Article from Southern Boating Magazine:

View From the Pilothouse

For the record…

Entire industries and institutions have been built upon the concept of breaking records. Now I’m not meaning to short shrift those who can chow down a few dozen hotdogs in one sitting or sit in a tree for weeks on end, but as I see it, the most challenging and meaningful records are those that involve the seas.

Again, those are all well and good and, perhaps it’s just my age talking, but those kinds of record-breaking activities are all too death-defying for my constitution.

People have attempted to break all sorts of oceanic records: free-diving to ink-black depths (the existing record is an incredible 702 feet!); swimming great distances like the English Channel; rowing or pedaling a craft across an ocean; and a host of other endeavors.

Again, those are all well and good and, perhaps it’s just my age talking, but those kinds of record-breaking activities are all too death-defying for my constitution. Also, I don’t see a practical tie-in with the historical reasons people took the risks in the first place. Often they set a “first” record without ever having necessarily meant to do so. Plus, I’m more comfortable with challenging the ocean in reasonably outfitted vessels more appropriate for the task, than attempting to break records that were originally and unintentionally set out of simple necessity.

Back in 2010, Australian Jessica Watson, age 16, became the youngest person ever to solo-circumnavigate the globe non-stop. At the time of this writing, a woman named Sarah Herbert is out in the middle of the Atlantic, making the east-to-west passage aboard an off-the-shelf windsurfer. Others have made the attempt, but on highly modified boards. She does have a chase boat for safety and when it’s time to catch some Zs.

Then, just this past February, a crew onboard a 70-foot mono-hull (a former Volvo Ocean Race boat), sponsored by high-end sports car manufacturer Maserati, set a new record for the “original” trans-Atlantic route, from Cadiz, Spain to San Salvador, the very course first sailed by Christopher Columbus. (This record is just the first of several the crew will attempt over the next few months.)

However, all the above involve sailing, and many of our readers are powerboat owners. To that end, we have something new to get excited about: an attempt at the around-the-world-under-power (or what many like to think of as “The Ultimate Cruise”) record is about to be made, and with a wonderfully historic twist.

A former NASA senior consultant turned attorney/judge, John Morrison, makes his case clear on the website Victoria500.com: “To set the world record for the fastest nautical circumnavigation of the earth in a powerboat. We do this to honor the upcoming 500th anniversary of Ferdinand Magellan’s historic expedition. In 1519, Magellan set sail with 5 ships and 270 men. Three years later, 18 men returned on the Victoria, the only ship to complete the voyage. These brave souls were the first people to ever circumnavigate the earth.

“We celebrate these men and all who have dared to take on the challenge of the seas, for it is these men who explored and unlocked the world for all humanity. For many, it cost them their lives… We challenge it with ours.”

But this impending saga has another twist. Morrison recently took possession of Gentry Eagle, the boat built by legendary boat racer Tom Gentry in which he shattered the Transatlantic crossing record and in so doing, brought the coveted Blue Riband trophy back to the U.S. (from airline and music tycoon, Sir Richard Branson) in 1989, taking 62 hours and 10 minutes to make the crossing.

At 112 feet, pushed along by a pair of twin 3500-hp MTU turbo diesels and a single 4500-hp turbine “stinger”, the boat can reach speeds in excess of 63-knots (70+ mph). Her fuel capacity is 9,800 gallons giving her a range of 1,500 nautical miles. Just contemplating the logistics of all the fuel stops makes one dizzy.

Although it is only in the initial stages, we’ll continue to watch and keep you updated as this stellar project moves along. It’s a record I believe in breaking.

Original article here:

http://southernboating.com/blog/category/view/