Breguet Embarks on a New Odyssey with Race for Water

Breguet and the Race for Water Foundation announce their partnership at Baselworld 2018 with a special exhibition opening on Saturday March 24th on the Swatch Group Plaza in the presence of Marc A. Hayek, President of Montres Breguet, and Marco Simeoni, President of the Race for Water Foundation. Breguet is joining forces with Race for Water to support the Odyssey 2017-2021 and its crucial mission for the oceans.

 

The Race for Water Foundation, committed to the conservation of the oceans against plastic pollution, is contributing to the advancement of scientific knowledge, raising awareness among the general public and decision-makers, and taking concrete action in the implementation of local solutions with a lasting economic, environmental and social impact. Advance scientific research on marine ecological balance has been carried out by the Race for Water Foundation, which now teams up with Breguet to raise awareness of ocean preservation and plastic pollution. A pioneering vessel embarks on a journey with the goal of promoting innovative solutions capable of transforming plastic waste into energy resources, and accelerating clean energy transition.  The Race for Water Odyssey will make around 35 stopovers all around the world and provide an opportunity for scientists and decision-makers to gather and share their learnings on the need to preserve water, humanity’s most precious resource. Breguet is committed to supporting this new Odyssey through its completion in 2021.

“We are proud and pleased to be able to support Race for Water, a Swiss project making a significant international contribution into the marine research and demonstrating that concrete solutions exists for the preservation of the ocean worldwide,” – says Marc A. Hayek.  “In the early 19th century, timekeeping played a pivotal role in maritime navigation. We are continuing that tradition by supporting an Odyssey of vital importance for our common future.”

“We are proud to have Breguet as our main partner in this unique expedition. This new Odyssey aims at giving hope to the world showing that solutions exist against plastic pollution”, explains Marco Simeoni, President of the Race for Water Foundation. “Education is key and that’s why we’re focusing on the young generation. However, we’re also showing the decision-makers that we meet at every stopover, that innovation and new business models can offer lasting economic, ecological and social benefits. By giving value to plastic waste, we will get into a virtuous cycle where we will achieve a positive result. In addition, we’re travelling aboard a boat that operates using renewable energy and is propelled by a solar-hydrogen-kite mix, proving that a 100-tonne vessel can circumnavigate the globe without depending on fossil fuels. Energy transition is already a reality!”

A special exhibition launching at Baselworld 2018 will travel to various destinations to further contribute in raising awareness for this mission.

A Breguet Marine “Race for Water” Special Edition watch to travel on the wrists of the explorers

Breguet has made an indelible mark in history by equipping sea going vessels with accurate chronometers that were set in the heart of the vessels and served to calculate longitude at sea.

Breguet demonstrates its exceptional mastery of time measurement through its contemporary Marine collection. In celebration of the partnership with Race for Water, Breguet creates a special edition of its Marine 5517 timepiece. It is set in a light titanium case with a custom blue dial that features the Race for Water vessel in a clous de Paris motif.  The Breguet Marine Special Edition will embark on an oceanic tour traveling in its natural environment on the wrists of Race for Water explorers and accompanying them in their mission.

Sea exploration has been inspiring Breguet since the watchmaker was appointed the official chronometer-maker to the French Royal Navy in 1815. The king bestowed upon Breguet’s founder the most prestigious title in recognition of his mastery, and that led to extraordinary inventions at the service of the fascinating world of marine navigation. The contemporary Marine collection resonates with history while being designed for the modern world.  With its creations built to last for generations, it only makes sense for Breguet to commit to a long-term initiative at the forefront of modern oceanic scientific research.

About Breguet : Breguet, established since 1775, embodies watchmaking excellence and forms part of the European cultural heritage, brimming with history and emotions. Its creations have been owned by the world’s most prominent individuals. Breguet’s famed archives record every watch sold since 1787. The timepieces emerging from the Manufacture Breguet are works of art rendered unique by artisans’ hand, and endowed with genuine soul. From the start, Breguet has woven close ties with science and astronomy.  Breguet takes pride in offering exceptional models, such as the Marine équation Marchante 5887, a Grande Complication model that marks the start of a new era for the contemporary Marine collection. www.breguet.com

Meeting with Gunter PAULI,  the founder of The Blue Economy concept

In early 2018, the Race for Water Foundation began a collaboration on an international scale with the ZERI Foundation (Research and Initiatives for Zero Pollution) and its founder Professor Gunter Pauli, father of The Blue Economy.

