On May 19th 2013, the schooner Tara embarked on a new scientific adventure: The Oceans Polar Circle expedition. Tara will travel 25 000 ams around the Arctic Ocean via the Northeast and Northwest passages, returning to Lorient in December 2013.
The new challenge brings together biologists and oceanographers to focus on plankton biodiversity in the Arctic. Research will be conducted at the edge of the ice pacha where plankton is most abundant.
Circumnavigating the Arctic Ocean, Tara Oceans Polar Circle will complete the main objective of the Tara Oceans Expedition (2009-2012): to collect plankton in all the oceans of the world. Indeed, the Arctic is the only ocean missing form our global study of plankton. Other issues will also be explored: the assessment of mercury levels in the atmosphere and in the sea,, and the concentration of plastic particles. Our aim is to obtain new measurements of these pollutants in the Arctic, and better assess their impact on the arctic ecosystem.
Tara will be sailing in an environment where natural conditions are difficult. Although the period of thaw lengthens every year, time is short before the ice closes in between the Northeast and Northwest passages, leaving little room for improvisation. Beyond the Arctic Circle, temperatures vary between -10 ° C and +5 ° C in summer. Daylight will constant in the Russian Arctic (midnight sun) and then gradually diminish to 12 hours per day in September.
The Arctic region is subjected to the efforts of accelerated climate change more intensely than anywhere else, as evidenced by the rapid melting of the ice pack in summer. This unique and fragile environment is increasingly coveted for its minerals and other riches, and is a key area for understanding climate change on the planet.
Summary of the scientific mission
- Comparison of biological data on plankton and their physicochemical environment in the Arctic with the data collected in other oceans during the Tara Oceans expedition (2009-2012)
- Study of floating plastic, and mercury (dissolved and atmospheric) present in the Arctic.
- Study of the “coolr” of the ocean, its composition and surface pigment particles. – Specific study of spring phytoplankton blooms at the ice pack’s edge.
More information on Tara Oceans at : www.taraexpeditions.org
by Peta Stuart-Hunt
The 2nd running of the Westward Cup commenced on the water today at 1100hrs, bringing together the cream of the world’s Big Class yachts in a blaze of excitement and anticipation of some great racing in Solent waters for the owners and their guests. Eleonora, Mariette and Mariquita also created a breathtaking sight for the spectators on Cowes Parade and Princes Green as the yachts prepared for their start on the Royal Yacht Squadron line.
The Westward Cup is being run by the Royal Yacht Squadron (RYS), the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) and the Yacht Club de Monaco (YCM). These three prestigious clubs have again joined forces to revive Big Class yachting in Cowes and Mr Zbynek Zak, the originator of the event in 2010 celebrating the 100th anniversary of the launch of the racing schooner Westward in 1910, says he is equally proud and delighted to be back in Cowes.
As the boats set up for racing they made a stunning sight off the The Castle as they powered up under full sail in a northerly breeze of 15-18 knots heading off into the western Solent with Mariette as the front runner. The course of 29nm saw the fleet experience variable wind speeds with winds decreasing severely as the race progressed and Eleonora fell behind with Mariette and Mariquita enjoying a spot of match racing.
David Aisher, Principal Race Officer, commenting after racing this afternoon, said, ‘Conditions were terrific first thing, but the wind went left, later abated and was recorded at 5 knots at one point which made it a struggle for the largest boat in the fleet, Eleonora.’
The two ‘smaller’ yachts were racing with their full race crew complement today plus their guests whilst Eleonora are also hosting a group of young sailors between the ages of 18 to 23 on board this week. They are novices to this type of racing and have been invited by the RYS and NYYC to introduce some new blood into classic yacht racing.
Mariquita took line honours finishing at 14.31.43, closely followed by Mariette 14.35.16 with Eleonora completing her first day’s racing in Cowes at 15.20.34.
On corrected time, the final positions after Day One are:
On the eve of the third running of Les Voiles de St. Barth, April 2-7, the palm-fringed port of Gustavia, St.Barthlemy quickly filled with an impressive array of race boats: ocean-racing maxis including the 90-foot Rambler and the Swan 112, Highland Breeze; classic beauties such the Olin Stephen-designed Dorade and the Fife-built yawl Mariella; a trio of IRC 52s, multi-hulls including the 66 Gunboat Phaedo, and two large racing classes with a mix of Melges, J/boats, and a mix of 40-footers, including the hot-off-the-press Carkeek 40, Decision.
