Itinerary subject to change
Itinerary subject to change
Considering the enthusiasm that the boat generates at each port of call, PlanetSolar will pursue her awareness-raising campaign on the efficiency and potential of photovoltaic energy and will go to meet the general public.
The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar will begin her 2014 voyage by calling at Boulogne-sur-Mer (France). The solar boat will be open to the public during the 23rd Festival des Images de Mer [Festival of the Sea Images], organised by the National Sea Centre (NAUSICAA). She will then continue on her way, heading toward the Mediterranean Sea stopping at Attalayoun (Morocco) at the heart of the Marchica Lagoon. The local authorities look upon the boat’s arrival in this region as a means of encouraging the use of renewable energy as part of a substantial revitalisation project of the area. The catamaran will then head for the Principality of Monaco where she will host new events as part of the “2014 Solar1 Monte Carlo Cup”, the first solar boat race organised in Monaco.
In August, the vessel will resume her role as a scientific platform for the University of Geneva with the expedition TerraSubmersa.
Exploring submerged prehistoric landscapes
In August, the vessel plans to resume her role as a scientific platform for the University of Geneva with the Expedition TerraSubmersa. This new expedition is the result of a close collaboration between the Laténium in Neuchâtel (Switzerland), the Greek Department of Underwater Antiquities, the Swiss School of Archaeology in Greece, and the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research. It aims to explore the prehistoric landscapes submerged in the Argolic Gulf in Greece, in an attempt to reconstitute them and perhaps to find traces of human activity. . The catamaran’s spacious rear deck and complete stand-alone energy system, including her shallow draft, will effectively make her an ideal working base for the scientists involved in the expedition.
At the end of the last ice age, around 20,000 years ago, sea level was considerably lower than it is today. By studying these submerged prehis- toric landscapes, archaeologists can reconstitute the environments that have disappeared under water and comprehend the interactions between prehistoric man and the sea. These studies, which are likely to become one of the major archaeological challenges of the 21st century, will enable to identify the mechanisms of population settlement in coastal areas.
In addition to these research activities, the vessel will call at Eretria, Athens and Nafplio in Greece. This will be an opportunity to introduce both the archaeologists’ work and expedition’s challenges to the public, while illustrating the many uses of the solar vessel.
The project is conducted by Julien Beck, senior lecturer at the Departement of ancient sciences of the University of Geneva.
For more info regarding this expedition: www.unige.ch/terrasubmersa/en/
This expedition is in collaboration with:
The Corinth Canal may be less well-known than its big brothers, Suez and Panama, and shorter too (it is only 6 km long), but passing through it on PlanetSolar will always be an intense memory. Despite knowing what was in store, I can assure you that the four or five metres that separated us from the cliff seemed very small indeed from the solar bridge! Although it was an imposing sight for the crew, the 70 or so minutes it took us to pass through the canal weren’t the most relaxing of our voyage!
And tonight, when we saw some of the photos that have already been posted on the internet, we were full of envy for the spectators who watched us pass along the bottom of this breathtakingly steep cutting from the top of a bridge.
We are now on our way to Eretria, which will be our first official stop on the TerraSubmersa scientific expedition led by the University of Geneva. Here we will celebrate the fifty archaeological excavations being carried out in Eretria by the Swiss School of Archaeology. Afterwards we will sail to Athens and Nafplio and then on to Kilhada, where the boat will be converted into a scientific platform as it begins to study the submerged prehistoric landscapes from 11 August onwards.
Crossing the Mediterranean during the summer, from Corsica to Greece, while hoping the sea doesn’t pitch one of its famous fits, is an experience that cannot be missed. It is best aboard a motorboat rather than a sailboat, and TPS is the perfect ship: no noise, no vibrations...
A slow passage in front of these mythical white cliffs, and thanks to the dinghy, we entered the the cave of Sdragonato; I did not dare try to fit TPS into it!
As for the town that sits on the cliff, no matter how many times you see it, it always looks just as improbable and splendid.
Instead of navigating through the main channel of the Strait of Bonifacio, we pass through the channels north of Sardinia, the steepness of which allows us to navigate right up close to the impressive cliffs.
