Extreme E’s ‘floating paddock’ the St. Helena has set sail for Saudi Arabia. Yep, the all-electric off-road cousin of Formula E is actually happening people. Get ready.
There have been delays to the worldwide race calendar (for obvious reasons), but after 17 to 20 days at sea the ex-Royal Mail ship will take its place for the first race weekend on 3 April.
Extreme E has spent two years and millions of pounds refurbishing the giant ship, which has included turning the swimming pool into a science lab where 14 different scientists will conduct seven forms of ocean research. Nice.
Apparently there’s also low-energy LED lights, low-water consumption bathroom fittings, chairs made from recycled plastic bottles and a hydroponic system that’ll allow the onboard chefs to grow herbs and garnishes. Crucial.
There are 62 cabins which can sleep up to 175 people, as well as two lounges, an 80-seater restaurant, a 100-seater exterior deck, an 80-seater presentation area and even space to carry 90 20-foot shipping containers. Blimey.
Perhaps the most crucial cargo (besides the 50 members of crew that will live and travel on the ship, of course) will be the fleet of Odyssey 21 EVs and the hydrogen fuel cells that’ll provide zero-emission charging. Also onboard will be the tents that’ll be the team garages, the podium, all of the TV and broadcast equipment and a machine that turns plastic waste into trophies.
The St Helena set sail from Cammell Laird port in Liverpool, with Extreme E Founder and CEO Alejandro Agag taking part in the ceremonial ship launch by cracking a bottle of champagne over the hull.
After Saudi Arabia, the series will go back through the Mediterranean to Senegal, before heading across to Greenland, down to the Amazon and then further south to Tierra del Fuego. Thoughts, Internet?