This article first appeared on 1sun4all. MS Tûranor PlanetSolar, the world’s largest solar-powered boat, with her crew and scientists onboard, arrived in Boston to continue her 2013 “PlanetSolar DeepWater” expedition. Education days are planned for the stopover in Boston. The Gulf Stream tracking will continue as her next voyage takes her to the Far North, where she will put into port in St. John’s, Canada and then on to Reykjavik, Iceland and Bergen, Norway. The following is from PlanetSolar.
June 24, 2013 — Fan Pier Marina, Boston (United States). After Miami and New York, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar reached Boston on June 22 with scientists from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) onboard. The researchers are sailing on the largest solar boat ever built in order to successfully carry out the ‘PlanetSolar DeepWater’ expedition, which aims to analyze the Gulf Stream, one of the most important regulators of European and North American climates.
To mark the third leg of the American tour, the PlanetSolar and UNIGE teams will strengthen their interaction with important institutions such as the Boston Children’s Museum, the Boston Museum of Science, the Greentown Labs, the MIT Energy Club, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and will offer a series of events to raise public awareness about climate issues. Stopover from 22 to 27 June 2013.
The capital of Massachusetts is recognized in particular for its research programs in the fields of technology and oceanography, and many institutions are heavily involved in sustainable development. PlanetSolar and UNIGE have the opportunity to communicate the stakes of the ‘DeepWater’ expedition by organizing a series of events with support from Swissnex Boston. For example, children will be able to participate in the construction of a model solar boat at a workshop at the Boston Children’s Museum; public conferences will be held with researchers from UNIGE, the MIT Energy Club, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute; a temporary exhibition will be displayed at the Boston Science Museum, etc.
‘This project fits perfectly with our University’s missions: education, research, and service to the community. Geneva is the birthplace of global governance, therefore her involvement in such an adventure was inherent. In fact, at the heart of the city of Calvin, international organizations and key decision makers are addressing the challenges of climate change’, says Jean-Dominique Vassalli, rector of UNIGE.
The ‘PlanetSolar DeepWater’ scientific expedition will continue along the east coast
Launched in Florida at the beginning of the month, the ‘PlanetSolar DeepWater’ exhibition seeks to collect a continuous series of physical and biological measures along the Gulf Stream, both in the water and in the air, using advanced instruments with the expertise of UNIGE scientists. Headed by Professor Martin Beniston, climatologist and director of the Institute of Environmental Sciences at UNIGE, the research team is studying the key parameters of climate regulation, namely aerosols and phytoplankton, in order to improve our understanding of complex interactions between the ocean and atmosphere, as well as the role these interactions play in climate change.
After the Boston stopover, the boat will continue its route along the Gulf Stream until reaching St-John’s, Canada. Then, the catamaran will set out to conquer the northernmost part of the Atlantic.
The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar, built in Kiel, Germany, is a catamaran powered exclusively by solar energy. On May 4, 2012, after sailing for 584 days, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar completed the first solar-powered trip around the world.
For her 2013 expeditions, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar underwent major maintenance operations. The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar’s crew is comprised of: Gérard d’Aboville (Captain), Andrew Mikkelsen (Second), Antoine Simon (electrical engineer), Hugo Buratti (seaman and steward), and Vincent Brunet (steward). During the ‘PlanetSolar DeepWater’ expedition, the UNIGE scientific team rounds out the crew.
After leaving Las Palmas (Spain) on April 26, 2013, the catamaran reached St. Martin (French West Indies) 22 days later. The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar therefore broke her own world record speed for a solar-powered transatlantic crossing, set in 26 days during her trip around the world in 2010.
In order to fund the 2013 campaign, PlanetSolar SA is supported by the University of Geneva, Ciel électricité, Switcher, the Swiss AOC-IGP Association, Younicos, Plantbacter, Actides, GoPro, Jean-René Germanier SA, BCCC Attorneys-at-Law, Tempur, Hempel, Présence Suisse, Energissima, l’UIM, YELLO, and Waste Free Oceans.
Author’s note: As this graceful, renewable energy lady of the sea left New York, a member of her crew wrote this on the ship’s blog: “All of us on both sides of the Atlantic, in New York and Geneva, worked hard on the science for the coming cruise legs off the Canadian coast when our teams will grasp the opportunity to study the whirlpools that the Gulf Stream is kind enough to create for us in this area. Stay tuned!” You can follow the voyage of the solar-powered boat at: www.planetsolar.org/follow-us/itinerary-2013.