On the Porto Cervo side, we see a parade of the most luxurious yachts in the world...
We arrive at Lipari, the main town on the island and on the eponymous archipelago. As we prepare to drop anchor in the little space available (the depth is breathtakingly steep), we see numerous, overburdened vessels detach from the coast and come towards us. I can’t help but be reminded of the Indian canoes coming to meet Captain Cook’s Resolution in a Polynesian bay. Disembarking, cannon fire, firecrackers and fireworks. What a welcome, far beyond our expectations! But no, we are surrounded, and then passed by; it turns out to be a religious celebration. The person we ask about this does not seem to remember what exactly the occasion is, since there are so many…
Under the volcano, at dawn. The valve opens regularly to release pressure but the monster is calm, and at its feet, the little town of Stromboli which mainly lives from a “VIP tourism”, seems prosperous. Still, the cracks on the walls of the church show that this area can be a bit precarious...
We encounter strange boats in the strait of Messina. Take a hull that is a dozen metres long, place the mast in the centre, a pylon that is 25 metres high, with a basket on top. Stick a walkway of about thirty metres long in front, and secure it all with a spiderweb of shrouds and stays, and now you are ready to fish swordfish. The pilot and two lookouts sit in the basket, from which commands come down to the harpooner who sits far ahead, at the end of the walkway.
Traditionally, these were rowboats. Even if powerful motors have replaced the rowing crew, it is still a very selective kind of fishing, and the harpooner chooses only good adult catches. How long will this form of fishing resist competition from fishing boats with nets, which is both intense and often illegal?
On my bunk, in the darkness of my windowless cabin.
I woke up, feeling something abnormal. For the first time since I am on board, I no longer feel any small movement, or any noise apart from the fan: no squeaking, which is an odd feeling aboard a boat, especially a carbon boat like this one, where the slightest wave that touches the central nacelle can be heard all throughout the ship. But I know that TPS is advancing, probably rather quickly...
I feel like I am on a spaceship, hurtling through space…
It is too unreal, I go outside. Outside there is only white calm, I search the horizon, a hot, downy mist blocks it out, and only the wrinkles in the water around the floats suggest that we are on a disk, and not inside a sphere.
For three days, from July 10th to 12th inclusive, Monaco has been devoted to the solar boat races organised by Solar1, during which TPS served as the press and VIP boat. The sight of these firefly-like vessels gliding along without sound or turbulence was truly spectacular. TPS looked like a mother hen surrounded by her chicks. In the evening, TPS carefully backed up and docked at the magnificent, newly inaugurated Monaco Yacht Club, a building shaped like a giant motor yacht. On Sunday, July 13th all the grand yachts present sounded their sirens to send us off, making our departure quite emotional. Upon entering the basin, we made a 360 degree turn for our own farewell salute.
On July 15th, at 9 AM, TPS crossed through the stunning Passe des Sanguinaires, which marks the Northern entrance to the Bay of Ajaccio. The sun was still low in the horizon, which resulted in a perfect, magical light. We had left our mooring at the Bay of Menton just 21 hours earlier, enjoying a quick and comfortable crossing with sunny, calm seas. The Mediterranean at its best.
A few moments later, we passed in front of Myrte, an experimental installation with its field of solar panels. Here, the question of storing electricity is cleverly resolved thanks to the production of hydrogen, which may be a future solution for using this free, abundant, but unfortunately intermittent source of energy.
Our next stop is Corinth, in Greece, but since we have plenty of time to reach it, we decided to make a stop in the bay of Ajaccio. Our plans to moor discreetly, however, had not taken into account Corsican hospitality, and in fact the mayor’s office made amazing arrangements for this totally spontaneous stop, with an invitation to moor at the main wharf and to partake in the fantastic buffet they had set up there.
A sailor’s life sure is hard, isn’t it?
