sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : Gulf of Aden crossing and a pirate rendezvous - PlanetSolar
Gulf of Aden crossing and a pirate rendezvous - PlanetSolar

'They’ve made it through - PlanetSolar in Djbouti'    .

The crew of Turanor PlanetSolar, the largest solar-powered yacht on the planet and aiming to be the first to complete a circumnavigation, now break their radio silence to give the story of their trepidatious journey through the Gulf of Aden. Here, Raphaël Domjan, co-founder and expedition leader, tells the story of their preparations, their training, their security force on board, their confrontation with suspected pirates and their safe journey into the Red Sea:

The sad reality of the Gulf of Aden today -  .. .  

Already a month ago, we were writing our last blog post before crossing the Gulf of Aden in order to reach Africa and the Red Sea. Since 2006, we were aware that we would have to sail through the Gulf of Aden if we were to successfully achieve our journey around the world. We were hoping that the situation would settle down, but quite the contrary happened: the area became more dangerous almost everywhere west of the Indian Ocean.

To ensure our safety, we sought the help of Christophe Keckeis, former chief of the Swiss Army. In collaboration with Gérard d’Aboville, the captains of the PlanetSolar and myself have designed a security concept enabling us to cross this dangerous area in the best possible conditions for our security.

PlanetSolar - ready, set, off to the Gulf if Aden -  .. .  

We have selected and mandated a private security firm employing exclusively former soldiers and elite forces from the French Army. Hence, 6 men trained and used to that kind of missions joined us on board in Abu Dhabi.

First, we had to make the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar almost impossible to access. We installed barbed wire at the sensitive areas, notably on the struts and on the back marina. PlanetSolar actually transformed into a bunker … After official 'good bye' with the team of the Swiss embassy in Abu Dhabi and its ambassador, Wolfgang Bruehlart, we discreetly left the Emirate Palace Marina for Djibouti. The start of a long navigation that would last 1800 nautical miles (3300 km) without stop.

On board we have now 4 crew members, Patrick, Jens, Christian and myself, as well as 6 men responsible for our security, and Oliver, our cameraman who we will disembark at our planned rendezvous point after the strait of Hormuz, where another boat is waiting for us with weapons and ammunitions.

During the night they travelled invisibly -  .. .  

We sail with caution. We make sure to keep as much energy as possible in our batteries in case we would need to make evasive manoeuvres. There are two men keeping watch on the bridge and one watching our backs. Everybody is very focused on its job. The farther our sight, the better we will be able to react and ensure our safety. We are using all our detection systems, radar and radar detector, night vision, etc. By night, we are sailing silently and without lights. We are almost invisible. Only the phosphorescent plankton stands out in the night during our navigations.

We have to account for the weather while keeping a reasonable distance from the coast. Having weapons on board, we cannot reach the coast of Oman , and Yemen in particular, where we would be immediately arrested. We are organising several exercises. We have to wear flak jackets and helmets. The men in charge of our security have also trained using live ammunition. It was impressive to see the spray of water resulting from the fire arms, the cartridges falling on our solar panels and the noise… Here we are, this time, it is for real. This is a sad first, the first firing from a solar boat. Let us hope that this will remain a drill only.

Necessary security for the dangerous voyage -  .. .  

This pirate skiff was scared off when the security guards showed themselves -  .. .  
Thursday, February 16, 0845, a suspect ship is moving toward us… I am keeping watch, we keep it in sight as well as follow it on the radar. I notify Patrick and we change our course to see how it will react. We are less than a mile away and we are observing each other. Thanks to a powerful telephoto lens, I am able to take a good quality picture. It seems to be a mother ship with pirates on board. To be that close of such individuals is strange scary feeling. Finally, we show that we are protected and well equipped and, after observing and carefully avoiding each other, this suspect boat continue its way opposite to ours. We will not see it again, all the better.

Besides this dodgy situation, our crossing is going well, the weather conditions are rather good even though we have sail through stronger streams and the wind is pushing us less than expected. This is one of our longest navigation, 20 days between Abu Dhabi and Djibouti. In Djibouti, we resupply PlanetSolar for sailing up the Red Sea, we organise our mail to be dispatched, we do some laundry. It is here as well that we meet Erwann and Gérard d’Aboville again and that we say good bye to Patrick. We will see him again in a few weeks in the Mediterranean Sea to cross together the finish line of this first world tour with solar energy.

