With the Ady Gil now resting somewhere beneath the waves of the Antarctic, the Sea Shepherd and her supporters have turned to talk of a successor — and the cash needed to make her a reality.
Already, an anonymous donor has reportedly offered $1 million towards the project — while Hollywood businessman Ady Gil, the ship’s original benefactor, threw a fundraiser last weekend at his spacious Woodland Hills home. According to Paul Watson, $170,000 was pledged in the first few hours after the incident while more was flooding in following the screening of a Sea Shepherd advert featuring Transformers actress Isabel Lucas.
But while reports keep indicating that the loss of the Ady Gil to the Sea Shepherd was somewhere around $1.5 million — the cost to replace the ship will be much greater.
We know this because of an interview the Ady Gil’s creator, Captain Pete Bethune, did with Conquest Magazine back when the boat was known as the Earthrace. The march to make his dream a reality was such daunting task, that it actually almost sent Bethune into bankruptcy.
In terms of cost, the Ady Gil 2 will already seem daunting because of one lucky break Bethune got the first time around: the two 540 horsepower Cummins Mercruiser Diesel engines were actually free. The Cummins CEO said he couldn’t sponsor the $4 million needed at the time, but instead would provide the engines, install them, and service them around-the-globe for three years. That generous offer immediately saved between $300,000-$400,000. Additionally, a couple gearboxes were also thrown in for free — again, expensive stuff.
From that, Bethune raised $1.5 million in sponsorship for goods and services, threw in $750,000 of his own cash — and took out a loan for another three quarters of a million.
As if the costs weren’t heavy enough, the project then shot $500,000 over budget — mainly due to the complexity of the carbon spars and the more than 66 layers of carbon fibre. And this is all before Sea Shepherd got their hands on the vessel and added an additional 4-8 layers of kevlar and other upgrades.
Said Ady Gil at his fundraiser this past weekend, “We intended to build a bigger, better, faster ship for our cause.”
Words like that make accountants shiver — and based on the above, it’s no secret that a second Ady Gil will probably cost more than the first. Granted, Bethune now has experience and a giant organization behind him to help — but will the money flow? Can a second boat, when the first took more than 3,000 hours of labor to construct, be ready by next year’s campaign?
We look forward to finding out.