Over 60 boats are registered for this years edition, up fromwith a large number of returning entries, proof that the regatta has filled the need for spirited competition towards the end of the winter season a time when tourism typically begins to wind down in the Caribbean. Though that was hard to tell yesterday, at the islands tiny airport, as the steady stream of small commuter planes landing were filled with a duffle bag-wielding collection of sailors from the ranks of the Americas Cup, round-the-world-ocean races, and Olympic competition, that included Gavin Brady (Vesper), Scott Vogel (Rambler), Bouwe Bekking (Nilaya), Cam Lewis (Paradox), Charlie McKee and Ross MacDonald (Mayhem), Tony Rey, Jeff Madrigali, and Nacho Postigo (Powerplay), and Dee Smith (Decision).
But its not just the professionals that flock to Les Voiles de St. Barth, the regattas program and mix of courses also appeals to a competitive group of amateur and family racers that hone their skills on the growing circuit of Caribbean regattas that take advantage of this sailing paradise.
While not the easiest of destinations to reach some U.S. west coast sailors logged 16+ hours in transit, while others from Europe only slightly less the island of St Barths itself is a welcome reward at the end of the road: a turquoise blue, crystal-clear sea, pristine white sand beaches, and an array of fabulous restaurants just payoff for a long days journey.
Francesco Mongelli, navigator onboard Jim Swartz IRC52 Vesper, is here racing in St Barths for the first time. The Italian sailor, who sails primarily in Europe, has been racing with the Vesper crew since last October, and was clearly keen to have touched down in this French paradise, Its a mix of all the best sailing places, together with perfect weather and good food. Having spent the afternoon in a tender carefully checking out the coastline and charted (and uncharted) rock outcroppings, Mongelli added, Its pretty similar to Porto Cervo, the difference is that there you more or less know where everything is, and the charts are accurate. You cannot take the same risk here that wed take in Porto Cervo.
Racing will run from Tuesday, April 3 Saturday, April 7 and will feature a mix of Olympic triangles, short coastal courses, and a 20-30 nautical mile round-the island race. The fleet will be split into seven classes: Maxi (> 21 meters), IRC52 (former TP52s that have been optimized for the IRC rule), Spinnaker I + II, Non-Spinnaker (racer/cruiser), Classic (vintage/traditional), and Multihull. Thursday is a layday at Nikki Beach, with lunch and a full afternoon of activities, including a paddleboard competition.
New this year, Les Voiles will offer real-time race tracking with 2D visualization via the internet. Waypoint-Tracking (www.waypoint-tracking.com) developed the system in close collaboration with ISAF. The site will allow enthusiasts to follow the daily racing action live or to replay at a later time.
Many of the competing boats are moored stern-to at the Quai General de Gaulle, site of the Race Village, where all of the daily breakfast and post-race activities and music take place. This evening, skippers and tacticians were on hand for the Skippers Briefing led by Loic Ponceau, Race Committee Chairman, and organizers Francois Tolede, Luc Poupon, and Annelisa Gee. Following that was Les Voiles St. Barth Opening Ceremony, where Bruno Magras, President of the Collectivit of St. Barth, welcomed more than 500 sailors to the weeklong event.
A regular and enthusiastic competitor in the Caribbean, Sir Peter Harrison was named the godfather or patron of this years Les Voiles. Harrison, owner of the 115-foot Farr-designed Sojana, told the crowd, As a visitor from England to this beautiful French island, one of the most beautiful in the West Indies, Im thrilled to be asked to the patron of Les Voiles. Bon vent Les Voiles de St. Barth, and good luck, everyone!
Also sailing on Sojana is Lionel Pan, who is also back for his third Les Voiles. He said, Obviously there are plenty of good reasons to be here, and to come back every year with the same enthusiasm: this place is made for sailing. In a very short time, Les Voiles de St. Barth has become the place to be, very much like Saint Tropez in the Mediterranean. And the word is spreading around. Shortly there will be a waiting list to be a part of the event!
The weather forecast for the next few days calls for light winds, though the breeze is expected to increase throughout the week. Racing is scheduled to start tomorrow, Tuesday, April 3, two miles northwest of Sugarloaf Rock off Gustavia; one race is scheduled with a start time of 12noon.
