International environmental organization Sea Shepherd is about to embark on another mission to prevent whaling in the Antarctic Ocean. Only this time they’ll have a distinct speed advantage in the form of the Ady Gil: a radically designed, lightning-fast trimaran that holds the world record for global circumnavigation.

The Ady Gil, formerly known as Earthrace, is a 24m tri-hull wave piercer with a 1080hp Cummins Mercruiser engine that can tackle waves of up to 15m and submarine up to 7m underwater. The range of the vessel is outstanding, but of course depends on speed. At 6 knots she can travel 24,000 kilometers on only one tank of biodiesel. That equates to more than halfway around the globe.

Designed to achieve the global circumnavigation record, the futuristic and unusual appearance of the vessel is not just for show. The narrow hulls and flowing lines allow for her to pass through waves, rather than riding over them like a standard ship. This capability was critical too, because whether the sea is flat or rough, the vessel will run continuously.

Earthrace completed the 23,497 nautical mile global circumnavigation in 60 days, 23 hours and 49 minutes back in 2008, and this record has recently been officially recognized by the Union International Motonautique (UIM).

One of the standout design features of the Ady Gil is the "horns". These horns are actually air ducts that suck the cool air down through the lower channel and expel the hot air from the engine at the top, all while running by convection. If the ducts are submerged at sea, the water will be ducted automatically out the sides.

The vessel is capable of speeds of up to 50 knots, a significant advantage when compared to the Sea Shepherd vessel’s capabilities of only around 17 knots.

Apart from running on B100 biodiesel - a sustainable fuel made from canola and soya bean that is 95% biodegradable within 30 days if spilled in a waterway - the Ady Gil boasts numerous other eco-friendly elements. Parts of the vessel are made from hemp composite, lubricants are made from vegetable oils, bilge water is filtered to remove oil or hydrocarbon and waste is recycled wherever possible. As you might expect from an eco-boat, Earthrace is also billed as carbon neutral, with CO2 emissions balanced by the purchase of carbon credits.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is best known for their confrontational tactics to prevent Japanese whaling in the Antarctic ocean. The Ady Gil will join Sea Shepherd’s flagship Steve Irwin in December to begin the campaign.

Earthrace founder, New Zealander Pete Bethune, says half a tonne of Kevlar will be added to the vessel to toughen it against the ice.

"This is happening in my backyard and it really pisses me off. I'm going to make a stand alongside Sea Shepherd – the whaling fleet will find it hard to get away from us," said Bethune.

Via Sea Shepherd, Earthrace.