After a sunny, nearly 20-day stay in the Marchica lagoon (Morocco), the ship enjoyed a wonderful journey towards Monaco, where it dropped anchor at Port Hercules in the afternoon on July 6th. Upon returning to the very place that witnessed the first solar-powered journey around the world, the catamaran will be present as the guest of honour at the “Solar1 Monte Carlo Cup 2014”, the first solar boat race organised within the Principality of Monaco. From July 6th to July 12th the boat will host events, and will become the official vessel of the members of the jury during the race, which will take place from July 10th to 12th. The ship will set sail on July 13th to continue its Mediterranean journey towards Greece, where it will embark upon the University of Geneva’s TerraSubmersa scientific expedition.
After 12 days at sea, the solar-powered boat reached its destination. Strong winds forced the captain to take shelter in the Balearic Islands, which gave the catamaran the chance to enjoy some of the archipelago’s most beautiful scenery.
The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar dropped anchor at the Hirondelle dock of Port Hercules (Monaco) yesterday, on the occasion of the Solar1 Monte Carlo Cup 2014, the first solar boat race organised by the Principality, which will take place from July 10th to 12th. A strong symbol of the efficiency of photovoltaic energy, the largest solar-powered ship in the world will offer its unique characteristics to the competition’s organisers, serving both as an event platform, as well as to welcome the race’s jury panel.
The catamaran will then continue upon its Mediterranean journey towards Greece. Once in the Hellenic Republic’s waters, the ship will once again become a scientific platform for the University of Geneva, enabling the study of submerged prehistoric landscapes as part of the “TerraSubmersa” expedition.
After our rapid crossing and the passage through the Strait of Gibraltar, on June 6 we reached our destination or, more accurately, we ended up a few nautical miles away opposite the port of Nador, where we anchored in the bay. It was out of the question to arrive in the Marchica lagoon too early as there was an official welcome waiting for us there exactly a day later at noon.
After eleven days at sea it was a little frustrating having to be satisfied with looking at the towns of Nador and Melilla from afar. As the conversation turned to all the restaurants we were missing out on, a Zodiac from the Moroccan Royal Navy, headed by a dynamic crew, came to deliver a gargantuan couscous (the traditional Friday dish) by way of welcome.
So it was at the scheduled time on June 7 that we entered the artificial channel that gives access to the huge stretch of water that is Marchica. It is a sort of inland sea that stretches over more than twenty kilometres and which, before the war when Morocco was still Spanish, served as a base for seaplanes. In fact, you can still see the control tower there undergoing restoration.
The lagoon, which had become a kind of unauthorised rubbish tip, has formed part of a gigantic clean-up plan since 2010 that involves the local population. Today, more than 19,000 hectares of the inland sea have been dedicated to an ambitious but environmentally-friendly project for developing tourism. The scheme includes protected wildlife areas where sustainable energy – and solar power in particular – are due to play a central role.
TPS docked majestically at the pontoons of the Atalayoun marina to the applause of the crowd, music and our first steps on dry land. And, of course, there was the traditional glass of milk and dates. A 100-metre long carpet led us to a large tent specially erected for the occasion, where nearly 300 people were waiting for us.
However, before lunch (which promised to more than match our expectations), it was time for the speeches, which were delivered in something of a formal atmosphere. One official after another took to the platform, before I had the pleasure to draw the proceedings to a close. Just as I started to speak, I saw a few members of the TPS crew sniggering as they sat at a nearby table. Soon, the guests only had eyes for my feet: I had left the boat pretty quickly and still had my slippers on!
On June 13 Brieuc, our ship’s mate, received a visit from the admiral in command of the Moroccan Royal Navy together with senior members of his staff. This included the national anthem, a tour of TPS and lunch served on board by an expert team. It was also an opportunity to compare the PlanetSolar caps that we give our guests with the navy’s. And it’s a comparison that does not work in our favour.
The sun shines for more than 3,000 hours a year here, a real treat for TPS which gorged herself, and there is no shortage of solar projects. We toured the magnificent building for the future Two-Seas Harbour Master’s Office that will command the entrance to the lagoon. PlanetSolar SA is responsible for undertaking the study for the energy requirements and supplying the entire building with solar energy, with a field of panels positioned nearby. And Augustin then set out to “solarise” a buggy from the nearby golf academy as a way of keeping themselves busy during the lengthy stopover. It was a fine little contraption that we gave our hosts as thanks for their warm welcome
It is with sadness that we leave Morocco today and head out to sea again. By the time you read this blog, we will be on our way to Monaco for new adventures in an entirely different atmosphere.
