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Posts Tagged ‘circumnavigation’

Stealth, Quiet, Grand & Easy on the Engines – Planet Solar Sets the Stage

Looking like something out of a science fiction or perhaps a James Bond film, the M/S Tûranor PlanetSolar, the world’s largest solar-powered boat, completed its around the world voyage to promote the use of sustainable solar energy this past Friday, May 4th.

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Planet Solar arrives in Monaco. Images -www.planetsolar.org

A large crowd turned out to welcome the 115-foot catamaran, which holds the record as the largest solar-powered boat ever built. The leader of the

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PlanetSolar expedition, Raphaël Domjan, told waiting reporters, “We are extremely happy to have achieved this first world tour with solar energy! We have shown that we have the technologies as well as the knowledge to become sustainable and safeguard our blue planet.”
Built in Germany at a reported cost of $24 million, the twin-screw catamaran — which is powered by electric motors and capable of cruising at approximately 8 knots —  completed the 37,000-nautical mile circumnavigation using only solar energy, in 584 days. Some 5,780 square-feet of solar panels on deck charge what is said to be the largest lithium-ion battery in the world.

During the 19-month voyage, which began in Monaco Sept. 27, 2010, the 102-foot vessel crossed the Atlantic, passed through the Panama Canal and crossed the Pacific and Indian oceans.

The top investor in the project, German Immo Stroeher, said, “The M/S Tûranor PlanetSolar is much more than a ship. It has become an ambassador of solar energy.

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Planet Solar in Miami. Images- http://www.planetsolar.org

The name Turanor is derived from the “Lord of the Rings” series of books by J.R.R. Tolkien and translates into “The Power of the Sun.”

For more information on Planet  Solar, visit them online!

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SHE DID IT! LAURA DEKKER COMPLETES SOLO CIRCUMNAVIGATION!

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Laura Dekker - thrilled to have finished her circumnavigation. Photo lauradekker.nl.

It seems like the past few years were filled with great sailing feats by young sailors. Now the youngest has come home safely after voyaging 18,265 nm. On January 23, Dutchwoman Laura Dekker became the new youngest solo circumnavigator, reducing Australian Jessica Watson’s voyage by six-months.

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Laura Dekker, 16, is reunited with her mother, sister and father on her arrival in St. Martin after a 361-day circumnavigation. Photo lauradekker.nl.

Having covered most of these attempts while writing the Cruising Compass for Blue Water Sailing Magazine, I became a champion of sorts, in hopes of forwarding their causes, and in some way, helping to broadcast their amazing feats to the non-adventure sailing world.

Some of you may recall that Dekker ran into more than just rough seas even before she set off on her attempt at circumnavigating the planet. She had intended to start her adventure at age 13, but Dutch authorities tried to block Dekker’s trip, arguing she was too young to risk her life, while school officials said she should be in a classroom.

“The Dutch government was not kind to me,” Laura Dekker wrote on her blog last week. “It was never my intention to be the center of world news. From the moment my plans became public, Youth Care and other government organisations tried to stop me. During the first court case, in August 2009 they asked the judge to take me away from my father and to lock me up in a secure clinic. Now, after sailing around the world, with difficult port approaches, storms, dangerous reefs, and the full responsibility of keeping myself and Guppy safe, I feel that the nightmares the Dutch government organisations put me through, were totally unfair. I am seriously thinking about not returning to the Netherlands. Of course I will discuss this with my parents.”

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The route Laura took around the world, Image lauradekker.nl.

Unlike other young sailors who recently crossed the globe, Dekker repeatedly anchored at ports along the way to sleep, study and repair her 38-ft Jeanneau Gin Fizz Guppy. The teenager covered more than 27,000 nautical miles on a trip with stops at ports including the Canary Islands, Panama, the Galapagos Islands, Tonga, Fiji, Bora Bora, Australia, South Africa and finally St Maarten, from where she set out on 20 January 2011. Now, though she claims to be the youngest sailor to complete a round-the-world voyage, Guinness World Records and the World Sailing Speed Record Council would not verify the claim, saying they no longer recognize records for youngest sailors in order to discourage dangerous attempts.

Authorities in The Netherlands were quick to commend Dekker on her bravery, skill and perseverance, but insisted they had been correct to intervene.

“If Laura had drowned, we would be accused of not having done enough to protect her,” said an official from the Bureau of Youth. She added that it’s possible that Dekker made it around because they required her to sail a larger, more robust and better-equipped boat.