After this short stopover, we headed North to pass the dangerous straight of Bab-el-Mandeb and we arrived in the Red Sea. We are the first solar ship to sail in those waters and the first to try its crossing. Then, after a month, we say good bye to our security team that we disembark in high sea 600 km North to Djibouti. Those men were our guardian angels during this difficult crossing. Thank you all Jordi, Mike, Frank, Jeff, Yves, and Marc !

We now have to sail up the Red Sea to reach the Suez Canal. The weather conditions will be dodgy and, for the moment, it is impossible to get close to the coast of Ethiopia (sic). It is too dangerous.

To learn more about the expedition and what Turanor PlanetSolar is trying to achieve, visit their website.


by Raphaël Domjan

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=94579

11:23 PM Mon 5 Mar 2012GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
Environment and the ocean

Related News Stories:

02 Mar 2012  New theory: Neanderthals were great sailors
11 Feb 2012  America pauses on E15 - study bill passes
03 Feb 2012  Whales, whales and more whales in Southern California
17 Jan 2012  Solar ship PlanetSolar takes security forces for Gulf of Aden crossing
15 Jan 2012  Adventure sailing and marine protection - OceansWatch's winning combo
14 Jan 2012  Whale Wars - Australian protesters transferred from Japanese whaler
09 Jan 2012  Marina sets example with solar farm
07 Jan 2012  Plastic pollution: Have you caught a 'bagfish' lately?
27 Dec 2011  Christmas Day Clash: Sea Shepherd Drones find Japanese Whaling Fleet
24 Dec 2011  World's largest solar yacht skirts pirate waters, arrives Qatar
MORE STORIES ...






News - USA and the World

Volvo Ocean Race: Leading the Charge - your VOR Form Guide by Ben Gladwell, Boating New Zealand - www.stu
For the first time, the Volvo Ocean Race is to be contested in a strict, one-design class. The emphasis is shifted from who has the best boat to suit the conditions to who has the best men - or women - onboard. ... [more]  

Three America's Cup sailors have been named in the top 20 sports earners, in a list published in the New Zealand Herald this week. Topping the list is Sir Russell Coutts with a claimed earnings of $13million. He is just a $1million ahead of an English Premier League player, Winston Reid, and motor racing ace, Scott Dixon. All Black captain, Ritchie McCaw is ranked #5. ... [more]  

Melges 32 World Championship - Prepare for off-the-charts action by International Melges 32 Class Association
Entering its sixth World Championship season, the International Melges 32 Class Association has raced at arguably every world-class venue on the globe, has seen the most respected pro and amateur sailors on its courses and most importantly, learned valuable lessons of what owners and sailors want so that the Melges 32 continues to be strongest one design grand prix sportboat on the planet. ... [more]  

With light winds continuing to dominate on day six of the Davidoff Cool Water Sylt PWA Super Grand Slam, the decision was made to begin the Reno SUP Challenge during the afternoon, which saw twelve teams battling it out in heats of two for a place in tomorrow’s final, to keep the crowds entertained. ... [more]  

Photographer Carlo Borlenghi was on deck for day three of Les Voiles de Saint Tropez to capture these stunning images of the action. ... [more]  

The IFDS Rankings for Paralympic Classes have been released. It's a British 1-2 at the top of the 2.4mR Rankings with Megan Pascoe at world number one and Helena Lucas at world number two. 2014 World Champion Heiko Kroger (GER) sits at world number seven but counts less regattas than those above him. ... [more]  

The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) and Rolex are happy to reveal the Nominees for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards 2014. ISAF received nominations for the 2014 Awards from across the world for sailors representing all aspects of the sport. ... [more]  

Like the name implies, the goal of the boater-funded BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is to educate boaters about safe and clean boating. The Foundation is looking to fund Grassroots Grant projects that utilize new, innovative approaches that encourage safe and clean boating among the boating public. ... [more]  

The 35th edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race is fast approaching and appears likely to rewrite the record books. Entries are shortly due to close and the Royal Malta Yacht Club is already bracing itself for the biggest fleet to grace its island home since the Great Siege of 1565. The Ottoman Armada of 450 years ago was recorded to be 193 in strength. ... [more]  

The Notice of Race for ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, scheduled for 25-31 January 2015, has been released. On-line entry will open on 10 November 2014. The deadline for priority entries with regards to quotas is 5 December 2014. Entries must be received no later than 5 January 2015 to qualify for early entry. ... [more]  

