Earthrace makes engine repair in Majuro

Posted By on May 28, 2008

Earthrace in Hawaii 2008Earthrace, an attempt to round the world in record time on biodiesel fuel, is halfway across the Pacific Ocean and is now 700 or so miles west of Majuro in the Marshall Islands. They arrived on one engine and departed 4 hours later back on two.

After leaving San Diego the crew and ‘unique’ boat made a quick stop in Hawaii to exchange crew, pick up food and refuel, but a couple days out experienced a high pressure injector line leak which sprayed a mist of biodiesel fuel throughout the engine room. The engine was shut down and speeds reduced to 15 knots as there were no spare parts onboard for this particular leaking pipe. There was talk of making repairs with JB Weld, but injection pressures for this high tech Cummins diesel are 35,000 psi — that’s asking a lot from epoxy!

Nevertheless, the weather was good and the crew continued to the Marshall Islands at half speed where the ground crew was to come up with the new part. According to Pete Bethune, the ground crew has come together and is working well since some difficult times in Panama. Thankfully for the Earthrace adventure this uncelebrated groundcrew group has reconnected and were also able to come up with the correct parts and repair the engine quickly. Although Capt. Bethune would have preferred an under two hour stop as they did in Hawaii, he “reckon it’s a fair trade” to be back on two engines in only 4 hours. Next stop … Palau.


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  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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