Dekker launched her trip two months after Abby Sunderland, a 16-year-old American sailor, was rescued in the Indian Ocean during a similar attempt. Australian teen Jessica Watson set off Oct. 18, 2009 from Sydney, Australia, in Ella’s Pink Lady, her Sparkman & Stephens 34. She rounded Cape Horn Jan. 13, 2010  and returned to Sydney on 15 May 2010. Watson completed a 210-day solo voyage just three days before her 17th birthday.

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Solo-circumnavigator Jessica Watson aboard her S&S 34, Ella's Pink Lady.

Mike Perham, also held the title of youngest person to sail solo around the world. He took nine months to circumnavigate the Globe in 2009 at age 17 on board the Open 50 racing yacht Totallymoney.com.

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Mike Perham's route around. Photo totallymoney.com/sailmike.

Though it is Jesse Martin, of Australia, who still holds the record, recognized by Guinness World Records as the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe, sailing solo, non-stop and unsupported, at age 18 years 104 days when he set off from Melbourne on December 8, 1998, taking 327 days 12hrs 52 mins.

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Newpaper clipping of Jesse Martin's return home. Photo jessemartin.net.

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Sister & brother solo-circumnavigators Abby & Zac Sunderland. Photo abbysunderland.com.

“A true circumnavigation of the Earth must: start and finish at the same point, traveling in one general direction, reach two antipodes, cross the equator, cross all longitudes, cover a minimum of 40,000km..”

(21,600 NM, the circumference of the world at the equator.

                         – Explorers Web AdventureStats, 2007….

Dekker says her circumnavigation was about the voyage and she isn’t concerned about formal recognition. Neither is Hachette Book Group, which has already offered Watson a book deal, saying it will publish the blog entries she has written throughout her trip “as soon as possible after her return,” according to media reports.

“I think readjusting to life on land, keeping up with some of the exciting things planned for me, finishing my book and documentary, getting my driver’s license, and finishing school will be more than enough to keep me busy,” says Watson in her May 4 blog.

I’d like to offer a big “Congrats” to Laura. Our virtual “hats off” for an amazing feat. Well done! You go girl!

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Map of Oman courtesy of Merriam-Webster

A report from the Anti-Piracy Conference in Dubai this week in the National.ae says that the UAE has rightly taken the lead in bringing together partners from all over the world to discuss how nations can best cooperate to diminish the threat of piracy. But while international patrols and joint maritime agreements may temporarily address the issue, the ultimate solution lies in stabilizing Somalia.

“With a thriving black market on the Somali coast, ransoms of up to $10 million (Dh36.7million), and the lack of international will to prosecute pirates, there has been little to dissuade Somali men from turning to pirate gangs.

Somalia’s hobbled government, which was represented at yesterday’s conference in Dubai, appears incapable of solving this crisis alone. “We know we will win,” Mohammed Abdulahi Omar Asharq, the foreign minister of Somalia’s transitional federal government, told an audience of more than 50 dignitaries from around the world. “But how long it takes and at what cost will depend on your response, your partnership and your leadership.”

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UAE Foreign Minister H.H Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his Syrian counterpart Walid Moallem meet at talks in Dubai. Photo: mofa.gov.ae.

The international community has already taken significant steps to diminish attacks that have emanated from Somalia’s impoverished shores.

The Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor in the Gulf of Aden, which is patrolled by EU and Nato naval forces, has greatly deterred tanker attacks. Cooperation between nations, meanwhile, has helped to save hostages, as was the case this month when UAE forces rescued a hijacked crew with the help of the US Fifth Fleet.

But as yesterday’s conference in Dubai revealed, there is a lot to do. From Yemen’s beleaguered fishing community to the enormous trade volume that passes through Dubai’s docks, piracy has hit regional industries hard. Rising insurance rates and the high price of prosecution can cost the shipping industry millions, while companies are also having difficulty recruiting mariners as hostage situations become more deadly.

The UAE has done well to take the lead in bringing together partners from all over the world to discuss how nations can best cooperate to diminish the threat of piracy. But while international patrols and joint maritime agreements may temporarily address the issue, the ultimate solution rests in stabilizing Somalia. Piracy and its spoils can have proven irresistible for the many who lack an education, a job, or a better prospect for their future.”

Comprehensive global response to piracy off Somalia needed

UN Anti-Piracy. Image courtesy eturbonews.com.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for a comprehensive response to maritime piracy off the coast of Somalia, saying the menace is a consequence of the overall insecurity, lack of a stable national government and underdevelopment in the Horn of Africa country.

“Piracy is not a water-borne disease. It is a symptom of conditions on the ground, including the overall security and political situation in Somalia,” Mr. Ban said in a message to a conference on piracy in Dubai, whose theme is “Global Threat, Regional Responses: Forging a Common Approach to Maritime Piracy.”

“Therefore, our response must be holistic and comprehensive, encompassing simultaneous action on three fronts: deterrence, security and the rule of law, and development. We must work with the Somalia authorities, and we must weave our counter-piracy efforts into an overall solution for Somalia,” said Mr. Ban in the message, which was delivered on his behalf by Patricia O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs.

Mr. Ban pointed out that his former Special Adviser on Legal Issues Related to Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, Jack Lang, had outlined how Somalia and the international community can legally step up counter-piracy efforts. One of the measures recommended by Mr. Lang is the consolidation of international assistance for increasing prison capacity.

“Some of his recommendations are already being implemented, albeit on a modest scale, with the assistance of UNODC [UN Office on Drugs and Crime] and UNDP [UN Development Programme.],” said the Secretary-General.

He also informed the conference that the Security Council had last week decided to urgently consider the establishment of specialized Somali courts to try suspected pirates both in the Somalia and in the region, one of Mr. Lang’s recommendations.

He said that the trust fund for counter-piracy administered by the UN had also proved to be an efficient instrument. During its first year, the fund approved 12 projects worth $4.3 million, and total contributions reached $6.2 million.

“This is an encouraging start, but much more needs to be done. I urge you to attend the fundraising event being convened tomorrow by the United Arab Emirates and the United Nations, and to generously support the fund’s important work,” he said.

He deplored the violence and hostage-taking associated with piracy, saying it had taken a heavy human toll, especially for seafarers. Piracy is also distorting the Somali economy and disrupting shipping lanes that are vital to people around the world, he added.

“And the pirates’ reach is expanding. Piracy seems to be outpacing the efforts of the international community to stem it,” said Mr. Ban. “I therefore reiterate the commitment of the United Nations to work with the international community and the Somali authorities to implement a comprehensive strategy for a sustainable solution to this global menace.”

From: eturbonews.com.

Oman has it’s say

Hosted by UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan, the conference has brought together industry experts and governmental representatives from around the world, including key-note speeches and group discussions throughout the two-day event.

Peter Ford, chief executive officer, Port of Salalah who has been invited by the conference organizers, told Muscat Daily, that there is a significant interest from all parties affected by the piracy to find a solution. “We will work with the top decision-makers in the maritime industry to try and improve the situation. The piracy issue is being discussed at the highest levels in Oman.”

This year, there have been 107 incidents of hijacking by pirates based in Somalia, with 17 vessels taken by pirates, according to figures from the International Maritime Bureau. More than 500 crew members are currently being held hostage either at sea or in lair along the Somali coast, with seven fatalities in piracy-related incidents.

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The Affect on Cruising Rallies

Members of the recently canceled Blue Water Rally (BWR) have said that the fatal hijacking of one of the participating yachts in February highlighted the risks in continuing with the journey and resulted in a premature conclusion for the adventure.

In an exclusive interview with Muscat Daily, the husband and wife crew of the Bali Blue, who had been at sea for two years, said that the number of pirate attacks in the waters around Oman have made the region too dangerous to sail through.

They added that the deaths of the four crew members of the Quest, which was also participating in the rally and approaching Salalah, at the hands of pirates, brought home the reality of the risks involved.

“It was devastating,” said Bali Blue skipper Pete Bailey, “We were all at sea at the time and taking precautions such as maintaining radio silence. When we got the news of the Quest, everyone was profoundly affected. There was a belief amongst some people that the chances of a yacht being taken were low, and it could be minimised if we took sensible precautions.”

“The chances of a yacht falling prey to pirates here have increased substantially. There are others who have the intention of coming here and may be months away in their journey, and they really need to be made aware.”

His wife Carol added that the difficulty of those crewing the fleet of yachts in trying to complete their journey evaporated in the wake of the hijacking of the Danish ING, the crew of which are still being held by Somalian pirates, and the disaster that unfolded on the Quest. “In a matter of minutes it had become very personal, and it was an awful outcome. My difficulty lay in justifying to my family the continuation of the trip and another couple of weeks of risky passage.”

During their voyage, they have seen international naval vessels combating piracy from Europe, Russia, China, India and the US, but none from nations in the region. “Years ago, the Malacca Straits were the equivalent of what is happening today, and with a collaboration between Asian countries, they got it under control. Something similar has to be done in this region too,” Carol said.

The Baileys, along with 20 private cruising yachts from the Blue Water Rally, decided to place their boats on board a Dockwise Yacht Transport vessel rather than risk the passage from Salalah, Oman to Marmaris, Turkey. Read: Dockwise Yacht Transport to deliver 20 cruising sailboats from Oman.

Hopefully the Dubai Conference will result in some concrete steps that can be taken now to protect recreational yachts and cruisers in this dangerous part of the world.

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Commander David G. McClellan, Chief of the United States Coast Guard Prevention Operations Department, has released a statement in response to the incident involving the death of four hostages aboard the S/Y Quest on 18th February 2011.

The statement is directed to all mariners considering, or in contact with, parties planning to sail in the Gulf of Aden or Arabian Sea. It reads:

R 041954Z MAR 11
FM COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC//CG-54//
TO ALCOAST
BT
UNCLAS //N16210//
ALCOAST 084/11
COMDTNOTE 16210
SUBJ: SPECIAL NOTICE TO MARINER (NTM) FOR US YACHTS AND SAILING VESSELS REGARDING PIRACY OFF THE COAST OF SOMALIA

1. ON 18 FEB 11, A U.S. REGISTERED SAILING VESSEL WITH 4 US CITIZENS ON BOARD WAS HIJACKED BY SOMALI PIRATES IN THE ARABIAN SEA, 282NM SE OF SUR, OMAN.  DURING NEGOTIATIONS FOR RELEASE OF THE VESSEL, THE 4 US CITIZENS ONBOARD WERE KILLED.

2. THE EXTREME HAZARDS OF OPERATING OFF THE COAST OF SOMALIA IN THE GULF OF ADEN AND THE ARABIAN SEA SOUTH TO THE MOZAMBIQUE CHANNEL AND EAST TO THE COAST OF INDIA, REQUIRES IMMEDIATE EDUCATION OF THE RISK TO ANY U.S. REGISTERED PLEASURE VESSEL OPERATING IN THESE WATERS OR U.S. CITIZENS PLANNING TO TRANSIT THESE AREAS ON FOREIGN FLAG REGISTERED PLEASURE VESSELS.

3. A SPECIAL NOTICE TO MARINERS WARNING VESSEL OPERATORS OF THIS RISK HAS BEEN RELEASED THROUGH THE NAVCENS WEBSITE
(HTTP://WWW.NAVCEN.USCG.GOV/) AND THROUGH DISTRICT LOCAL NOTICES TO MARINERS.  THE SPECIAL NOTICE HAS BEEN PROVIDED TO NATIONAL BOATING FEDERATION, NASBLA, US SAIL, BOAT US, US POWER SQUADRON, AND OTHER BOATING/YACHTING ENTHUSIAST GROUPS TO POST OR LINK THROUGH THEIR  WEB SITES OR PUBLISH IN THEIR NEWSLETTERS, TWITTER-FACEBOOK OR BLOG POSTS, OR MONTHLY MAGAZINES.
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4. OCEANGOING SAILING VESSEL RALLIES AND U.S. PLEASURE VESSELS INVOLVED IN CIRCUMNAVIGATION VOYAGES MAY BE UNAWARE OF THE EXTREME RISK TO LIFE AND VESSELS OPERATING OFF THE EAST COAST OF AFRICA.  THE SUBJECT NTM WAS SPECIFICALLY RELEASED TO REINFORCE THESE IMPORTANT CONCERNS AND TO PROVIDE CONTACT INFORMATION TO DIRECTLY SUPPORT THE SAILOR IN THAT THEY MAY HAVE OR PLAN VOYAGES THROUGH THESE HIGH RISK WATERS.
THE WIDEST DESEMINATION (SIC) OF THIS NTM TO THE PUBLIC AND US REGISTERED OCEAN YACHT OPERATORS IS IMPERATIVE.

5. DISTRICT AND UNIT RECREATIONAL BOATING SPECIALISTS, AND UNIT AUXILIARISTS SHOULD ENSURE WIDEST DISSEMINATION/EDUCATION OF THIS NTM AND TAKE EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO MEET  WITH  YACHTING CENTER MANAGERS AND  POST/DISTRIBUTE THE SUBJECT DOCUMENT DIRECTLY TO YACHT OPERATORS/OWNERS WHO COULD BE PLANNING FUTURE CIRCUMNAVIGATION VOYAGES.

From www.synfo.com.

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