A stellar list of just under 100 broadcasters has been lined up to showcase the world’s toughest ocean challenge, the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15, to a new global audience of fans. The 12th edition has offered channels a line-up of a new 39-part weekly half-hour show plus special short bespoke features. ... [more]  

Photographer Eugenia Bakunova of leading Russian website www.mainsail.ru was on the water at Les Voiles de Saint Tropez on the French Riveria , and provided this gallery of images of the classics and other yachts racing on Day 2 ... [more]  

New Ragamuffin 100 emerges from the hull build in Nowra *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz
Ragamuffin 100, which started out as a modified Elliott design, Maximus, is another supermaxi undergoing a major rebuild or retrofit. Across the Tasman, the new Ragamuffin 100 will be virtually a new boat with a a new hull design by Andy Dovell / Syd Fischer / David Witt. The hull mould and shell was built by Innovation Composites at the Nowra facility. ... [more]  

Southern Spars ships the world's tallest masts by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz
Leading world sparmaker, Southern Spars, has shipped two spars for a new 85 metre ketch. The superyacht will carry two 93metre masts which will be the world’s tallest rigs on one gigantic yacht. ... [more]  

Professional sailing photographers from all over the world are invited to join the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image award 2014. Started in 2009, the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image is the world’s premier photography competition dedicated to the sport of sailing. The prestigious trophy will be awarded during the World Yacht Racing Forum in Barcelona, on December 11, 2014. ... [more]  

David Kellett (AUS) is to be awarded the ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy which honours an individual for their outstanding voluntary contribution to the sport of sailing. The ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy, first presented in 1988 in memory of Beppe Croce, the ISAF President from 1969 to 1986, will be presented to Kellett at the 2014 ISAF Annual Conference in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. ... [more]  

After being graced with plenty of late summer sunshine during the opening days of the event, more autumnal weather moved in on the fifth day of the Davidoff Cool Water Sylt PWA Super Grand Slam with grey skies and infrequent showers. Unfortunately though the light winds continued as the sailors endured another lay day. ... [more]  

In a move that is expected to benefit recreational boaters, on Oct. 22 the US Coast Guard will drop the current life jacket type code scheme -- Type I, II, III, IV and V -- that has been used for years to label and differentiate the types of life jackets and their specific use. ... [more]  

Kate Nota and her team onboard the J/111 Odyssey won the Ripple Effect Short Video Contest, which was part of the Ida Lewis Distance Race this summer (August 15). ... [more]  

The largest Laser World Championship in history will be taking place on the south coast of France when 515 sailors, representing 36 different countries, begin racing on October 5 to open the 2014 Audi Laser Masters’ World Championships. The Laser remains one of the best and most popular boats worldwide in which to enjoy the sport of sailing. ... [more]  

Carlo Borlenghi was back on the water for day two at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez to capture these images. ... [more]  

It has been an interesting journey so far for the Chinese team in the Volvo Ocean Race, Dongfeng Race Team. Approximately 10 months ago this team set out on a mission to select and train Chinese recruits in the hope that they would be ‘race ready’ for the start of leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race fans can now carry the world’s toughest ocean race in their pocket, thanks to the launch of a new official mobile app. Developed for both iOS and Android systems, the app is available for download from the App Store and Google Play now – and boasts a host of exciting features which will allow users to be closer to the on-water adventure than ever before. ... [more]  

Race teams planning next season’s calendar could do worse than sign up for the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series 2015 which runs from 16-24 January. This event, which kick starts the Caribbean race season, was re-launched in 2014 with a new race format and plenty of record-breaking opportunities. It proved such a success that an even bigger entry is expected in 2015. ... [more]  

Photographer Eugenia Bakunova of leading Russian website www.mainsail.ru was on the water at Les Voiles de Saint Tropez on the French Riveria , and provided this gallery of images of the classics and other yachts racing ... [more]  

Sunset+Vine|APP, the Oxford-based unit of the multi-award winning UK independent TV sports production and media company Sunset+Vine, has helped ISAF smash all previous broadcaster records for the recent Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships. ... [more]  

2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup - Melbourne - Don’t forget to enter the ISAF Sailing World Cup – Melbourne. There are only two days left to take advantage of the discounted entry price offer. ... [more]  