One lone sailboat with a mix of curves and fluid lettering against hard concrete and sharp angles of the New York City skyline. Like the her sister automobiles she commands attention of the North Cove passerbys and probably more than one armchair sailor gazing down from the multitude of windows sitting just above her mast.
She looks hot on this chilly damp spring day. Having lost weight since her last big apple showing. A couple thousand pounds of weight says Brad Van Liew. Extra weight, needless weight, weight that did nothing but slow her down from her purpose. She was given a tuck before Giovanni Soldini, skipper and Italian sailing legend set out to break new records. Souped up and ready to rumble. She is souped up in her nether regions as well.
Maserati has been outfitted with a lighter and deeper keel to further reduce weight and give her team the best possible odds at breaking the ever harder to break monohull sailing records. Having already set the bar for the Cadiz-San Salvado record for future attempts she is now in New York awaiting a chance at the 24 hour record and the North Atlantic record from New York to Lizard off the United Kingdom.
Maserati will challege the north atlantic record between New York and Cape Lizard (UK) a route of 2925 nautical miles passing south of the Terranova Island.
The record that Maserati must break is currently held by Robert Miller who, back in 2003, sailed the route in 6 days, 17 hours, 52 minutes, 39 seconds on board of the monohull Mary Cha IV (with an average speed of 18,5 knots).
Giovanni Soldini and his team of truly seasoned veterans of the ocean racing circuit have a difficult but not unsurmountable task ahead of them. Catch the most favorable system and hope they can ride it across the atlantic at breakneck speeds, that would leave most with shaky knees and a queasy stomach, for a few thousand miles.
Now add the fact that you know you can’t slow down. This boat has to be pushed right up to her top end and held there. Hovering on the brink….. . All for the glory that is saying you are the one team that at that moment in time and forever to be known as the fastest, above all others on the earth. A heady endeavour.
Backing for this challenge is provided by Maserati, the main partner in the endeavour, which gives its name to the boat. It is flanked by the Swiss bank BSI (Generali Group), and by Generali, which are co-sponsors.
The maserati crew includes German Boris Herrmann (navigator), American Brad Van Liew (watch leader) and Spaniard David Vera (watch leader) and four Italians: Gabriele Olivo (trimmer), Guido Broggi (boat captain), Gerardo Siciliano (second bowman), and Corrado Rossignoli (first bowman).
Brad Van Liew is the first American to ever officially finish three races around the globe and the first person worldwide to win the race twice sweeping all legs of the event. Palmares: Third Place in the Around Alone Race in 1998-99, Winner in the Around Alone Race in 2002-03, Winner in the Velux 5 Oceans in 2010-11.
As a warm up the Maserati sailing team will set their sights on the 24 hour speed record. A record is currently held by the VOR 70 Ericsson 4 for monohulls. Between October 28 and October 29 2008, during the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, Brasilian sailor Torben Grael and a crew of ten people on board of Ericsson 4 sailed 596,6 miles in 24 hours at an average speed of 24,85 knots.
Giovanni Soldini and the Maserati team’s progress can be followed at Maserati Sailing.
This morning at 11.50 am GMT (7.50 am local time, 1.50 pm Italian time) Maserati reached the Ambrose light station in New York Bay, the destination point of the Miami – New York record attempt.
Giovanni and his team decided non to ratify the Miami – New York record with the World Sailing Speed Record Council, even if there still is not a time reference for monohulls. This is because of the adverse weather conditions (tropical storms, sudden high wind blasts, windless zones) that Maserati encountered during the route.
“We have decided not to ask for a ratification of the Miami – New York record attempt, even if a time reference for monohulls does not exist. Our result turned out to be below our expectations, and it does not match with the performance of a boat as fast as Maserati.
When we set sail for the record attempt we knew that the weather conditions were not ideal, but we did not expect them to be so adverse. With Maserati we can do much better than this. In the next days we will wait for the right moment to attempt the New York – Cape Lizard (UK) speed record and, weather permitting, we will try again the 24 hour speed record. It is going to be challenging but we can make it.”
Giovanni and his team on board of Maserati set sail from Miami on March 22 at 6, 28′, 16” pm GMT (2, 28′ 16” local time, 7, 28′ 16” pm Italian time).
