MIAMI (CBS4) – Having left St. Martin (French West Indies) on May 23rd, the catamaran reached her first 2013 American stopover on June 1st after 9 days of solar navigation in weather conditions below seasonal averages.
This stage marks the beginning of PlanetSolar’s American tour and, most importantly, the launch of the “PlanetSolar DeepWater” scientific expedition. This mission will allow researchers from the University of Geneva to take advantage of the exclusive features of the largest solar boat in the world to conduct a unique campaign of physical and biological measurements along the Gulf Stream.
The boat and her crew are docked in Miami from June 1st to June 6th, a crucial stopover because a final phase of instrument testing will be conducted here before setting off in conquest of one of the most important regulators of European and North American climates.
Through the month of August, the interdisciplinary team of scientists will travel over 8,000 kilometers along the Gulf Stream, between Miami (United States) and Bergen (Norway), via New York, Boston, St. John’s (Canada), and Reykjavik (Iceland).
This unique campaign will lead researchers to “navigate along the Gulf Stream and collect scientific data, from both water and air, in order to better understand complex interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere as well as the role of these interactions in climate change” said Professor Martin Beniston.
The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar’s Captian Gerard D’Aboville gave CBS4 a tour as the ship while it was docked at the Sunset Harbour Yacht Club in Miami.
“It went all around the word only with solar energy,” said D’Aboville.
Now it’s making a world-wide trip a second time for scientific research in the Gulf Stream. The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar will significantly contribute to an unprecedented data collection of this ocean current, since the absence of pollution emissions will guarantee that the atmospheric measurements won’t be distorted by residues associated with fuel combustion.
The boat also has numerous advantages, such as a world-renowned navigational experience and the fact that she can load her crew plus up to 4 scientists on board. D’Avoville said he was excited about starting this measurement campaign.
“Up to this point we were in transit in a sense. In a few days we will begin this scientific expedition—the raison d’être of our trip and life onboard will be organized entirely around the measurements that the University of Geneva researchers will carry out. The entire crew is highly motivated and is getting involved in the final assemblage of the measurement instruments.”
In addition, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar will sail to the northernmost part of the Atlantic for the first time.
“Navigation conditions will change. We are taking leave of the trade winds that have been accompanying us since the Canary Islands to travel along the roving Gulf Stream, first along the American coast, then across the Atlantic,” explained D’Aboville.
Moreover, this Miami stopover is also the first opportunity to demonstrate to Americans the practical applications of a ship propelled uniquely by photovoltaic energy.