sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery

 

Sail-World.com : Sir Richard Branson sets sights deep

Sir Richard Branson sets sights deep

'Sir Richard Branson with the Virgin Oceanic deep-sea sub.'    Virgin Oceanic    Click Here to view large photo

Sir Richard Branson will revive the spirit and ambitions of his friend and fellow adventurer, Steve Fossett with exploration of the deepest points of the world’s oceans, in the high-tech submersible 'Deep Flight Challenger'.

The concept was just four weeks from ocean trials when Fossett disappeared in September of 2007. It had been thoroughly tested at US Department of Defense facilities and was deemed strong enough to withstand water pressure of up to 20,000 pounds per square inch, more even than the 16,000 PSI pressure known to be found at the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

Designed by Graham Hawkes, the Deep Flight Challenger was originally commissioned by the late Steve Fossett. Branson said at its media launch last week, he 'intends to finish what his friend started and then go on to help explore and unlock the wonders of the oceans still unknown to humankind or science'.

Virgin Oceanic submersible. -  Virgin Oceanic?nid=82170  


But unlike other Virgin ventures, Virgin Oceanic aims to explore, not commercialize, the ocean depths.
The Virgin Oceanic project will include five dives over the next two years to the deepest part of each of Earth’s five oceans. The first dive will be piloted by Chris Welsh, into the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean, the deepest part of Earth’s seas.

The single person sub has an operating depth of 37,000ft (7 miles); it is capable of operating for 24 hours with aid. It is made from 8,000 pounds of carbon fiber and titanium. Unlike traditional submarines which use ballast to dive, it is a winged design, and will fly downward into the depths.

Chris Walsh, first Virgin Oceanic pilot. -  Virgin Oceanic?nid=82170  


The second dive will be bottom of the Puerto Rico Trench, and that will be piloted by Sir Richard Branson himself. This trench is the deepest spot in the Atlantic Ocean at over than 5 miles in depth.

Subsequent dives will carry a human pilot to the bottom of the Arctic, Southern and Indian oceans. Says Sir Richard: 'Less than 3% of the seafloor has been explored, and none of the deepest points of the planet have ever been explored beyond a brief visit to one. The opportunities to see and learn from these dives are monumental!'
Prior to its first deep dive, the submarine will undergo three months of pressure testing. It was noted that submarines quartz cockpit 'dome' will be under 13 million pounds of pressure, which is the weight of three space shuttles. An implosion in the depths would be fatal for the occupant.

This will be the first time since 1960 that humans have seen the Mariana Trench. On that occasion, the bathyscaphe, Trieste (which moved straight up and down like a hot air balloon) briefly touched down carrying co-pilots Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard. This time, Chris Welsh will not only to reach the deepest point on Earth, but then be able to 'fly' along the bottom of the Trench an additional 10 kilometres (nearly 6 miles).

Although the Mariana Trench is the most explored in detail, its unique combination of deep-sea features in a relatively confined area make it a rich scientific target. From blue serpentine mud volcanoes, to 700º hydrothermal vents, to a subduction zone where the Pacific plate is diving under the Philippine plate – the Mariana Trench has a lot to keep researchers busy.

In addition to the sub itself, there will also be a number of autonomous landers that will collect further scientific data and samples as well as capture footage of the submersible as it passes by.

Microbiologist Dr. Doug Bartlett of Scripps Institution of Oceanography and other scientists are keen to carry out tests on the water and bottom sediments the landers will bring back. The landers will be armed with bait, motion-activated cameras and lights, as well as sampling equipment to collect water and bottom sediments. The landers will be deployed ahead of the dive and will self-release their ballast – returning to the surface a day after the dive. With sonar locators, the sub should be able to rendezvous with the landers and see what marine life they have attracted.

The water samples they will obtain are not merely a litre or two, but the product of a pump and filter assembly that will circulate 20,000 liters through a filter fine enough to separate microbial and viral particles from the stream. Thus, a far greater amount of material is brought back and sample volumes are large enough to do DNA testing. The Scripps team will study samples brought back from the depths and look for any novel organisms as well as potentially beneficial enzymes or genes.


The Mother ship
Virgin Oceanic’s Chief Pilot, Chris Welsh, upon meeting adventurer Steven Fossett, was greatly impressed by the sight of Fossett’s giant racing catamaran, the 125' Cheyenne.

Fossett had conceived of a record-setting solo submarine dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean. The project would be supported by converting his 125' racing catamaran, Cheyenne, into the mothership and support vessel. It was only fitting since Cheyenne was built to (and did) shatter sailing speed records. Now she would help break another record. Chris was instantly captivated and set his sights on completing Steve’s mission to the deepest part of the planet. He also expanded the project from a single solo dive to the current goal of five oceans, five dives, exploring the deepest depths in each of the five oceans of the world.

