes each weighing around 250kg to the topsides for added safety measures in the event of capsize. Also to be fitted is the wheelhouse, flybridge, decks and interior fittings.
Power will come from twin FPT diesel engines with transmission through giant Castokli jet units (yet to be fitted).
The crew of 12 will be accommodated in berths throughout the hull and one can only speculate there may be considerable drumming within the interior when the vessel is on full power.
Team Britannia will depart on its epic voyage from Gibraltar after a nautically themed festival, beginning at Europa Point and calling at Puerto Rico, Manzanillo, Honolulu, Guam, Singapore, Oman and Malta to take on fuel. The UIM world record is currently held by Pete Bethune from New Zealand at 60 days 23 hours 49 minutes, and to complete the attempt the boat must pass through the Suez and Panama Canals and start and finish in the same place. We will publish regular updates on its progress.
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 800HP 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 Everywhere
Batteries – Mastervolt
Total crew – 20 (12 onboard with 5 rotating on and off the boat plus 3 shore based)
Crew clothing – Sebago
Logistical support by GAC