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The Bermuda Lorient - Pure Ocean Challenge begins

by Robin Clegg 9 May 2022 23:22 PDT 6 May 2022
The first Bermuda Lorient - Pure Ocean Challenge is underway © Phil Maybury

The first Bermuda Lorient - Pure Ocean Challenge, is under way with the attempted record breaking crossing expected to take under 13 days. The boat left from St George's, Bermuda, on the 3000nm crossing, passing the starting line at 21h48 BST on Friday 6th May.

The time to beat for the crossing, of 12 days 23 hours and 16 minutes, was set by Euge`ne Riguidel and Jean-Franc¸ois le Menec, in the catamaran William-Saurin in 1983. The best time for a monohull is just 12 minutes more and was set by Jean-Claude Parisis and Olivier de Rosny on board Fernande in 1979.

Organised by the Pure Ocean Foundation, Absolute Dreamer and Lorient Grand Large, the event is also highlighting ocean conservation, collecting scientific data on ocean health and raising funds for the foundation's work.

Pure Ocean ambassador Jean-Pierre Dick, four-times Transat Jacques Vabre winner and CEO of Absolute Dreamer racing team, said: "In May the weather is warmer with long hours of daylight which makes for good sailing conditions. We are getting the right depressions that will, hopefully, whisk the boats across the Atlantic in a fast time, maybe beating the records for monohull and catamaran."

Pure Ocean's main mission is to support innovative and ambitious applied research projects for the protection of biodiversity and marine ecosystems. It also holds events to increase public understanding of the critical situation our ocean faces.

The foundation is promoting citizen science with the JP54 boat being equipped with an Oceano Vox in-situ data collection unit. The team will also use DNA analysis tools, provided by Naturemetrics, to monitor and analyse biodiversity between Bermuda and Lorient.

David Sussmann, founder of Pure Ocean, said: " Whilst crewing on the JP54, I am collecting scientific data, producing content for our social media channels, including our Facebook page, to talk about some of the issues affecting our ocean, including pollution, overfishing and the impacts climate change is having on our seas. We really want to engage as wide an audience as possible to give them a bird's eye view of the Atlantic and a deeper insight into the issues and solutions to restore ocean health."

The foundation's objective is to cement the race as an annual fixture in the sailing calendar. After the arrival in Lorient, France, they will convene key stakeholders concerned about protecting the seas to discuss ways in which they can work together to restore ocean health.

David Sussmann added: "We want to re-establish this race which caught the public imagination over 40 years ago, and already have interest from a number of teams to take part next year. It's a competitive way for these professional athletes to head back to Europe for the summer racing calendar following the Caribbean winter regatta season."

You can follow their progress, using satellite communications and tracking experts Advanced Tracking's system through the map here and you can find out more about the challenge here. Thanks to their help the boat can be tracked and the team can be in contact with shore to share messages.

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