Virgin Oceanic mother ship Cat. -  Virgin Oceanic?nid=82170   Click Here to view large photo


Instead of just crossing the Pacific to Guam and coming back, it is likely the cat will be covering over 25,000 miles of open ocean over the next two years.

It will be Spartan conditions onboard for the crew. The catamaran has berths for a racing crew of 12 (six in each hull). The 'inside' of the cat is all within the two narrow hulls so passageways in the ship are just shoulder-width with bunks laid to one side of the hull. The hulls are mirror images of each other, with one housing a state-of-the-art navigation station and the other a minimal galley.

Out on the deck it is far from being cramped. In fact, it feels more like being underneath a giant trapeze. Slung between each hull and underneath the special sling for the sub there are large nets known as the trampoline which crew must brave to be able to move around the catamaran.

A crane rises above the mid-point, standing by to lift the 3,600 kg (8,000 lb) sub off its rolling cradle, which can slide back out of the way, and lower the sub straight down into the water through a hole in the deck, also known as 'the moon pool'.

Generators on board as well as power systems on the engines provide power to enable satellite navigation, lights, scientific equipment, music, and of course the communications systems that will allow crew to send updates from the cat as it journeys around each of the planet’s oceans.

More at www.virginoceanic.com



See the teaser here:




More at www.virginoceanic.com




by Jeni Bone

  

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

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=82170

5:16 AM Thu 7 Apr 2011 GMT






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


News - USA and the World









Audi Melges 20 World Championship - Final race to decide champion by International Audi Melges 20 Class Association,










Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show - 13 things to See and do by Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show,




Volvo Ocean Race: Update from Team Vestas Wind in images by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz,








Audi Melges 20 World Championship - Classic Garda conditions on day 2 by International Audi Melges 20 Class Association,
























Audi Melges 20 World Championship - Alessandro Rombelli's 'STIG' leads by International Audi Melges 20 Class Association,












Audi Melges 20 World Championship - Day 1 images by Max Ranchi
Clagett Regatta names first Executive Director
Transatlantic Race - Fleet expanded for 2015 edition
IFDS World Championship overall
Anna Tunnicliffe: Alinghi finishes second - Extreme Sailing Series
2014 18' Skiff International Regatta - Day 2
2014 Audi Melges 20 World Championship - It's go time in Garda
2nd Annual Keith Dinsmoor Regatta September 13-14
Aldo Alessio Regatta - Three days of tight racing
PWA Alacati World Cup - First blood to Van Der Steen and Offringa
Oakcliff Sailing hosts the Nacra 17, 49er and 49erFX Nationals + Video
International 18ft Skiff Regatta underway on San Francisco Bay
Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2014 - Quality fleet for Maxi Classic
Sailing Champions League - which is Europe's best sailing club?
Weta fun at the Wine & Roses Regatta
Extreme Sailing Series: The Wave, Muscat claims victory on Cardiff Bay
International 14 World Championships 2015: Not just for boys
Rio de Janeiro achieves 50% treatment of sewage outflow *Feature
2014 AWT Quatro Desert Showdown - Event memorable videos
2014 18' Skiff Int Regatta: Day 1 at San Francisco - Reversal on beach
Emirates Team NZ: Last race boost cannot save team from table bottom   
PWA Alacati World Cup - Furious slalom is upon us   
J/111 World Championships - The Winner is Shmokin Joe!   
J/24 US National Championship - Victory for Will Welles’ Cougar   
Extreme Sailing Series: View the Final Day's action - Replay   
NYYC Grandmasters Team Race - Reign continues for Noroton Yacht Club   
WSSR announces new World Record Around Britain and Ireland   
IFDS Worlds 2014 - Final day photos by Tim Wilkes   
2014 Detroit Cup - Morvan wins   
Newport Bucket Regatta 2014 -Images by George Bekris   
IFDS Worlds 2014 - Final report: USA qualifies for Rio 2016   
Extreme Sailing Series: Absent With-Out Leave – Ben Ainslie Racing   
2014 IFDS World Championship - New champions claim medals   
2014 IFDS World Championships - Sunday’s race images by Tim Wilkes   
Shark World Championships underway in Toronto   
Anna Tunnicliffe: Alinghi second o'all - Extreme Sailing Series, Day 3   
Formula Kite World Championships - Nocher and Bridge crowned Champions   
Emirates Team NZ: Frustrating Day 3 in Extreme Sailing Series, Cardiff   
Extreme Sailing Series: Light winds help The Wave Muscat - Day 3   
Extreme Sailing Series 2014 Act five - Absent without leave – the wind   


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