Solar-powered catamaran skirts the Somali pirate zone
by Raphaël Domjan/Sail-World Cruising on 10 Nov 2011
Turanor Planet Solar, the extraordinary solar-powered yacht making its way around the world, is just about to cross the deadly Pirate Zone - now swelled to include most of the West Indian Ocean - hoping to reach the Red Sea and thence to the Mediterranean.
Planet Solar - newly maintained and rearing to go. Next, the Indian Ocean and its pirates .. .
The craft had been a year at sea when it arrived in Singapore for maintenance, which has now been carried out, and Raphaël Domjan, Founder & Expedition leader of the huge vessel, takes the story from here:
After a stopover for almost a month, we continue our journey to Monaco. The crossing of the Strait of Malacca was another premiere for solar energy. It went well and we had good conditions: we benefited a lot from the supporting winds and sunny days.
There were more people on board of PlanetSolar during our first short journey to Thailand: our communication manager Rachel, our cameraman Olivier, and our new crew member Oliver, the photographer and responsible one for logistics.
Despite the severe floods which prevail at that moment in Thailand, our short stopover in Phuket was a great success. Several individuals like the Swiss ambassador came to admire the boat. We also enjoyed the beautiful scenery in this fantastic region.
At the moment we are going to the west towards the sun in the direction of Sri Lanka. This part of the journey on the high seas of the Gulf of Bengal will be quite difficult. This will be our last long crossing during this journey around the world.
Thereafter, we will sail to the western coast of India until we reach Bombay. Then we will sail along the coast of Pakistan and Iran and reach the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf around Christmas.
More information about this ambitious project, which plans to make Turanor Planet Solar the first solar-powered yacht ever to circumnavigate the world, can be obtained on their www.planetsolar.org!website.
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