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World's largest solar craft heads through the pirate zone

by Nancy Knudsen on 8 Feb 2012
Abu Dhabi ahoy! .. .
After stopping for a few days in Doha, Qatar, for Christmas, PlanetSolar crossed the Persian Gulf and sailed toAbu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, where they were the guests of honour at the World Future Energy Summit 2012. This was a contrasting prelude to what they have now undertaken, the crossing of the Gulf of Aden, through the deadly pirate zone to the Red Sea, silent for the journey.

Christophe Keckeis, their appointed Chief of Security officer, went on board PlanetSolar for several days to put in place the security measures necessary to their crossing of the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

As expedition leader Raphaël Domjan observed, 'Working with someone as skilled and experienced as Christophe is a real pleasure. With him, we are safe.'

As they begin to cross the danger zone, during which there will be no further word from the great solar craft, Raphaël signs off with the following in his blog:

I close my eyes and I see myself dreaming again about this adventure a la Jules Verne on the world map lying in front of me. I was imagining what stories and encounters were waiting for us during this solar navigation around our blue planet. At this time in 2005, sea piracy was not as significant and spread as it is today.

But we already knew we would have to cross the Gulf of Aden that is considered today as the world's most dangerous waters. We are now at the gates of Africa, continent that we had left more than a year ago by sailing through the Straits of Gibraltar before crossing the Atlantic Ocean. The Mediterranean Sea is very close again...

We have always updated our log book on a regular basis, but for the first time since 27 September 2010, we will have to remain silent and stay out of sight as much as possible for our own sake and the sake of our solar adventure.

Hence, starting tomorrow, there will be no daily blog post and PlanetSolar's location will not be displayed on our website anymore until further notice. We will see again at the beginning of March when we will be back in safe seas: in the warm waters of the Red Sea. We will then have many adventures and memories to tell and to share with you !

Crossing the Gulf of Aden will be one of the most difficult and dangerous navigation of our fantastic adventure. We are ready, technically and psychologically. We have already been totally focused on this crossing and the mission ahead of us for the past few days.

I thank the whole team of PlanetSolar, in particular Christophe Keckeis, our chief of security. Without him, this crossing would not be possible. I also thank our partners and the Swiss confederation for its support and the French government for its help to our joint adventure.

We will see you then at the beginning of March for new solar adventures in the Red Sea.

To learn more about the PlanetSolar expedition, go to their!website.

Bakewell-White Yacht DesignNaiadSouthern Spars - 100

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