2014 12 Metre North American Championships - Two days of a northerly (first strong, then light) and one day of a building southwesterly put six 12 Metre yachts to the test at their North American Championships, which were held off Newport, R.I. over September 26-28. Gunther Buerman’s (Newport, R.I.) KZ-3 and Dennis Williams’ (Hobe Sound, Fla.) Victory ’83 defended their titles ... [more]  

The waiting game continued on day four of the Davidoff Cool Water Sylt PWA Super Grand Slam as the light winds continued. Over the course of the day a few sailors took the opportunity to make the most of the small waves on offer, either surfing or SUPping. After spending the day on hold the sailors were released at 4:30pm. ... [more]  

After Gmunden, Austria, in 2011 and Cala de' Medici, Italy, in 2012 and after a pained second place, same points with the Portogues 'Credite Egs' in Portosin, Spain, last year, the Italian crew coming from Puglia 'Euz II Monella Vagabonda', with Sandro Montefusco at the helm and his brother Paolo as a tactician, confirms for the third time the Platu 25 World Championship title. ... [more]  

Carlo Borlenghi was on deck for the first day of competition at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez to capture these images. ... [more]  

Photographer Ingrid Abery was on site for day one of racing at the 2014 Les Voiles de Saint Tropez to capture these images. ... [more]  

The final day of the 2014 U.S. Team Racing Championship ended up being a half day of sailing due to a complete shutdown of the wind. However, the fleet completed enough races to count Gold Round Robin 3 and crown Ladies and Gentlemen as the back-to-back Team Racing Champions. ... [more]  

National Sailing Hall of Fame inducts eight
2016 ISAF Youth Match Racing Worlds - Bid guidelines now published
Volvo Ocean Race: Last medical training for the onboard sailors +Video
2014 Melges 20 Pacific Coast Championship - Images by Erik Simonson
J/105 North American Champs- Rod Wilmer and Terry McLaughlin succeeds
Extreme Sailing Series: Burling and Tuke back on board for Nice Act
2014 Buddy Melges Challenge - Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen wins US event
America's Cup: Oracle Team USA's AC72 takes to the streets
Alpari World Match Racing Tour - Canfield wins first Dutch Match Cup
Pantaenius and Camper & Nicholsons Marinas become strategic partners
Kite Foil Gold Cup Australia 2014 – Day two video
Bart's Bash: Update and Video - Information overload!
2014 U.S. Team Racing Championship - Day 2
2014 Buddy Melges Challenge - USA leads Denmark in Sheboygan final
2014 U.S. Adult Sailing Championship - Benz Faget wins third mallory
J/105 North American Champ - Wilmer/McLaughlin team maintain advantage
Images from Cannes: Régates Royales – Trophée Panerai
Régates Royales – Trophée Panerai: Cannes at its best
Dutch Match Cup - Gilmour keeps clean sheet in Lelystad
Dutch Match Cup - GAC Pindar through to fifth consecutive semi-final
Hobie 16 Open North Americans and 2015 Pan Am Games qualifier overall   
Volvo Ocean Race - Frostad on Boat Design and final changes (Part II) *Feature   
Volvo Ocean Race 10 days to go – Frostad on cultural change (Part I) *Feature   
2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race on NBC Sports Network in the U.S.   
2014 J/24 World Championship - Will Welles’ Cougar clinches   
2014 Buddy Melges Challenge - Meldgaard and Le Berre ready for semis   
2014 U.S. Adult Sailing Championship - Day 3   
2014 U.S. Team Racing Championship - Day 1 + Video   
America's Cup: Then and now - Coutts on why Oracle won, and the Venue   
Byte CII World Sailing Championship comes to Royal Varuna, Thailand   
Dutch Match Cup: Canfield wins Qualifying, six set for Quarters battle   
12 Metre North Americans - A blast from the America’s Cup past   
2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup qualification system published   
Volvo Ocean Race: Mapfre named as Spanish team sponsor + Video   
Extreme Sailing Series returns to Nice for the penultimate Act of 2014   
ISAF invites bids for 2016 Women's Match Racing World Championship   
2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup, Melbourne - Teaming up   
Mascalzone Latino Jr. named 2014 Melges 20 European Ranking Champion   
2014 Buddy Melges Challenge - Le Berre keeps winning in Sheboygan   
Hobie 16 Open North American Champ and Pan Am Games Qualifier - Day 4   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT