- the boat
- the worldtour
We have arrived at La Ciotat, close to the port of Marseille where the new crew took over in May.
Etienne replaced Jens as sailor, Cyril took on the duties as engineer instead of Christian, Thomas, who was already there during the world tour, became my second and Nikita took care of the household chores.
We left for Barcelona, our first official stopover. We were mooring not far away from the Christopher Colombus monument and the aquarium. This place already highly visited by tourists gained in attraction due to the strange aspect of our ship.
We met the Swiss consul, the embassy staff, the mayor of Barcelona and a lot of journalists. We were always asked the same questions «what if there is no sun ?», «what is the autonomy », etc. We were glad to answer the questions of everyone all summer long.
The success of the first world tour with solar energy was giving the ship an aura of discovery and innovation. Today, there is nothing left to discover, research is more focused on the exploitation of our natural resources, their limits and our potential to change the current situation.
We stayed for 10 days in the Catalan capital, birth place of great navigators such as Vasco de Gama and Christopher Colombus.
We then headed toward the Balearic Islands, we were invited in the Port Adriano Marina, which was recently designed by Philip Stark. Once again, the media were there and the vice president of the Balearic Islands gave us a warm welcome. This stopover was really a great experience as ImmoSolar, our official partner, had invited all of its clients to come see the largest solar ship in the world. It was a week full of joy but a learning experience as well. Indeed, all the visits were made one by one in German by Cyril, in Spanish by Etienne and in English by Thomas, Nikita and myself.
There was a technical incident last week, the motherboard, without which our electronic network cannot work, stop working. We were forced to wait a whole week to get a replacement. Then Cyril was able to solve the problem with the help of the system engineers.
After making sure that everything worked fine again, we resumed our navigation toward Sardinia. This navigation was a little longer than the previous one, it took us 4 days to get there. I decided to leave in the evening at sunset, in order to avoid the Mediterranean thermal wind and to sail a calm sea. The sky is absolutely wonderful, and we all enjoyed this sight as we hold watch on the bridge two by two. The South of Sardinia is just ahead of us. In Cagliari, a new programme is waiting for us. Press conferences, visits of local VIPs, guided tours are planned. We are always getting a warm and friendly welcome, the Sardinians are no different and welcome us like great navigators. We will remember in particular Giorgio Obisso, the Sifredi family and many others. The photography competition organised on Facebook is a success, there was great interest and amateurs like professionals really performed well.
Next stop, Malta. The navigation is even longer than the others. It is a pleasure for the whole crew, we are at sea and close to the marine life which enjoys our silent and eco-friendly propelling system.
It is in La Valette that we discover the harbour worthy of great sea adventures. Once again, the welcome is unbelievable and very enthusiastic. The Tranter and Cachia families were always available and perfect hosts. Many VIPs visited PlanetSolar during this stopover. Ministers, deputies from the island were very pleased with the guided tour of the first solar vehicle to have travelled around the world.
5 days later, we sail off to get back to the continent. We are taking the same route as the one followed by the crew during the world tour three months ago.
We are heading back to Sardinia in the city of Carloforte, which lies in the South Western part of Sardinia on the Island of San Pietro. Curious coincidence, a cave dating from 3000 years B.C. is discovered the same day of our arrival. We receive a wonderful present, a model of the ship Vela Latina and the mayor himself gave it to us. After a week in Carloforte, her heads full of memories, Nikita is leaving us and head back to France taking the ferry boat. Her summer contract ends, it was great to have her on board during this summer.
We leave early for another island, the island of beauty, Corsica. The bay of Porto Vecchio opens her arms for us. we will stay there for 4 days waiting for the mistral to pass. A quiet stopover, no visit scheduled. A few old friends, sailors, tourists and locals come to meet us. We are able to get some rest.
Departing the bay of Porto Vecchio for the Principality of Monaco. It is there that the world tour started in September 2010, and there as well that it ended in May 2012. We are mooring in Port Hercule, as the wind is quite strong, we have the ship under constant surveillance.
After a few visits from the diving club, the yacht club and some friends, we decide to go see the Oceanographic Museum.
After this short stopover, we head for the port of La Ciotat in order to do some maintenance work which will get the ship ready for 2013.
Thank you all!
Eric Dumont, Captain of of the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar