Race for Water Odyssey, 1st year: Scientific appraisal and perspectives  

Geared up for scientific expeditions, the Race for Water vessel underwent a complete refit in 2016 in order to offer optimal working conditions on-board. Thanks to her 90m2 dedicated to science, her stability and her self-sufficiency in terms of energy, the catamaran is able to host teams of five to seven researchers aboard, as well as students. Since her departure in April 2017, the Race for Water platform has welcomed over 23 researchers, including 12 scientists from the European JPI Oceans programme with the collaboration of local scientists in Bermuda (in June-July 2017), in Cuba (in August 2017) and in Guadeloupe (October 2017).

Kim Van Arkel, scientific consultant to the Race for Water Foundation:

Set up in 2011, JPI Oceans is a strategic programme geared towards coordinating marine research and responsible for the launch of the “Ecological Aspects of Microplastics” programme grouping together 4 projects to assess the impact of microplastics in marine ecosystems, including EPHEMARE and WEATHER-MIC

EPHEMARE, led by Professor Ricardo Beiras (University of Vigo, Spain), is studying the eco-toxicological effects of microplastics on marine ecosystems. Within the context of this project, samples were taken of microplastics at the water surface, sediments, plankton and endemic marine organisms (fish, crustaceans and bivalves…) across two sites in Bermuda (Whale Bone Bay and Well Bay) and in Guadeloupe (Petit Bourg and Capesterre) by 9 European scientists (from the University of Bordeaux in France, the University of Antwerp in Belgium, the University of Vigo in Spain, and the Marche Polytechnic University and the CNR-ISMAR Institute of Marine Sciences Marine in Italy) in collaboration locally with Anne Hyde from Keep Bermuda Beautiful and Dr Struan Robbie Smith in Bermuda, followed by Dr Soazig Lemoine from the University of the French West Indies in Guadeloupe. Different forms of analysis (dissection, identification, chemistry and toxicity) regarding samples and microplastics taken during these two campaigns are currently underway in 4 European universities, which are partnering the EPHEMARE project.

WEATHER-MIC led by Dr Annika Jahnke (Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) Leipzig, Germany) and Dr Hans Peter H. Arp (NGI (Norwegian Geotechnical Institute) Norway) is aiming to understand the various stages of aging of microplastics and the effect that this has in the marine environment. Dr Hans Peter H Arp and 2 scientists from the NGI also involved in the project took a series of samples offshore of the Cuban coast and as far as Havana with the support of Prof Carlos Manuel Alonso Hernandez and 6 other Cuban scientists from the CEAC.

 

The samples taken at the surface of the water, at different depths in the head of water and in the submerged sediment have been split between the scientists from the NGI and the CEAC with a view to producing a shared analysis. Certain samples (the most interesting) will be sent to other teams from the WEATHER-MIC project so they can take a closer look at the signs of aging based on the “fingerprinting of aging” developed by the JPI Oceans network.”

So what’s next?

Kim Van Arkel continues: “New scientific missions are in the pipeline aboard the Race for Water vessel, starting with the samples of plastic particles taken by the crew while sailing from Concepcion (Chile) to Tahiti (French Polynesia) for the “Plastisphère” project led by Dr Linda Amaral Zettler and Dr Erik Zettler, both researchers at the NIOZ, the Royal Netherlands Institute for Marine Research. This project explores the communities associated with the plastic particles floating on the surface of the ocean. Our journey into the South-East Pacific, where few samples are taken today, is very important for this research. Other scientific missions will also be welcomed aboard the Race for Water platform and these will be unveiled as the vessel is making headway.”

10,000 miles on the clock, 6,000 guests welcomed aboard, 7 intense stopovers  and the arrival of the watchmaker “BREGUET” as main partner…  The Race for Water Odyssey celebrates its 1st anniversary! 

In 2010, the Swiss entrepreneur Marco Simeoni created the Race for Water Foundation. Passionate about the sea, in 2015 he decided to launch an initial scientific and environmental expedition, the Race for Water Odyssey, to review the global situation regarding the plastic pollution of our oceans. The findings are both clear and alarming in that there is no such thing as ‘plastic islands’ and venturing out to collect the plastic waste at sea is utopian to say the least. Indeed, at the heart of the oceans, a ‘soup’ of microplastic floats around with the oceanic gyres. “We very quickly realised that the solution lies on land. It is absolutely imperative that we prevent plastic waste from reaching the oceans”, explains Marco Simeoni.

One year ago, on 9 April 2017, the Race for Water catamaran set sail around the world on a new five-year odyssey to offer up solutions regarding the conservation of the oceans. “In 2015, we acknowledged that we were powerless in the face of the sheer scale of the problem with plastic pollution of the oceans. With this 2017-2021 Odyssey, aboard the largest vessel in the world to be powered by a combination of solar-hydrogen-kite energy, we are keen to show that thanks to innovative technologies there are lasting solutions for conserving the oceans.”

Between 2017 and 2021, Race for Water is circumnavigating the globe with around 35 stopovers coloured by the following objectives:
– participating in major international events to educate the greatest number of people about the urgent need to conserve the oceans. (The America’s Cup, the Olympic Games in Tokyo and the Universal Exposition in Dubai)

– visiting islands and large coastal towns, both victims and the source of the plastic pollution of the oceans, in order to raise awareness among local populations and put forward solutions to prevent plastic waste from reaching the waterways and hence the oceans.

– hosting scientific missions aboard the vessel to further understanding about the consequences of marine plastic contamination.

Review of year one of the Race for Water Odyssey:

Since casting off from Lorient (France) in April 2017, the Race for Water catamaran has covered nearly 10,000 nautical miles (9,656nm to be precise) in her 104 days at sea, which have led her from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, where she is currently on stopover in Lima.

In the space of a year, there have already been 7 stopovers (Madeira, Bermuda, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Panama and Peru) and 3 scientific missions, with 23 researchers of 6 different nationalities and 6,000 official guests, including over 255 political decision-makers, all of whom have been welcomed aboard the Race for Water Foundation’s ambassador vessel in order to discuss the conservation of the Oceans as well as the possible solutions to combat plastic pollution.

In this way, the objectives to LEARN and SHARE, which the Foundation set itself have been reached at every stopover venue. The same is true of the ACT element with the promotion through local decision-makers of high-temperature pyrolysis, a technology capable of transforming plastic waste into electricity. Giving value to this material will enable street collectors to be paid, thus encouraging them to pick up more plastic. The upshot of this approach is a world in which today’s waste will be tomorrow’s resource.

BREGUET embarks with Race for Water in the conservation of the Oceans:

The first year of this odyssey has also been coloured by the arrival of a title partner alongside the Foundation’s teams: the BREGUET company.

Marco Simeoni, President of the Race for Water Foundation: “BREGUET’s commitment alongside our Foundation for the next four years is a powerful symbol of its involvement in the cause to conserve the Oceans. This collaboration comes as fantastic recognition for the Race for Water teams, who work on all the seas of the globe on a daily basis. Through this partnership, the impact of our actions will be further reinforced, which we’re absolutely delighted about.”

The Race for Water Odyssey, with the support of BREGUET and bolstered by the enthusiasm felt for the project at every stopover, is continuing its journey in 2018 to Chile (Valparaiso and Concepcion in June), Robinson Island and Easter Island (early September) before reaching French Polynesia in October and culminating in Fiji for the end of year festivities.

Quotes:

Franck David, Executive Chairman of the Race for Water Odyssey: “This Odyssey is unique! Through its duration, over 5 years around the world! Through its encounters, right up close and personal to the local populations, entrepreneurs and decision-makers! Through its vision and its objectives, with a strong commitment to taking action and with the conviction that solutions do exist! Through its human and technological challenge with its Land and Sea-based teams, who day in day out further the cause for the conservation of the oceans on a vessel powered by 100% renewable energies!

Jean-Marc Normant, Captain and Technical Director:Objectively, when we began the Race for Water Odyssey in Lorient in 2017, there were a lot of unknowns regarding our catamaran. With the passing miles we’ve discovered this boat, which is very special in terms of her energy management. With use she’s proven to be very pleasant and we can navigate the oceans with confidence. Race for Water is an incredible work platform for those scientists who get a chance to come aboard, as well as for those of us who live aboard her and host lots of visitors during the stopovers. Over the course of this first year, we’ve done a fair amount of work on our means of propulsion, be it the kite or the hydrogen, which has further improved the vessel’s qualities and there are still over 20,000 miles to go until we reach the end of the Odyssey in 2021!”

Camille Rollin, head of the Foundation’s ACT programme: “It’s in Lima that we celebrated the 1st anniversary of what is a truly exceptional human adventure. This expedition is primarily one of hope. Every day we meet people like us, seeking to show that solutions do exist and that it is through action and collaboration that we will succeed in countering the disasters caused by plastic pollution of the oceans. We’re counting on you!”

Kim Van Arkel, scientific advisor : “Since our departure in April 2017, the Race for Water platform has hosted over 23 researchers, including 12 scientists from the European JPI Oceans programme with the collaboration of local scientists, Bermudians (in June-July 2017), Cubans (in August 2017) and Guadeloupeans (October 2017). Set up in 2011, JPI Oceans is a strategic programme geared towards coordinating marine research and responsible for the launch of the “Ecological Aspects of Microplastics” programme grouping together 4 projects to assess the impact of microplastics in marine ecosystems, including EPHEMARE and WEATHER-MIC.”

Part one of the Lima stopover complete,  now it’s over to the ACT team!

Race for Water made landfall on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, on 15 March 2018, and will continue to be anchored off the Yacht Club de La Punta in Callao through until 20 May 2018, at which point she will cast off for Valparaiso in Chile. Part one of the stopover has seen multiple exchanges and lots of opportunities to learn about the situation regarding plastic pollution in Peru. Furthermore, the Race for Water team in charge of putting in place projects to recover waste is remaining on site for the next two months to continue to give concrete expression to the discussions already initiated.

Lima 1:  SHARE (on-board tours and exhibition)

Part one of this stopover concluded late last week with a Beach Clean Up in collaboration with the NGO WWF, which gathered together 400 volunteers and enabled 2 tonnes of waste to be recovered!

As is the case with every one of the stopovers on the Race for Water Odyssey, the Foundation’s teams are rallying together to raise awareness among the greatest number of local people, from students, to decision-makers, representatives, entrepreneurs and environmental protagonists. We have to admit that the enthusiasm drummed up by the presence of the Race for Water catamaran has been incredible. We’ve hosted and welcomed nearly 400 children aboard the boat, over 350 local entrepreneurs, 27 attendees for the “Plastic Waste to Energy” workshop and 35 politicians, who hosted an inter-ministerial committee on-board to coordinate the establishing of environmentally-friendly projects for the conservation of coastal areas. It was the perfect opportunity for our President, Marco Simeoni and the Minister of the Environment Ms Elza Galarza to meet up.

Camille Rollin, head of ACT for the Race for Water Foundation: “The Peruvians have shown such great enthusiasm for the project! The welcome has been fantastic! Unfortunately, we cannot accept all the requests we receive each day. However, we are very happy with this first part of the Lima stopover, where the emphasis was mainly on education as we welcomed nearly 400 students aboard of varying ages. The Clean-Up operation on Agua Dulce beach, which was organised by the WWF to celebrate our visit to Chorrillos, enabled 400 super motivated volunteers to come together to pick up nearly two tonnes of waste in a matter of hours. That demonstrates two things: there is still a huge amount of educational work to be done on the ground so that the local population feels more concerned about the conservation of its environment, but also that a growing section of this same population is seeking to broaden its awareness.”

    

Lima 2: ACT (presentation of the solutions)

Numerous local protagonists, notably entrepreneurs and social investors, who are committed to sustainable projects which provide answers to the problems they face in their home countries, like that of plastic pollution, came to chat with the team aboard Race for Water. It is with this smaller latter group, which is fully dedicated to the implementation of energy recovery projects involving plastic waste in Peru, that work will continue for the next two months.

Frédéric Sciacca, Head of ACT in Lima working on behalf of the Foundation: “Within the context of the ACT programme and the search for solutions, we’re now going to focus our attention on the methods of collection, management and recovery of plastic waste on a local level. The context of Lima will enable us to get a better understanding of the unofficial collection mechanism, which is extremely dynamic in Peru. We will also need to meet with numerous protagonists from public and private associations in order to identify where the implementation of our model’s complete value chain will make the most sense and have the most positive impact.”

 The Foundation’s ACT team comprises Camille Rollin, Frédéric Sciacca, as well as a native Peruvian for this stopover, Jimena Collantes-Ortiz, who is very involved in life in Lima: “As a Peruvian, it’s an honour to be part of the Lima stopover. We’re working with a highly professional team and one that is passionate about the work we’re doing. It’s a privilege to have a vessel as unique as the Race for Water catamaran here. I’m convinced that the answer to my country’s needs is embodied in the solution put forward by Race for Water. We’ve already had a chance to contact the key protagonists involved in the implementation of the Waste to Energy project. To my mind, we have a great potential to incorporate this here and my wish, as ambitious as it is, is to be able to have a serious impact in every corner of Peru. The best is yet to come.”

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.