Tara Oceans Expedition


Etienne Bourgois provides an up-date on the Tara Oceans Expedition: the program for the coming months before the return to Lorient, the missions and future of Tara. 

What is unique about the Tara Oceans expedition?  

For nearly 3 years Tara has been sailing around the world studying plankton, using the same instruments, the same protocols, involving the same laboratories. This is extremely rare for a scientific expedition.  And this type of mission will be increasingly difficult to organize  because authorisations to sample water are complicated to obtain. The world's oceans are  becoming  economic and political stakes.

What would you say is Tara's primary objective?

It's essential to conduct scientific research in order to understand and prepare for the long-term impact of climate change. Besides being a  research base for scientists, our environmental approach is very important.

Do you and Eric Karsenti work together to direct the expedition ?

Tara Oceans has created a team of 200 people of 35 different nationalities, making for an incredibly rich diversity of experience. These 200 people are constantly exchanging information, each person competent in his own field. It's an extraordinary human adventure.   Eric and I are the 'movers', the catalysts of this group.We are not at all dictatorial. 

How is Tara doing since the dry dock repairs in San Diego?

We had to replace the sails in San Diego, which was not foreseen.We're going to have the old sails examined since they actually wore out much faster than expected. We also had to take apart the boat to change a motor during our last stopover in California. (Tara has 3 motors: 2 on board, while one remains on land being repaired.) We've also noticed considerable loss of  electrical power. Despite these problems, Tara has been able continue this expedition for a long time because the crew is taking such good care of her. I thank the sailors who spend a lot of energy on this.

The scientific equipment has had no problems; nothing has been lost, and the quality of the samples is excellent. Our team is extremely experienced, and we can now organize stations even when the sea is rough.  

Only 100 days until Tara's return to France. What will the high points be, from now until the end of March?

Tara just passed through the Panama Canal and is back in the Atlantic Ocean. We're starting on our way home. But we're not there yet. Weather conditions will certainly be difficult on the voyage to Lorient. The boat and crew will be subjected to real thermal shock! We'll sail across the Gulf of Mexico where we'll do some well-targeted sampling stations in function of  pollution from the oil spill. Then we'll stopover in Savannah (USA) and New York (USA). New York will be an important stopover since many conferences are scheduled there. I'll be present along with Eric Karsenti, Romain Troublé (director of operations), and the principle scientific coordinators. 

Afterwards Tara will head for Bermuda, then the Açores, before returning to Lorient on March 31st. A huge celebration is being prepared for the occasion.

What are the plans for Tara in 2012?

The expedition will not be over when the boat returns. In 2012, we will voyage in France and report on the mission, docking first in Lorient, then in Brest and Paris.We'll share our experiences with the many students who have followed our voyage, and of course with the general public, and scientists.

When Tara returns to home port, a special edition of our journal will be published in French, English and Japanese. Michel Temman will be the editor, and Loulou Picasso the illustrator.  A film featuring Tara -- "Planet Ocean » -- by Yann Arthus Bertrand and Michael Pitiot, will come out in June.

And then?

The next 3 years are being planned now, so it's too soon to discuss specific projects. But we can confirm that Tara will continue pursuing environmental missions. And let's not forget that the boat was designed for polar research.

What was your greatest frustration during this mission?

I can no longer look at Tara in those paradisical landscapes on my computer. I've reached my limit...But seriously, changing Tara's itinerary last March was a very difficult decision to make, but it was definitely the right decision. We regret that Tara didn't get to Tokyo or Hong Kong, but I'm sure we'll have another occasion to go there. 

What are the broad environmental themes that concern you most right now?

Unfortunately the economic crisis has taken precedence over environmental awareness. I'll take this opportunity to thank our partners who continue to support us in this difficult period: agnes b. Fund, Veolia Environmental Foundation, EDF DiversiTerre Foundation, Region of Brittany, Cap l'Orient, World Courier, Albert II of Monaco Foundation, CNRS, EMBL,  CEA, Genoscope, French National Marine, customs services, and all our partners.  
Planet Earth is getting warmer. 2011 was the warmest year ever recorded in France.  The environment is a global cause that concerns us all. Unless the general public and young people are mobilized, the situation will be very difficult. The Earth's population will soon be 9 billion, with risks of instabilty caused by famine, humanitarian crises, shortage of water. France could be a leader in trying to resolve these problems, but unfortunately doesn't seem to make that a priority.

What wishes for 2012 do you send to our followers via internet?

A happy new year to everyone. Please participate in our efforts by supporting us!  Contributing to Tara (and other non-profit organizations) can help change the world! And be sure to vote!

Next stop for Tara : Savannah (USA). T°air : 25,2°C. T°sea : 26,9°C. Wind : NE, 30 knts



The missions and future of Tara Oceans Expedition

Etienne Bourgois provides an up-date on the Tara Oceans Expedition: the program for the coming months before the return to Lorient, the missions and future of Tara.  

Read more ...

The 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

The 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race was notable for an unexpected winner of the coveted line honours trophy, a worthy overall winner and a slow passage home for the smaller boats.

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ORC RULES now available


The Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) announces its 2012 rules are now available for download online at www.orc.org/rules.htm. These rules include the International Measurement System (IMS), the ORC Rating Rules (ORC International and ORC Club), the “Green Book” of ORC Championship Rules, GP Class Rules, the ORC Speed Guide, and ORC Stability and Hydrostatic Datasheet.

The ORC VPP Documentation will be updated in early 2012 once the final version of the 2012 VPP is beta-tested fully and ready for release by the International Technical Committee (ITC), and the Offshore Special Regulations for safety are also revised and available from the International Sailing Federation at www.sailing.org/37605.php.

Except for some areas of the Southern Hemisphere such as Australia, Argentina and Brazil, these rules go into effect after 1 January 2012.

“We’re very pleased that the ORC staff have once again finished their revisions taken from the Annual General Meeting of the Congress last month to make these rules available by the first of the year,” said Bruno Finzi, Chairman of ORC. “These rules not only represent the 40 years of accumulated experience at ORC, but they also show through the submission process how we can help the system evolve to be most accurate and relevant for the modern offshore sailor.”

Changes to the VPP in the 2012 Rules include the following:

  • * New hydrodynamic treatments to address longitudinal crew weight positions, better calculations of L for manual single rudders, an output available for ‘light ship’ trim, and a better routine to treat declared displacements for ORC Club certificates;
  • * Better treatment of the shape function to evaluate spinnaker heights, and a new twist function for depowering jibs;
  • * A revised Dynamic Allowance reducing its effect on non-cruising boats;
  • * A new formulation for the offshore single-number scoring coefficients;
  • * Removal of anchor and chain weight gyradius credit;
  • * Windward/Leeward courses are calculated now without wind averaging.

Changes to the IMS include:

  • *Boats over 24 m in length may be measured with onboard equipment required for IMS but impractical for removal for measurement, with adjustments to freeboards and inclinations of about 1 degree allowed, subject to approval and verification by the Chief Measurer
  • * Updated definitions have been made of rigging features such as Inner Forestay, Fiber rigging, Mainsail furler, and Genoa furler;
  • * A clarification is made to prevent headsails and mainsails to be made with top girths greater than lower girths;
  • * Use of LCF is introduced for the position of the two poles in the inclining test.

Changes to ORC Rating Systems include:

  • * Spinnakers and Code 0’s may not be attached to the headstay;
  • * Use of spinnakers and jibs on poles is clarified;
  • * The definition of GPH is now used solely for reference purposes, not scoring.

Changes to the Green Book include:

  • * New standards needed to host ORC championship events, with a new Checklist to use for guidelines;
  • * New guidelines offered for Owner/Driver Trophies;
  • * New offshore race scoring options to include one long offshore race having a 1.5 points score weighting, which includes a short offshore race of 1.0 points weighting; or two separate offshore races scored as 1.0 points each;
  • * Measurement inspections will be conducted during events, with emphasis given to well-placed boats in the results.

The accumulated effect of these rule changes is minor – less than 0.5% on the ratings of most of the 2000 boats in the ORC test fleet – but they seek to further refine the accuracy of the rating system’s use worldwide. In 2011 nearly 8000 ORC International and ORC Club certificates were issued by rating authorities in 35 countries.

New and revised rules are indicated by margin bars in each rules documents, and a complete summary of the changes can be found at www.orc.org/minutes/AGM%202011%20-%20Changes%20to%20the%20Rules.pdf.

For more information on ORC news, events, local Rating Offices and ORC Sailor Services, visit the ORC website at www.orc.org.






Wild Oats XI’s position as the fastest boat in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race was being severely tested last night when at the 20:00 sched (local time, 09:00 UTC), Anthony Bell’s maxi Investec Loyal overhauled the five time line honours winner.
Overnight the wind the leaders have seen has clocked through 360 degrees.

Crossing the Bass Strait yesterday Investec Loyal’s track south was some 20-30 miles east of Wild Oats XI’s. But early evening, when the wind backed from the southwest into the southeast, both boats tacked southwest, Loyal getting the better of the shift, aggressively bearing away towards her opponent. Making 14 knots compared to Wild Oats XI’s 9 knots, within an hour Investec Loyal had pulled ahead by 6 miles.

Overnight the lead duo in the Rolex Sydney Hobart have continued to round the northwest quadrant of an area of high pressure that, since yesterday, has been shifting east out into the Tasman Sea. With the wind continuing to back into the northeast so the duo at around 01:00 local time this morning on this occasion gybed southwest, allowing them to close on the east coast of Tasmania.

“We've got a yacht race on our hands out here!” came back the succinct report from the Wild Oats XI nav team in the early hours. “We are high speed running - more wind shifts ahead.”
However at around 07:30 local time this morning, Wild Oats XI nosed her way back into the lead.
With another light patch off the southeast coast of Tasmania, so the boats remain still quite offshore, now with the wind back in the southwest, where it was yesterday afternoon.
With 72 miles to go to the finish off Hobart for Wild Oats XI at the latest sched, leading Investec Loyal by just 1.5 miles, ETAs into Hobart remain vague. The forecast is now showing the wind dying in Storm Bay and up the Derwent River leading up to Hobart – conditions which have destroyed many a winning yacht’s chances in previous years.
Under IRC handicap, the battle for the Tattersall’s Cup continues to rage, with the best hopes now back to the maxis. In particular Peter Millard’s maxi Lahana (the former Zana/Konica Minolta), holding third place on the water 62 miles astern of Wild Oats XI, is looking very strong. For at present across the race course conditions are generally light, with the exception of where Lahana, Stephen Ainsworth’s Loki and Alex Thomson’s IMOCA 60 Hugo Boss, are located off the east coast of Tasmania, where in 15-20 knot northerlies, Hugo Boss is recording the highest speed in the fleet of 17 knots.
photo: Daniel Foster/Rolex | XI, WILD OATS XI, Sail No: 10001, Owner: Bob Oatley, Design: Reichel/Pugh 30 Mtr, LOA (m): 30.5, State: NSW



Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

At 1640 local time (0540 UTC) the leading maxi boats in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race were just over half way across Bass Strait, having spent the day making reasonable progress in southwesterly winds that have been slowly dropping off from the 30 knots they saw last night and into this morning.

Ian ‘Fresh’ Burns, co-navigator on line honours leader Wild Oats XI reported this afternoon there being 10-15 knots of wind from the southwest and this was allowing them to point “around 20 degrees low” of the Tasman Light (marking the entrance to Storm Bay still some 250 miles away). As a result they were further east than they might otherwise be. “It has been pretty good so far. We haven’t been becalmed or even slowed down. This is pretty much the lightest wind we have seen so far this trip.”


However Burns added that they were preparing for a most difficult night ahead. “It is going to be really really tough because we have a patch of light wind to fight our way through to get to the Tasmanian coast.” This is likely to involve a hitch west, which will happen if, as forecast, the wind backs into the southeast. Burns says they will then be aiming for a narrow band of favourable northerlies off the Tasman coast. Alas, there is one problem. “Between us and them there is a large 50-60 mile wide stretch of no wind and how we negotiate that and how that moves is really going to decide what we get.”

In addition to this since leaving Sydney Harbour yesterday Wild Oats XI has had a constant thorn in her side in the form of Anthony Bell’s Investec Loyal maxi. Over the course of today Loyal has dropped back to being 18 miles astern (in terms of distance to finish) but this is because she has been heading further east, with around 20 miles west-east split between the two yacht’s tracks this afternoon.

“It is going to be really difficult,” continued Burns. “Knowing the guys on Loyal as well as we do - Stan Honey and Michael Coxon - we know they will be throwing everything at us if it goes light, because when you are leading and the wind stops, the boat behind has a bunch of options to go around either side. I can see those guys plotting and scheming all evening to put us in a tough spot, but we will all be working our absolute hardest to keep things going. The guys are right now all concentrating on getting some rest while the boat is sailing along nicely to make sure we are in good shape tonight to throw everything at them that we need to.”