Having departed from Boulogne-sur-Mer (France) on May 25, the solar vessel arrived yesterday afternoon in Atalayoun, in the Marchica lagoon (Morocco). The ship’s arrival to this location shows the Moroccan authorities’ desire to promote the use of renewable energies within the framework of a comprehensive development plan for the Marchica lagoon. Over the course of a week, the catamaran will serve as the central hub for events meant to showcase the progress of this large project. The stopover will also be an opportunity for PlanetSolar to announce her partnership with the agency in charge of the site’s development - MarchicaMed. In fact, PlanetSolar will manage a pilot project that aims to power the Marchica harbor master’s office completely autonomously and without CO2 emissions. Moreover, MarchicaMed is interested in PlanetSolar’s experience and expertise, as they would like to use a fleet of electro-solar boats for lagoon transportation.
After 13 days of sailing, the world’s largest solar boat dropped anchor on June 6 in Atalayoun, at the heart of the Marchica lagoon. “The first days at sea were rather difficult, with headwinds in high maritime traffic areas such as the English Channel. Fortunately, the weather conditions gradually improved, enabling us to reach speeds of up to 10 knots. We are honored by this invitation and are delighted to participate in the celebration of this beautiful lagoon,” says Gérard d’Aboville, captain of the ship.
The catamaran’s stopover in this area is part of an ambitious development plan of the Marchica lagoon site, started in 2008. The project aims to galvanize the region while protecting and highlighting the lagoon’s natural resources and promoting renewable energies. The ship is therefore coming to pass along her positive message about the efficiency of photovoltaic energy and its many applications.
The catamaran will stop in the Kingdom of Morocco for about two weeks. Then she will sail towards Monaco to participate in the “Solar1 Monte Carlo Cup” solar boat race, as jury host. The ship will then dash off to Greek waters, and again become a scientific platform for the University of Geneva, this time to study submerged prehistoric landscapes during the “TerraSubmersa” expedition.
A week of celebrations for the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar
While docked at the Atalayoun North Marina, activities will be organized on and around the ship from June 7-14. Stands will present the Marchica lagoon development plan in detail as well as the work carried out to complete the decontamination. For the younger ones, a workshop for building a model of a small solar boat will be offered. In parallel, the boat will be open to the public, raising awareness about issues regarding the use of renewable energies.
- Hello, Vincent?
- Is that you, Gérard? So, any news?
- Yes, we’ll be setting out again in April for four or five months. Are you in?
- Why not... Is Brieuc still the first mate?
- Absolutely, I just spoke to him.
- And who else?
- Antoine is the electrical engineer, and that’s it for now.
- Well, you can count on me.
- Aren’t you going to ask me the schedule?
- Fire away...
- I can’t give you the details yet, but we will start out with a trip to Boulogne sur Mer, then we will pass through Morocco—the northern part of the country this time, then a few days in Monaco for press and to be on the judging panel during the solar boat races, and most likely a mission for the University of Geneva in Greece, with the department of ancient sciences this time. Take a look at the PlanetSolar blog for more.
- Not bad, I was right to accept!
That was in January, and PlanetSolar was in dry dock in Concarneau for winter maintenance work—strengthening bows, inspecting valves and thru-hull fittings, repainting underwater portions of the boat—before heading back to the Cité de la Voile -Éric Tabarly in Lorient, where the catamaran spent the winter next to Tara, and old acquaintance. Not easy when depressions were rolling in on end, one after another. So many that Brittany was victim to storms and floods, to imagine a cruise in the sun... And then eventually, the days slowly started to get longer, and the sun made some timid appearances. PlanetSolar came back to life, her panels increasingly charged from day to day. The list of winter maintenance work got smaller, and summer plans started taking shape...
Having left Lorient on April 10, PlanetSolar made her entrance in Boulogne-sur-Mer on April 13, not without bringing a few VIPS aboard in the harbor, including Frédéric Cuvillier, City Mayor and Minister of the Sea. We stayed here for over a month, and this first stopover of the 2014 season was a highlight— PlanetSolar being the guest star of the Festival of Sea Images organized by the National Sea Center Nausicaa.
As usual, the stopover has been an opportunity to receive hundreds of visitors onboard, notably schoolchildren and high school students, allowing PlanetSolar to play her role as ambassador of solar energy once again.
Brieuc, a thrill enthusiast, dove with the Nausicaa sharks. Antoine, who accompanied him and took pictures in anticipation of an exclusive scoop, was disappointed; the sharks placidly welcomed the intruder, as they already had their breakfast.
Bernard Abeille, who makes whales sing using the sound of his double bass, unless it is the whales that make his double bass sing, came to serenade us onboard. He was accompanied by Claire Flipo, who plays the didgerido. The instruments were placed on the carbon floor, and the hull created a soundbox. It was a great time!
Augustin came to give the crew a hand. A young and energetic student, he is relying on Antoine to teach him the intricacies of PlanetSolar. He is also learning to be a seaman, but as an intern, a perfect mastery of the coffee machine is one of his first missions.
And then on May 25 at 9:30, we cast off and PlanetSolar headed toward Atalayoun, near Nador, on the northern coast of Morocco. Are you wondering what we will do there? Don’t expect me to tell you today, avid readers. I must keep something for my next posts!
Moored since 13 April at Boulogne-sur-Mer (France), the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar has generated great enthusiasm! The vessel’s solar deck saw a constant stream of Boulogne residents who came in very large numbers for a visit! Local authorities, the media, school students, the public... it is the excitement around the solar catamaran which she finds pleasant.
The events organized around this first port of call for 2014 were numerous and varied. A retrospective is a must!
Just as the boat entered the Boulonnais waters, Mr Frederic Cuvillier, Secretary of State for Transport, the Sea and Fishing (France) personally came to welcome the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar and her crew. The boat was then moored just behind the charming tourist boat “La Florelle”, at the Bombard pontoon of the Quai Gambetta, her home for the next few weeks.
On Tuesday 15 April, the official opening of the festivities by a press conference aboard was followed at 7PM by a presentation of PlanetSolar by Antoine Simon (engineer-electrician). As part of an evening whose theme was the future energy sources, the sailor shared his experience aboard the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar with a keen audience.
The next few days became a place for school visits. Aged between 10 and 18, the young audience came to explore the bowels of the catamaran and the reactions - all ages - were the same: astonishment and admiration. On the side-lines of the tours, workshops for building small solar boats were made by the youngest and their works, exhibited at the CCI (Chamber of Industry and Commerce) Côte d'Opale, were full of creativity.
On Thursday 17 April, the Festival des Images de Mer (Festival of Sea Images), organized by NAUSICAA, began. Film projections dedicated to the marine world were part of the schedule until 21 April. Let’s highlight the distribution of Operation Solar, a documentary retracing the scientific expedition along the Gulf Stream led in 2013 by the University of Geneva aboard the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar.
Big surprise, an impromptu concert with a double bass player was organized aboard within the space of an evening. The musician combined the sound of his bass with the underwater images, recalling the whale song to the delight of our crew’s ears. We had told you that the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar was multifunctional!
Over the last few days the public visits were strung together and available time slot very quickly displayed the “Full” sign! The entire crew was at hand to guide visitors through the solar boat. On Saturday 26 April, the catamaran closed its doors, tired but happy with the enthusiasm it generated for the public, the media, local authorities as well as the seagulls, her new and noisy roommates in recent weeks.
In 13 days, approximately 800 school students, 900 visitors crowded on to the vessel’s carbon hull... a resounding success which was made possible by the partners of this port of call who we would like to warmly thank! We would also like to specially thank NAUSICAA, Daniel Kern and the CCI Côte d’Opale for their collaboration.
For now, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar will remain moored at the Quai Gambetta until mid-May, this time, to undergo some works. After that, she will depart to conquer the sea on her way to the next sun drenched port of call, in Morocco.