Marco Simeoni: “Through his Foundation, Gunter Pauli is keen to make the iconic Easter Island self-sufficient in energy. The Race for Water Foundation is joining this project with a view to contributing to the waste recovery aspect. We’re absolutely delighted with this collaboration, which we hope will inspire other similar projects to be created on remote islands.”


Interview with Mr Gunter PAULI:

You’re a trained economist; how did you become interested in ecology?
I was the owner of a factory manufacturing detergents. I noticed that what formed the basis of my company was the use of palm oil, which was destroying forests as well as the habitat of orang-utans. I wondered how I could be a green entrepreneur whilst destroying the ecosystem in the tropical rainforest. That’s really what turned things around for me. I sold my company and created the ZERI Foundation (Research and Initiatives for Zero Pollution).

Could you explain to us what The Blue Economy is exactly?
The Blue Economy is fairly elementary. We use what is available locally with the aim of creating profit. Above all, we’re keen to satisfy the needs of the local population. We’re not about focusing on cheaper production to conquer the global market. We simply want to create an increase in a thing’s value. Once we’re into this set-up, we’re more competitive and we generate more assets for local consumers and clients.

To my mind, nature teaches us that we need to look for solutions where the latter has been proving that it works for millions and millions of years.

The only Being on earth capable of producing waste is Man. The idea is that other human beings never produce waste because everything that is produced is always transformed into an energy, a nutrient or a material for someone else.

You simply have to adhere by the wisdom of the ecosystems, which supply energy and food, recycle waste, satisfy the needs of everyone and are constantly regenerating. You have to implement new intelligent solutions, adapted to each local situation by designing production cycles inspired by how nature works, where there is never any waste and where everything is recycled in a harmonious process.

You’ve set up an experiment on the island of EL HIERRO in the Canaries; can you tell us about it?
The population of this island believed that within the next 20 to 30 years, no one would live there any more, that the entire population would leave for Barcelona, Valencia or Madrid. At that point, the bulk of the inhabitants rallied together to take up the challenge of remaining on site, even to the extent of getting their children to come back.

From then on, everything was devised to set up different activities like fishing, goat breeding, agriculture, vineyards, abattoirs, energy, water and waste treatment and so on.

Today, EL HIERRO has become a reference island in Spain. There is a higher density of fish than elsewhere in Spain; the price per litre of goat’s milk is 2.65 euros; the wine production amounts to 180,000 litres, which isn’t massive, but it’s produced locally. We’ve managed to generate profit and maintain cash flow that continues to circulate locally, which is very important economically as this has a multiplier effect.

You plan to adopt a similar approach in making Easter Island self-sufficient in energy?

Indeed I do. When you manage to turn an island around that had no future, it gets you thinking about how other islands could follow this example.
At the time of the El HIERRO project, we knew nothing about hydrogen and had no idea about the integration of an energy produced from transforming plastic, so now seems to us to be the right time to change the Easter Island model.
In South America, everyone knows that the Rapa Nui are experiencing a genuine ecological disaster.
We’re joining forces with Race for Water because with our respective experiences, we’re going to be able to focus on solutions and finding a portfolio of opportunity!

What do the Oceans represent for you?
Human Beings believed that the solution lay in the food, energy and water that could be found on land. However, the earth represents 30% of the planet and the oceans 70%! Why limit ourselves to a layer of earth measuring a matter of centimetres for our production? There is a way to make more use of the oceans to meet our future food and energy needs. In the oceans, you have three-dimensional production, which enables otherwise unachievable levels of productivity. Water has a density that is greater than that of air; the nutrients you can distribute are more effective than those distributed via the land.
Look at seaweed for example. It can protect the marine fauna, play a part in the biodiversity of the oceans and also enable large quantities of biogas to be produced to assist with energy production.

Was it an obvious move for the Race for Water and ZERI Foundations to come together on the Easter Island project?
Race for Water owns a boat, which is a miniaturisation of a portfolio of technologies, which only works with what is available locally (wind, sunshine, seawater), to draw out the benefits such as propulsion, drinking water, etc. To my mind, it’s the same way of thinking and I’d like to prove that you can transform a reality with what we have within arms’ reach.
We have similar cultural approaches: we take action, we prove that it works and, through that, we have the opportunity to inspire people to take up the baton.
Our two Foundations cannot revolutionise the world on their own. We need to inspire people in practical terms, so that everyone takes action to change the world.

Street Collectors in Lima

With experience being the best way to get a true handle on a particular situation, part of the Foundation’s team present in Lima, including Marco Simeoni, accompanied a group of waste collectors.

Eric Loizeau was among them and shares his experience with us:

“This morning I found myself on a flatbed truck in the open air in the company of a team of ‘official’ street collectors from the town of Magdalena on the outskirts of Lima. Seated on the floor, which has just been hastily cleaned, we’re squashed in next to the others being jolted around by the sudden movements of the vehicle as it trundles along the town’s busy streets. In contrast to the ‘non-official’ collectors, these belong to a well-oiled organisation directly dependant on the town. They gather together at dawn in a run-down, rudimentary-looking building wedged between the circular express way and the sea front, which is being eaten away by erosion. It’s here that we find them busy folding apple green plastic bags designed for recovering the waste.

There are 10 of them in our vehicle, including 2 girls, all clad in jackets sporting the association’s colours with “Magdalena Vamos a Recyclar” (Let’s recycle in Magdalena) marked on the back. José, a slender dark-haired man of around twenty explains to me that they’ll be dropped off in a district of the town for a collection lasting around two hours and involving families who are members of the association and have prepared their recyclable waste in the green bags designed for this purpose.

After spreading out through the streets, they’ll go door to door and then group the bags at the corners of each street so the flatbed truck can pick them up and transport them to a depot where they’ll be sorted and recovered.

We’re surprised to learn that for a town of 60,000 inhabitants like Magdalena, there are only 35 ‘official’ collectors per 30 tonnes of waste produced daily, of which 15% is plastics. José confirms that they’re competing with numerous ‘non-official’ collectors (around double), who work independently for a higher monthly income.

Micaela, the director of the L+1 association, a network of entrepreneurs that is very committed to sustainable development, told us yesterday that this fine organisation is a little bit like a tree hiding in a forest… Indeed, the collection is still not enough given the sheer scale of the waste produced. In this way, even in the favoured districts like the ones we visited, the percentage of families agreeing with the idea of sorting their waste is in the minority, which gives you an indication of the situation in the rest of the town”.

Copyright photo : Eric Loizeau

Peruvian stopover in Lima

After setting sail from Panama City on 28 February, the Race For Water catamaran is now moored off the Yacht Club Peruano de la Punta in Callao, Peru, for a stopover that will last nearly two months. The first part of this stopover (from 16 to 30 March) is dedicated to the Foundation’s global programme: Learn (sciences), Share (tours and exhibition aboard the vessel) and Act (workshop and presentation of the solutions).
A second part, due to extend through until 20 May, will give concrete expression to the discussions initiated nearly two years ago with manufacturers, politicians and entrepreneurs, in a bid to action “the machine developed with our partner ETIA”, which enables plastic waste to be transformed into energy. In this way, we can help to make practical and virtuous progress in the treatment of plastic waste on a local level, so that the ocean and various waterways are protected.

Race for Water Foundation: LEARN, SHARE, ACT on the programme!

This stopover is synonymous with a packed programme, drawn up in collaboration with L+1, a network of entrepreneurs committed to sustainable development in Peru.

Already, an inter-ministerial commission has been welcomed aboard the Race For Water catamaran, which is coordinating the implementation of various environmentally-friendly projects geared around the protection of coastal zones. Indeed, Lima, Peru’s capital, is a thriving metropolis, which ranks among the largest in South America. Boasting nearly 11-million inhabitants, the city generates 40% of the country’s waste, which equates to more than it is able to treat. Fewer than 5% of town councils have a waste recovery strategy. For the majority of them, dealing with solid waste is not a priority, which means that their waste ends up in botaderos (open landfill sites), beside rivers or in the sea.

Marco SIMEONI, President of the Race For Water Foundation: “It was very interesting to be able to attend a meeting on this scale under the aegis of the Ministry of the Environment, with several ministers coordinating projects benefiting the environment and the conservation of marine zones. The topic of micro-plastics formed the core of the debates. The words collaboration and anticipation often cropped up in the discussions, with the aim of favouring the quick and effective implementation of new projects. It’s very encouraging! We’re now going to move forward with the implementation of solutions to transform plastic waste into energy. By giving this waste value, we are encouraging their collection and thus reducing the amount of waste you see in the environment. This solution also benefits the creation of jobs in zones that are often in underprivileged spots. Finally, plastic waste is then transformed into a resource that enables energy to be produced locally.”


Gunter Pauli (The Bleu Economy), Markus-Alexander Antonietti ( Swiss Ambassador), Marco Simeoni and Juan Alberto Wu ( L+1 Président)

Collaboration with Professor Gunter PAULI’s ZERI Foundation

In a bid to take action, in early 2018 we also began to work on an international level with the ZERI Foundation run by Professor Gunter Pauli, father of the Blue Economy.

Marco Simeoni: “With his Foundation, Gunter Pauli is keen to make the iconic Easter Island self-sufficient in terms of energy. The Race For Water Foundation is joining forces with this project and is doing its bit to assist the waste recovery. We’re absolutely delighted about this collaboration, which we hope will inspire other similar projects to see the light of day on remote islands.”

Bolstered by this partnership, the ZERI Foundation has teamed up with Race for Water to organise a unique event gathering together nearly 60 LATAM Business Angels around an ambitious objective: to anticipate, build and finance a practical solution using a mixture of energy for Easter Island, akin to the policy of self-sufficiency utilised by the Race for Water vessel in its own energy supply, and definitively freeing itself of fossil fuels. An innovative model, it could then be duplicated on a wide scale across numerous islands.

Gunter Pauli: “Marco Simeoni is a man with whom I share the same culture of taking action and integrating practical solutions where the environment is the main focus. The Race For Water boat is highly symbolic. This is not a mere technological tool propelled by a mixture of energy. This catamaran enables a strong message to be conveyed. We can gather together presidents, heads of business, representatives and so on here. The latter are immersed in these technologies for a matter of hours and can then envisage how we can change the world through their development and application on the ground.”

Our next major meetings over the coming days during our Peruvian stopover:

20, 21, 22 then 27 and 28 March:  Visits from students aboard Race For Water (nearly 400 children expected)
Wednesday 21 March: “Plastic Waste to Energy” Foundation Workshop at the Club des Regatas in Lima
Friday 23 March: R4W conference at the UTEC university and tours of the vessel for students
Saturday 24 March: Beach Clean Up, in collaboration with the WWF and the Club de Regatas Lima Chorillos – Barranco – Agua Dulce beach.

Peru, here we are

After setting sail from Panama City on 28 February 2018, the Race For Water catamaran just arrive in Callao, which is Peru’s main fishing and commercial port, a town very close to Lima, where she will make for on Friday. Eric Loizeau, our ambassador who has been aboard since the Panama Canal, shared with us his impressions before making landfall.

Eric: “The whole night there was nothing to see! The whole day there’s been nothing to see. We’ve been making headway in a tenacious mist, which has enveloped our boat the whole time. It was as if we were sailing along the Breton coast between Audierne and Camaret on a summer’s day, where the warm air, pushed by the southerly breeze on the cold sea of the English Channel, picks up a thick fog, which restricts the sailor’s eye to the prow of their vessel. Here though, between the equator and the Tropic of Capricorn, the meteorology is quite unexpected. We thought we could make out the high peaks, snow-capped perhaps, of the Andes cordillera floating over the desert coastline of Peru, but we were reduced to scrutinising the unfathomable, sounding our foghorn at times to herald our arrival among the invisible fishermen.

Some good news though, we discovered the source of the fishy odour attacking our nostrils for some days already. It was a rather foolhardy flying fish which, following a supersonic flight, managed to get trapped between two solar panels on the upper deck, departing this life and leaving behind its rotting carcass.

Tomorrow, if all goes well, we reach Lima and Callao. Back to my childhood dreams when I devoured the adventures of Tintin, Snowy, Captain Haddock and Professor Calculus, they too making landfall in Callao to resolve the enigma of the Temple of the Sun, hidden in these mountains off Lima.

As such, it’s our last day at sea and it’s tinged with nostalgia. Over are the night watches keeping an eye out for fishermen and cargo ships in the starry night on the deep ocean. Over are the evening aperitifs in the watch cockpit in search of the Green Flash. Over too are the sociable meals in the Marina rocked by the cold offshore breeze and the odd flambéed banana. We have to hook back up with the masses and the noise of the city instead of the silence of the sea, disturbed only by the cries of the passing birds, like those lined up in tight rows along the outside edge of our starboard wing for a large part of the morning.

Nevertheless, I sense that the crew is pleased to have got the boat safely into port despite our trials and tribulations along the way and thus enabled her to fulfil the role she is destined to carry out in this round the world. Today, in order for her to serve as the base for the foundation’s ACT team, which is coming out to meet her, we’re going to spend the day cleaning from the bilges to the upper deck, thus bringing our delivery mission to an end.”

Peaceful bestiary in the Pacific.

The Race For Water catamaran, which is continuing to make headway along the Peruvian coastline towards Lima, is regularly accompanied by cetaceans and seabirds to the great delight of the crew, who never grow weary of the spectacle!

Tales:

ERIC LOIZEAU

The cold Humboldt Current is no legend! It is born to the west of Cape Horn, feeds on the Antarctic ice and climbs up the coast of South America, in other words as far as Ecuador. We still doubted that fact yesterday, but that certainly isn’t the case today. Last night, during my watch, I caught myself going to my cabin to hunt out my mountain jacket, which I fortunately brought with me to catch my plane in the Parisian chill… The wind was blowing from the south in fact, straight up from the ice floe on this side of the hemisphere.

In the morning, the ocean took on a cold, greenish hue contrasting with the dazzling blue of the tradewind seas. We were just enjoying a coffee on the bridge, when a baleen whale came and arched its back in front of our bows, prompting Annabelle to kill our engines instinctively. You never know with playful cetaceans, who sometimes enjoy playing at Moby Dick remakes. This turned out to be a prelude to an incredible day for marine zoology. This vein of cold current, which we’re slowly making our way along, proved to be a refuge for countless invisible fish being chased by pods of dolphins, porpoises and finally seals. Scoops of pelicans appeared over the horizon in tight squadron formation, skimming over the waves and then making aggressive, vertiginous drops into the shoals of small fry, which scattered in every direction in their bid to avoid falling prey to the sharp beaks of the black cormorants and the agile frigate birds. In the distance, a gam of dark and seemingly imperturbable pilot whales with pointed fins were bound for some improbable encounters. Meantime, contrary to yesterday’s industrial activity, the ribbon of Peruvian coastline unfurled eastwards down long, deserted beaches of very white sand at the foot of arid cliffs. In this way, banks of mist rose up from the sea, blurring the atmosphere. We were delighted by the showstopping spectacle, watching the acrobatics and the pranks of this marine fauna from atop the bridge of our solar vessel, whose furtive passage seemed to intrigue rather than unsettle them.
In the evening, beneath the stars once more, happy, I reflected on how amazingly lucky we’d been to enjoy such moments of peace and silent beauty, far, so far away from the anguish of the modern world of landlubbers.

ANNE LE CHANTOUX

“During my watch, I was treated to a fantastic sight. I looked away into the distance and I could see splashing in every direction. At first glance, I thought I could see whales exhaling air but there were too many and it was happening too frequently. Next, I saw ‘things’ leaping out of the water and thought about swordfish. In actual fact, I was being treated to a visit from a school of dolphins in transit. There were at least a hundred or so, if not more. They didn’t dally to play with the boat, simply continuing on their way. We saw them jumping (some very high) and dropping back down with their full force making big belly flops!

For almost an hour and a half, they were but 200m from the boat, heading in the same direction as us.

But that’s not all, I could also see air being expelled in the distance with 3 or 4 instances of this reaching a certain height. They were whales.
They were a bit far out but easily identifiable with binoculars!


Then came the apotheosis… in the foreground dolphins, behind them whales and behind these, are you ready for this, oil rigs, like mushrooms! The backdrop for all this was the Peruvian coastline snaking into the distance.

A magical sight.”

Our noble ship halted upon our passage of the Line by the god Neptune in person!

It was our utter respect for a ritual that dates way back that heralded the baptism of five members of the crew of Race For Water, who had never before crossed the equator via the sea; King Neptune was there, watching over proceedings…

Eric Loizeau:

“Approaching a distant cape this morning, the sea took on a grey, leaden quality, keen to see the sky and the skyline merge into one. We crossed tacks with a lone fishing boat equipped with two Ecuadorian sailors, little specks of bright blue and yellow punctuating all this greyness. They’re busy working around a net, which they toss over the side without deigning to pay any attention to our spaceship silently slipping across their wake close to them.

This same morning, at 0 degrees 1 minute North, the Pacific Ocean seems as smooth and flat as a dab.

Looming over the endless horizon on their proud charger Ocean Ride, like 3 riders from the Apocalyse, King Neptune himself suddenly appears in front of our solar bow, accompanied by his two assessors.

As we slowly approach them, we can make out the large sign they’re holding in front of their chests marked… (The Line)… Our valiant captain is forced to kill the engines and they climb aboard.

Five members of the crew have never crossed this mythical line separating north and south at sea before: Anne, Annabelle, Lucas, Peter and Yoann. So, there they are lined up on the upper deck, anxiously listening to the haranguing of the owner of the gaff, equipped with his formidable trident.

 

“I Neptune king of the oceans, it is my right to baptise you before opening the door to the formidable southern seas, to the kingdom of sea monsters, howling winds and gigantic waves, as well as the languid mermaids on the enchanting islets…”

With this, each candidate for the southern seas is required to join Neptune on the port gangway to be anointed in fresh humpback whale oil before answering the ritual question: Why is the sea salty?*

Whatever their response, these established ignoramuses must then down the sour liqueur of the roaring forties, then receive the unction of the royal albatross egg, before being thrust into the marine depths by the royal trident in order to be purified and finally given a pass to traverse all oceans.

This was done on 7 March 2018 aboard Race For Water with the blessing of the god Neptune, who then allowed the captain to set sail once more on his solar vessel bound for Peru, cradle of the Incas who worship the star by the same name.

This morning, we crossed the line and for the past few hours it’s felt like we’ve been walking upside down. However, it is but an impression! The only difference is that, for some months, we’ll be writing the never-ending log from the southern latitudes as opposed to the northern ones. Contrary to some speculation, the sun will still set in the west towards the empty horizon that favours the green flash and will rise in the east behind this range of high mountains we can now make out, that belongs to the Andes cordillera, which we will now make our way along as far as Lima.”


* “Pourquoi la mer est salée? Et autres récits de marins” (Why is the sea salty? And other sailors’ tales) is a book written by Eric Loizeau and published by Gallimard in September 2017.
Like French sailing legend Eric Tabarly, for whom he crewed for four years aboard Pen Duick VI, Eric Loizeau is one of sailing’s greats from the eighties. The seventeen tales that make up this book retrace his most striking memories and the numerous human adventures, which have punctuated his maritime journey, marked by his passion for risk and exploit, but above all freedom. The skipper’s shots – he is also a photographer for the Gamma Agency – illustrate his extraordinary daily life.

Ladies’ Kite!

Though our President Marco Simeoni embodies the Race For Water Foundation, a team of ladies forms part of his fine entourage, all with a range of diverse and varied talents, and all passionate about supporting the cause: the conservation of the Oceans. On shore, there is Magda, Daphnée, Camille, Kim, Virginie and Corentine. At sea, aboard the catamaran flying the Foundation’s flag, we have Anne-Laure, Annabelle and Anne.

On this International Women’s Day, the latter two members of the team were keen to treat us to a moment of escapism. The first all-female kite flight aboard Race For Water, with some 100 tonnes towed by Annabelle Boudinot, second in command, and Anne Le Chantoux, sailor, who began her journey of discovery of the marine universe when she joined the odyssey last year…

A fine challenge! Bravo ladies and thanks for this great kite session!

Account from Annabelle:

How does the kite work?


“Between Panama and Peru, a gentle downwind breeze kicked in enabling our kite to be flown… by the girls, with myself and Anne in control! I very much enjoy working with Anne; I really trust her, she’s a very good sailor. She’s dependable, attentive and focused; and to launch ourselves into the procedure to power up the kite, that’s just what’s required!

The kite enables us to use the wind’s energy. We fly it when there’s between 25 and 60 km/hr of wind, which is what we call a “moderate breeze” in sailor-speak. It has to blow side on, “abeam” of us in our jargon, or over the back of the boat.

Our kites are similar to the wings used by paragliders. Our wings are 20 to 40m² and fill with wind. When you think about it, that’s pretty small! A classic kitesurfer’s wing, the kind you see on beaches, can easily measure up to 12m2 for a person who barely weighs 80kg… Meantime, our boat weighs in at 100 tonnes!

Once the kite is aloft it flies in a figure of 8 movement, which enables an increase in the amount of wind that hits the wings and that has a direct impact on its power. This figure of 8 is piloted automatically from the boat.

This figure of 8 enables the effort in the towing line to be multiplied by 25. It’s through this line, hooked up to the boat, that we can pull directly on the kite. Thanks to the kite and the whole system developed by our SkySails Yacht partner, we can reach 5-8 knots (10-15 km/hr), which bumps up our usual cruising speed of 4 knots.

When we’re flying the kite, the electric motors consume little or no electricity. As a result, the electricity from the solar panels can be specifically directed into charging our batteries, or producing hydrogen!”

Every man is strong if he knows how to go about it

“Flying among girls is but a veiled reference. I’ve always been amazed as a sailor about the difference gender can represent. For me, at sea, I am a sailor first and foremost. Being a woman seems independent of that fact. At sea, on no matter which boat, there is an increase in effort. When I was young, we sailed on an 8m60 cruiser, so for a 10-year-old child, the effort involved was already significant. At the time, my father would repeat over and over “Every man is strong if he knows how to go about it, and by man I mean human being! If you have the right technique, you’ll get there on your own!” He was right.”

Stopover in Monpiche…

… A small fishing village on the Ecuadorian coast, where they decided to make for in the quest for freshwater!

Eric Loizeau, our ambassador aboard Race For Water, is sending us regular updates on the behind-the-scenes action on the journey from Panama to Lima… Today, he talks to us about an improvised stopover in Monpiche to fill up the catamaran’s water tanks as a result of a faulty desalinator.

 “It was a decision taken by our Captain after our wretched freshwater maker gave up the ghost one last time at the start of the night. From that point, all of a sudden, we launch into a ninety-degree turn eastwards bound for a supposed fishing village, a coastal shelter of Bunny’s childhood friend, nicknamed Mondas, an exiled Breton and manager of an Ecuadorian harbour belonging to the Buddha Bar chain. It’s quite a programme! For your information, there is the exact same thing in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, a tavern I have the honour of having lifelong guest membership of as a ‘summiter’ of Mount Everest…. Let’s just hope that these Mondas beers will have the equivalent flavour in Ecuador for us poor fishermen.

I remind you that this unexpected turn was intended solely to restock our supplies of freshwater so as to nourish our thirsty innermost cells. By curious coincidence and with complete impunity, the god Neptune decided that the same moment was ripe to dowse our little vessel in torrents of rain, a crazy cloudburst which hosed us down throughout the night!

It was in this doldrums-esque atmosphere, reminiscent of Finistère back home, that we made out the sleepy outline of our much-awaited haven in the misty drizzle of dawn.

The closer we got, the lighter it became, dispelling the sense of mystery of this village and its scattering of low-lying houses with undulating rooves, protected from the oceanic onslaught by a kind of riprap, with a beach of palm trees extending out from it where a row of bright-coloured boats were lined up.

Mapped under the name Monpiche, or Mon Pichet (My Carafe in French) as Bunny mischievously calls it, clearly very inspired by the idea of stretching her legs on shore, this unexpected village is to prove to be a beneficial stopover for all concerned. In this way, assisted by a group of likely lads from whom we charter the ‘lancha’ for a fistful of dollars, still the favourite currency here, we’re able not just to recuperate 700 litres of average quality freshwater, but also over 200 litres of drinking water, which will easily keep us going as far as Lima and reassure our tormented captain.

Monpiche is a coastal village boasting around a thousand souls, for whom fishing has always been its primary concern. A few dozen years ago, a myriad of surfers of all nationalities, made landfall here and discovered what they described as splendid waves in the area. The village grew as a result and today you can find hotels here, numerous shops and, to the delight of the ladies, a few market gardeners from the neighbouring mountains, from which Bunny and Johan managed to stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables, which will be most welcome for the rest of our voyage and will prevent us from any risk of scurvy.

Naturally, we didn’t deprive ourselves of a few beers at our friend Mondas’ Buddha Bar before heading back out to sea in the late afternoon with the most auspicious of starts, the sun out again in all its glory by way of a prelude to our ritual observation of the Green Flash.

 

Watery tales…

Having set sail from Panama City on Tuesday night through into Wednesday, the Race For Water catamaran is making headway towards her new stopover, Lima in Peru, where she is due to make landfall on 15 March. On board, the 9 members of the crew are being subjected to a water restriction due to a faulty desalinator, which has left them in the lurch. However, a repair is underway. The band of nine remain in good spirits in the run-up to their passage across the famous equator in the coming days.

Tales and testimonies penned by Eric Loizeau and Anne Le Chantoux.


Copyright : Eric Loizeau

ERIC: Friday 2 March 2018 – Nocturnal thoughts

“Smooth seas, calm weather. The first watch is silent, pearly, in the light of the full moon subdued by a light veil of high cloud. These fine weather cirrus unfortunately haven’t brought us the salutary shower of rain we were all expecting, deprived for an indefinite amount of time by our fickle desalinator.

At midnight last night, the lively northerly breeze throughout the day quickly faded as it veered, so it’s coming from our starboard side now and hence from the East. We were very inspired to use our Kite yesterday, as it’ll probably be the only opportunity we get until we reach Lima….

                                                      Copyright : Eric Loizeau

We are subject to freshwater restrictions from now on, as our captain announced with the sombre air uses on occasion where necessary. So, the brushing of teeth and washing is done with sea water, with the chaps relieving themselves over the back of the boat. With our current reserves, we have just 50 litres a day at our disposal until we arrive safely in port. Fortunately, this unexpected and impromptu failure hasn’t hit us during a long transoceanic passsage. In our current situation, the nearest coast is only 250 nautical miles away, which is barely two days at sea so we aren’t exactly in survival mode! Phew, that’s you reassured!

On a solo night watch, it’s silent aboard our sleeping, floating, flying saucer. Black coffee is steaming in a white night cup. The AIS is all green with distant cargo ships making 20 knots to leeward. The sleeping boat gently sways and rocks, rolling from one side to the other according to the peaceful oceanic undulations. Night watch. Softness caresses the warm easterly wind on my skin, damp with morning dew.

This solar boat, alone on the Pacific Ocean, is both an empire of silence and a eulogy to slowness, calmness and gentleness. An islet of magical tranquillity in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, which is so big and so calm this morning. To the west, nothing new.”


ANNE :
“Our 10-day stopover in Panama City went well aside from the fact that we weren’t dockside for long enough to be able to regularly restock our water supplies.

During these 10 days, our biggest constraint wasn’t being at anchor, it was water! Imagine, 11 of us living on Race For Water during the stopover, everyone going about their business: maintenance of the catamaran, public and press receptions and tours of the boat…; all that at 30 degrees Celsius!! After that, in the evenings, everyone dreams of a nice little shower! However, it’s not possible! The most awkward thing wasn’t necessarily this comforting shower, rather the lack of drinking water. You can do without showers and washing machines, but less so drinking water and buying plastic bottles of the stuff… we avoid.

We haven’t been able to run our desalinator because the water in the anchorage wasn’t the cleanest. We came off alright during the stopover though with everyone being careful about their consumption.

However, 9 of us set sail for Peru with around 700 litres of water in our two tanks. That’s enough because once we’re at sea we can start making water again with our desalinator. The first day of this delivery trip, we all made the most of it to wash our clothes and fill our tanks: the (daily) 500-litre one and the (spare) 1,000-litre one.

All of a sudden though, the desalinator came to a grinding halt!! Pascal (the captain) and Martin (the engineer) have been working on the problem and trying to find a solution for the past three days.


Martin Gavériaux and Pascal Morizot

We are subject to a water restriction once again. We have around 500 litres left. As such, we’re washing up with salt water. Showers are taken in sea water too with a mini-rinse in freshwater. We’re keeping our freshwater to stay hydrated, which is the most important thing.

We have around 12 days at sea to make Lima. We’re going to hug the coast so we can stop off to get freshwater supplies if necessary.

In the meantime, with a bit of elbow grease and the manual desalinator, I manage to produce 5 litres of freshwater an hour and as many litres of sweat!!!”

Others than this ‘minor’ water issue, we’re in good spirits.”