Tonight will be a lottery, or “nervous times” as Burns puts it. A couple of knots of difference in wind strength with a maxi can mean the difference of stuck at 0 knots or making 5 knots. Burns anticipates their arrival in Hobart tomorrow night before sunset, however if tonight does not go well then it could be Thursday morning, in which case Wild Oats XI’s seventh Rolex Sydney Hobart could also be her slowest ever.

Preparing for Bass Strait

Meanwhile the bulk of the fleet, from the 52 footers back, have spent the afternoon tight into the New South Wales coast. This is to enable them to set out into the powerful southwesterlies as they embark on their crossing of Bass Straight tonight, on the best possible course.

“Right now we have got about 16-18 knots and we are close reaching, with the no2 and full main, approaching Gabo Island, about another 40 miles from here,” reported Dirk Johnson, navigator on Rives Potts’ 1969-built Carina.  “We have a number of boats around us, all paralleling each other, waiting for the southwesterly breeze to come around the corner.”

According to Johnson, last night was bumpy, but in terms of wind strength he doesn’t remember seeing more than 29 knots. “It was a little uncomfortable. There were some bigger waves than we are used to seeing, but everyone did good and we held on and we had a good night.”

Johnson was looking forward to getting into the favourable current offshore tonight, but anticipated the wind generally getting lighter while a large meteorological question mark hangs over the rest of the race. As he states: “The situation changes dramatically from day to night and depending on where you cross the Strait, at different points on the Strait you can have different conditions. We are ready for everything I guess.”

While earlier the maxis were leading under IRC, as they have slowed so the smaller boats have pulled up the handicap standings. With Carina – which just four and a half months ago on the opposite side of the world, won her class in the Rolex Fastnet Race - up to third, so Roger Hickman’s 1985 Farr 43 Wild Rose is back in front again, from Stephen Ainsworth’s much tipped Reichel Pugh 62, Loki in second. The Beneteau 40 footers - Lunchtime Legend, Balance, Two True and Victoire - currently just north of Eden this afternoon, remain in the top 10.

Jessica Watson

Fans of 18 year old Australian solo round the world sailor Jessica Watson will also be pleased to hear that her teenage team on Ella Bache is the top Sydney 38 under IRC (albeit fourth in class). Her crew of eight, including fellow youth solo round the world sailor, Britain’s Mike Perham, have been training for the Rolex Sydney Hobart for the last three months, a schedule that included a dry run, sailing their pink boat from Sydney to Hobart and back three weeks ago.

“We are quite excited because the forecast is similar to the forecast we had for our practice run,” says Watson, shortly before leaving yesterday. “So we’ve experienced almost those exact same conditions.”

Watson and her crew are aiming to be the youngest crew to complete the Rolex Sydney Hobart. However Watson says she has higher expectations. “We put a lot of time and energy into this, so we’ll be here to perform as well as possible particularly within our own division.”

This afternoon has seen four more retirements, leaving 81 boats still racing. The GP42 Duende pulled out after crewman Tom Wormald suffered a dislocated shoulder and was dropped ashore. Later Sam Chan’s Hong Kong-based TP52 Ffreefire 52, skippered by Anthony Day, headed back to Sydney after suffering mainsail problems. Finally Matthew Percy’s Beneteau First 44.7 Alacrity suffered rigging damage and was putting into Eden while Jonathan Stone’s Davidson 34 Illusion had hull damage and was returning to Sydney.


How To Follow Event
Further information on the Rolex Sydney Hobart may be found at www.rolexsydneyhobart.com

Νew President of Volvo Penta

Björn Ingemanson new President of Volvo Penta

Björn Ingemanson, 53, has been appointed new President of Volvo Penta. Björn Ingemanson is currently President of Volvo Trucks’ International Division and will assume his new position on April 1, 2012, when he will succeed the current President Göran Gummeson, who will retire next year.

Björn Ingemanson has a long history at the Volvo Group and his past positions include CFO of Volvo Trucks and European head of the Group’s customer financing company, Volvo Financial Services. Volvo Penta’s current President Göran Gummeson, who turns 65 in February, will remain as President until March 31, 2012.

Björn Ingemansson will not be replaced in his current role since Volvo Trucks’ international division will be moved up into the new regional truck organizations in sales and marketing in conjunction with the introduction of a new organization at  year-end.

Following the reorganization, Volvo Penta will remain a business area in the Volvo Group, with responsibility for development and sales of engines and drive systems for marine and industrial applications.