The largest solar boat in the world sailed from Lorient on 10 April and arrived today in Boulogne-sur-Mer, her first port of call in the 2014 campaign. Invited as the guest of honour at the 23rd Festival des Images de Mer (Festival of Sea Images), the vessel will remain moored at the Gambetta dock until 28 April. In collaboration with the Nausicaä Centre National de la Mer (National Aquarium Centre,) numerous events aboard and around the vessel will give PlanetSolar the opportunity to promote photovoltaic energy and raise public awareness on energy issues. This first port of call will also be the opportunity to introduce the 2014 campaign programme.
After more than six months in Lorient (France), the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar sailed to Boulogne-sur-Mer, the first stop in her 2014 campaign, on the evening of 13 April. The navigation of the first 420 nautical miles of the 2014 campaign, the distance between the two French cities, was smooth. The vessel benefited from good weather conditions allowing her to cross the tricky passage of the Channel without any major difficulties. After a few days at sea, the captain, Gérard d’Aboville, dropped anchor at Gambetta Dock, at the centre of the town Nord-pas-de-Calaisienne, “The weather conditions were favourable. The wind and the current were on our side and the sunshine was enough to let us reach Boulogne-sur-Mer in a timely manner. The crew and I are delighted to be back on board the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar and we are happy with our new itinerary!” he declared.
To organise the arrival of the world’s largest solar boat in Boulogne-sur-Mer, PlanetSolar was able to count on support from Nausicaa, the Centre National de la Mer. Managing Director, Philippe Vallette also enthused, “PlanetSolar has given us a new way to sail, understand the sea and the oceans and to involve each scientific, economic, political or social actor. This vision, carried by NAUSICAA, is that of the Blue Society. We are very excited to welcome the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar to Boulogne-sur-Mer for the official kick-off of her new campaign.”
Boulogne-sur-Mer, a port of call repletes with events around the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar
The solar vessel’s stopover will revolve around several events taking place from 15 to 28 April. In particular, she will be the guest of honour at the 23rd Festival de Mer (17-21 April 2014), hosted by Nausicaa. Visits for schools and the general public, conferences and the broadcast of “Operation Solar”, the documentary tracing the scientific expedition along the Gulf Stream realized in 2013, are part of the programme.
The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar will pursue her itinerary on the Mediterranean Sea.
After these 10 days of festivities, the catamaran will then continue her journey toward the Mediterranean Sea. She will stop at Attalayoun (Morocco), at the heart of the Marchica Lagoon. The local authorities look upon the boat’s arrival in this region as a way of encouraging the use of renewable energy as part of an ambitious revitalisation project of the area. The catamaran will then head for the Principality of Monaco where she will host new events as part of the “2014 Solar1 Monte Carlo Cup”, the first solar boat race organised in Monaco.
It is expected that the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar will then head toward Greece where it will be scheduled, in collaboration with the University of Geneva, to resume her role as a scientific platform for the purpose of studying submerged prehistoric landscapes.
After more than six months of hibernation in Lorient, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar sets sail today for Boulogne-sur-Mer, the starting point of her 2014 campaign. Happy to depart on new adventures, the 2013 crew is on board again for this new season. Gérard d’Aboville is again at the helm of the solar boat with Brieuc Delbot as first mate, Antoine Simon, electrician-engineer, and Vincent Brunet, cook and steward.
An attractive programme for 2014 has been concocted for the Swiss vessel. The first port of call for the world’s largest solar boat will be Boulogne-sur-Mer where she will be the guest of honour at the 23rd Festival des Images de Mer (Festival of Sea Images) from 17 to 21 April.
The voyage to the capital of the Côte d’Opale should last three or four days depending on the still uncertain weather conditions at this time of the year. Arrival is scheduled for 14 April. Over a two week period, until 28 April, numerous activities will be organised for the general public and students (conferences, boat visits, screenings, round tables) all anchored by the common theme of Blue energy.
The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar will then head south toward the Mediterranean Sea where other thrilling ports of call such as Attalayoun,, Monaco, and Athens await her!
Ah yes, soon you will be able to explore our new website!!! So that you can continue to follow us without missing a morsel of our new adventures. Stay tuned!!