A solar-powered catamaran set sail from Lorient in Brittany, France this Sunday to embark on a five-year voyage around the world. The aim of the trip is to highlight the high levels of plastic pollution currently floating in the planet’s oceans. During the voyage, the entirely self-sufficient boat called Race for Water, will undertake several scientific investigations, including one which will measure the impact of microplastics on marine ecosystems.
The 35m-long vessel, which is fitted with 500m2 of solar panels, will sail to Bermuda for the 2017 Americas Cup, before heading to Tokyo for the 2020 Olympic Games. The boat also has a high-altitude towing kite, which helps it reach a top speed of nine knots. After Japan it will make its way to Dubai for Expo 2020, aided by the 25 hydrogen storage tanks fitted on board by Swiss Hydrogen.
C’est reparti pour un tour ! Race for Water Odyssée met le cap sur une nouvelle expédition mondiale au service de l’océan, la science et de la transition énergétique en partenariat avec SwissHydrogen. Nouveau bateau, nouvel équipage et nouvelles solutions pour un seul et même défi : la préservation de l’eau. Départ prévu : avril 2017 ! #raceforwaterodyssey #saveouroceans #marineplasticpollution #cleantech
An earlier trip by the Race for Water team had found that a global clean-up of the world’s oceans was no longer a realistic goal, so the crew on this new boat will promote new ways of tackling the pollution problem using innovation and new technology. Greenpeace believes that between five and 12 million tonnes of plastic waste are added to the world’s oceans annually.
A post shared by Race For Water Foundation (@raceforwater) on Apr 9, 2017 at 12:40pm PDT
The catamaran has two on-board laboratories that will host different university research teams as the trip progresses. Area of particular scientific interest will include the Gulf of Mexico, the South China Sea, the Gulf of Oman and the Caribbean Sea.
Première prise en main du catamaran Race for Water pour l’équipage hier à Lorient. La prochaine Odyssée se prépare au service de l’océan, de la science et de la transition énergétique. Départ prévu : avril 2017. Suivez-nous ! First take-over of the Race for Water catamaran by the crew yesterday in Lorient. The next Odyssey in the service of the ocean, science and energy transition is getting ready. Expected departure: April 2017. Follow us ! #r4wo #raceforwater #saveouroceans #plasticpollution #cleantech
Speaking about the voyage, the ship’s captain Gérard d’Aboville said: ‘I am delighted to contribute to a new scientific expedition in the service of the oceans. Setting out on this solar/hydrogen hybrid boat and getting it around safely is a nautical and technological challenge that I’m delighted to be taking part in. The enthusiasm that the catamaran generates at every stopover promises some fruitful exchanges between all those aware of the changes in the maritime world.’
Get the top travel news stories delivered straight to your inbox every weekday by signing up to our newsletter.