International crew of decorated sailors join forces to set new pace for speed and performance on the Atlantic
Italian, German, Spanish and American sailors, largely known for their independent offshore sailing expeditions, have come together in a quest to set a new pace for speed on the water under sail. The impressive collection of globetrotting extreme sailors collectively have more than one million miles of experience offshore. Italian Giovanni Soldini leads the rogue crew of eight, including German Boris Hermann as Navigator, and American Brad Van Liew and Spaniard David Vera as Watch Leaders. They set out today from Miami, Florida aboard the VOR70 Maserati to establish the official monohull sailing record from Miami to New York City.
“The wind directions should offer us nice downwind sailing,” said Navigator Boris Hermann. “The conditions are not perfect, but we hope to play the local shifts, the Gulf Stream and other weather details on the route.”
American Brad Van Liew added, “We had a fantastic hospitality event hosted by Maserati North America this week and now the crew is fired up and anxious to get back to the mission at hand: beating and setting records. The boat and crew are ready to get back up to full speed.”
This ambitious race against time is one of several records that Giovanni Soldini and his international crew aboard Maserati will attempt in the months ahead.
24-Hour Record Attempt Aborted after Maserati Yacht Sustains Damage to Rudder
Giovanni Soldini and his team return to Charleston to make repairs
Last night, sailing toward Cape Hatteras, Maserati’s windward rudder was seriously damaged after hitting a chunk of wood in the Atlantic. The crew has returned to Charleston where Maserati’s rudder will be immediately replaced with a spare.
The boat set off yesterday at 1:30 a.m. local time for a 24-hour monohull record attempt. They were sailing offshore to place themselves in the perfect conditions of a cold front, which looked to be an excellent chance for high speeds. The record attempt has been postponed due to the rudder damage and missed opportunity to reach the best weather.
Giovanni Soldini, reached on the phone, explained: “It was night, we couldn’t see anything. We hit a chunk of wood with the windward rudder. Air bubbles formed along the side of the rudder: it doesn’t work any longer and suffers from cavitation. We are forced to return to Charleston as we have no possibility of attempting the record in this condition.”
The crew returned to the Seabreeze Marina in Charleston early this morning. A diver will inspect the hull and ensure there is no additional damage from the incident. The Maserati crew will analyze the weather once again to investigate another possible weather window for taking on this challenging record. This ambitious race against time is one of several records that Giovanni Soldini and his international crew aboard Maserati will attempt in the months ahead.
“We are all pretty disappointed,” said American crew member Brad Van Liew. “It is frustrating because the weather system looked like a good opportunity for the record and these ideal conditions don’t come along very often.”
The record attempt, monitored by the World Sailing Speed Record Council, is currently held by the VOR 70 Ericsson 4 for monohulls. Between October 28 and October 29 2008, during the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, Brazilian sailor Torben Grael and a crew of ten people on board of Ericsson 4 sailed 596.6 miles in 24 hours at an average speed of 24.85 knots.
The record attempt can be followed live on Giovanni Soldini and Maserati’s website (www.maserati.soldini.it). The site contains news, videos and photos of the crew life on board, and provides continuous monitoring of the marine weather conditions, as well as online tracking to check the position and speed of Maserati in real time.
It has been a busy 24 hours at the Antigua Yacht Club. At dawn on the fifth day of the RORC Caribbean 600, only three yachts were still at sea vying to complete the course before tonight’s Prizegiving celebrations and all of the class winners are now provisionally decided. The bar at the Antigua Yacht Club has been in full swing, buzzing with stories between the crews and songs in a myriad of different languages.
Team Selene skippered by Benjamin Davitt finished yesterday morning. The Swan 80 sailed an excellent race to claim third place overall and will lift the prestigious Swan Caribbean Challenge Trophy later this evening.
Without doubt, the closest racing for this year’s event was in IRC One. Colin Buffin’s Swan 62, Uxorious IV, was first to finish, but the team did not celebrate a class win. Buffin and his young team knew that Amanda Hartley’s Swan 56, Clem, was extremely close to eclipsing their corrected time. Just over three and half hours passed before Clem crossed the finish line to win the class by just 21 seconds on corrected time. There were ecstatic scenes dockside as the Spanish crew of Clem celebrated their class win. The entire crew of Uxorious IV including Colin Buffin sportingly applauded their rivals. Amanda Hartley spoke of their win.
“‘We had no idea until we crossed the line and turned on our phones which went crazy with people calling in from Spain. By our calculation we thought we had lost out by five minutes. We got stuck at Guadeloupe for four hours and we could only sit and watch Uxorious get away. We are obviously extremely delighted and really appreciate Colin and his team coming over to give us such a lovely welcome back to Antigua.”
