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PRESS RELEASE – Challenge to complete the world’s first circumnavigation under full electric-regeneration across the Elcano route


Nicola Elam


Bill Fraser, 48, along with his crew, plans to undertake the world’s first circumnavigation using wind power for electric regeneration on the Elcano route.

Bill Fraser

Originally from New Zealand, now residing and operating in the UK construction/energy industry, Bill owns and races Ceil III, a 40-ft, one-tonne sailboat built in 1973 for the Sydney Hobart race – a one-off design by Ben Lexcen (Bob Miller).

 Bill is aiming to be the first boat to sail around the world on the Elcano route with the same stops as the original voyagers 500 years ago powered by fully-electric regeneration. 

The Elcano route has numerous challenges for electric regeneration, not least the wind from behind makes apparent wind on turbines low, seaweed causes problems for electric motor charging and the sun is in the shade of the sail for half the day, while the another half of the day it’s dark.

The conversion will remove the gas cooker and the diesel engine and tanks. Onboard electrics will be charged from wind solar and electrical regeneration.  

Ceil III is to become a fully regenerated-electric powered yacht.

The goals of the expedition are: 

  • Zero carbon voyage
  • Create awareness of global warming
  • Be part of the progress in electric technology

After a start in Seville in March 2023, and a stop-off in Tenerife, the route will continue to Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo and Puerto Julian before transiting the Magellan Strait.  After a symbolic stop at Punta Arenas, the voyage will continue on the long passage to the island of Puka Puka, in the Cook Islands. A stop will then be made at Guam, in the Marianna Islands, before arriving at the mid-point of the voyage at Cebu, in the Philippine Islands. A symbolic visit to Mactan, where Magellan was killed in 1521, will conclude the first part of this commemorative voyage.

The second part of the voyage will start from the point where Juan Sebastian Elcano took over the command of the expedition. After calling at Palawan, Brunei, Tidore, Ambon and Timor, the modern Elcano route will cross the South Indian Ocean to Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Having passed the Cape of Good Hope, the voyage will turn north, cross the equator to Ribeira Grande in the Cape Verde Islands, then head for Sanlúcar de Barrameda and finally Seville

Ceil III, didn’t see much action between 1980 – 1992 when she landed in the hands of a new owner and was raced consistently for the best part of a decade, racking up wins in the Plymouth-Guernsey Race for the Hart Cup, the Armada Cup 4 times and was one of the only two boats to finish the Brixham Santander Race in 2001. Originally designed for long downwind races, her most iconic feature is a prop installed the opposite way to normal which results in Ceil III being pulled through the water rather than pushed. This backwards prop was then later accompanied by a reverse folding prop which is thought to be the only existing one of its type in the world.

For more information on the progress of this story and for sponsorship, please contact Nicola Elam at the Nic.E Consultancy