Jaime Torres’ Puerto Rican First 40, Smile And Wave, finished shortly after midnight last night to claim third in IRC One.
Scarlet Logic, co-skippered by Ross Applebey and Tim Thubron, finished the RORC Caribbean 600 shortly after 2300 last night. The Oyster 48 has been vying for the overall win for the last two days. In the end Scarlet Logic missed out, but the team had put in an incredible effort and have been rewarded with a convincing win in IRC Two. Scarlet Logic has the best corrected time in IRC One, Two and Three and as a result will be awarded the fantastic prize of a week’s accommodation at the luxurious Inn at English Harbour.
“Fantastic, elated but bloody tired,” admitted Tim Thubron, co-skipper of Scarlet Logic. The weather lined up nicely for us and we were aware that we were in with a chance of beating the big, well funded professional teams and that really spurred us on and made us push even harder. A lot of credit must go to the whole team, especially Ross Applebey. Scarlet was immaculately prepared and we hardly had a single breakage, however we did need to drop the main to replace a sail slide. The job was done and the main back up in eight minutes, that to me says it all.”
There was joy and pain for both IRC Canting Keel and the Class40s. Ernesto Cortina’s Volvo 70 Gran Jotiti finished the race in just over two days. The Spanish team is racing the yacht formerly known as Telefonica Black in the last Volvo Ocean Race. Ernesto spoke about his team shortly after finishing. “This has been a great experience, even though our result was badly affected by a lot of sail damage. Many of the sails are tired from thousands of miles of racing. However, the crew have been a joy to sail with and this race is helping us build for the future. Gran Jotiti’s aim is to create a world class amateur Spanish offshore sailing team and we have learnt a lot through this race.
Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 50, Privateer, showed exceptional pace and boat handling throughout. Unfortunately the American team failed to start correctly and accepted a 10% penalty from the race organisers resulting in Gran Jotiti being declared winner of IRC Canting Keel.
The Class40s turned into a battle royale between Christophe Coatnoan’s Partouche and Christof Petter’s Vaquita. The two Class40s were locked in a heroic tacking duel for the final push to the finish line, a 40-mile beat from Redonda to the finish in Antigua.
Vaquita crossed the line just after sunset beating Partouche by a slender margin, just 15 minutes in a race lasting over 3 days. However, Vaquita failed to start the race correctly and to the Austrian crew’s disappointment, the class win was awarded to Partouche: “It was a tough race and we had a couple of moments that really slowed us down,” commented Christophe Coatnoan who raced two-handed with Eric Calmard. “We picked up a fishing float after Nevis without realising and we probably lost 8 miles before we knew it was there. Later at Guadeloupe, I had to dive into the water to free Partouche from yet another fishing buoy. The race was an excellent test for our new design especially for our sails as I think we used every one of them during the race.”
Vaquita’s Andreas Hanakamp commented: “Obviously we are disappointed to have been penalised but we were delighted with our performance. Partouche is a brand new Finot design, whilst Vaquita is a 2006 Akilaria. The RORC Caribbean 600 is a testing race course and a very tough race, exactly what we needed to prepare for our main competition of the season, The Atlantic Cup later this year.”
The latest competitor to finish the RORC Caribbean 600 is Bernie Evan-Wong’s Mumm 36, High Tension. Falmouth Harbour exploded with noise as the smallest yacht in the race tied up right outside the Antigua Yacht Club. Thunderous blasts from megayachts, superyachts and foghorns literally shook the dock as the whole of the sailing community in Falmouth heralded the arrival of local hero Bernie and his crew.
“I said we would be here tonight but I always like to be early for appointments,” joked the Antiguan dentist. “It was a hard but satisfying race and the beat from Redonda to the finish seemed to take forever. We could see Antigua but it just didn’t seem to be getting any bigger, however a few miles out a massive rain squall hit and veered the wind favourably for us to speed our way to Antigua. After last year’s dismasting, I think maybe someone was looking out for us!”
Tonight the RORC Caribbean 600 Prizegiving Ceremony will take place at the Antigua Yacht Club. The two yachts still racing are Igor Zaretskiy’s, First 40.7 Coyote II and the RACYC Offshore Racing Team – White Knight’s Spirit of Venus. Both are expected to make tonight’s party, which should be a momentous occasion.