Following the news about the progress and end of the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar’s 2014 campaign, the PlanetSolar team is delighted to release the latest news about the boat’s last activities for the year 2014.
Sailing Through Two Seas to Get to Venice
The first week of navigation towards the City of Doges from Kiladah (Greece) is easy, with favourable weather on the Ionian Sea. On the way, a series of landscapes parade by the crew on both port and starboard, each more beautiful than the last. After a few days, there is Ksamil, the nearest shore of Albania, in the distance. For her last night in Greece, the ship dropped anchor against a turquoise backdrop, in the tourist island of Corfu, and was rocked to sleep one last time by the waters of the beautiful Hellenic Republic.
The next day, in a bittersweet departure, the catamaran and its crew set sail towards the Adriatic Sea, following the coasts of Montenegro. Along the way, the ship made brief stops here and there, discovering previously unexplored areas. There was smooth sailing until Croatia, or more specifically, Dubrovnik. The solar-powered boat could not resist the appeal of sailing (too) close to the coast, which drew the attention of Croatian coast guards (you try being discreet aboard the Tûranor!). A few administrative procedures later, and the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar was allowed to remain in Croatia’s territorial waters. That will teach the catamaran to stick her prow in everything!
After this detour, the boat headed North and island-hops across Croatia’s coast: Korcula Island, Hvar Island, the Zadar archipelago, Losinj Island… Croatia is stunning. The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar zoomed along until it reached the North-west corner of the Croatia, near the town of Umag, and turned west to reach Italy.
The radiant sun gave way to sheets of rain, and the sky took on unbelievable purple tones. The catamaran felt her energy supply growing weaker, and knew it would soon be time to take a break from the oceans during the cold season.
Welcome to the Republic of Venice
Despite the rain, the catamaran reached Venice on time, on September 4th. Under a grey sky, the ship glided across the Italian city’s canals, a trip that was captured by the Souris Verte drone, a multimedia partner. This flying contraption unfortunately met a dramatic end a bit later in one of the city’s canals.
Venice is not only one of the 2014 campaign’s stops, but it will also become the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar’s home for a while. What better place to spend a winter than Venice, where boats are the main means of transport? This iconic winter stay was made possible thanks to a partnership with the Vento di Venezia company, which has been responsible for the re-qualification of the island of Certosa. Thanks to this organisation, the MS Tûranor will be moored in the island’s marina until May 2015.
Upon arriving, the ship paraded across the Venice canals, and onlookers soon rushed the docks to see this rare sight. The ship then zig-zagged around gondolas, barges, and small motor boats (vaporettos), an exercise which required a certain amount of dexterity. Imagine yourself trying to drive on a motorway at rush-hour with a 100-ton truck, and add the fact that these vehicles can pass you on both the left and the right! After this eventful little trip, the boat moored at the island of Certosa and prepared for the events that will take place aboard in the coming days.
Because of a stroke of calendar luck, the largest solar-powered boat in the world’s arrival in Venice coincided perfectly with the 71st Venice Mostra (a world-renowned international film festival). No red carpet for the PlanetSolar, which instead had a green one! In fact, the Green Drop Awards took place during the Mostra, a ceremony organised by the international Green Cross organisation, which celebrates films that feature values of ecology and sustainable development. The prize was awarded to Andrej Končalovskij for his film “The Postman’s White Nights”, inside the solar-powered catamaran’s crowded centre. The next day, the largest solar-powered boat in the world is involved in a very different kind of business, as guest of honour at the Regata Storica, an annual event that showcases the art of rowboats. Seeing these splendid, historical and typically Venetian vessels in the shadow of the solar-powered mammoth was quite an experience. Some of them are true works of art!
A few weeks later, the boat once again became an ambassador for renewable energy, and made a memorable entrance in the armoury of the City of Doges.
Currently, the boat is docked at the island of Certosa. She will stay there until May 2015, the start of summer and of her 2015 expeditions. This winter will be enlivened by visits and private events organised in collaboration with Vento di Venezia. After more than 9,000 kilometres at sea, the boat and her crew deserve some rest, but only to be all the more fit for 2015.
To conclude this Venetian episode, here is the last video of 2014, which shows the events that took place in Venice, and is sure to be a feast for the eyes!
The Crew Disembarks
After six months of intense solar-powered navigation, it is now time for the Breton crew members to recharge their batteries. Throughout the course of this 2014 campaign, the sailors were not only able to meet the goals of solar navigation, but also to actively participate in the promotion of the ship and her activities. More than 4,000 people crowded the ship’s hull during these past few months! The crew never stopped making sure that these visits took place safely, as well as answered curious visitors’ many questions. Gérard d’Aboville and his crew also watched over the arrival of several celebrities, authorities, and media presences aboard, and served the scientists well during the scientific research carried out in Greece. We would like to thank the crew once again, and to wish them a good trip home.
Rest assured, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar has not been completely abandoned… in fact, the crew leaving for the winter coincides with the arrival of a new member of the PlanetSolar team: Giulia Seno. This Italian skipper will make sure everything goes well aboard from a technical point of view (checking the moorings, the alarms etc.) and greet guests during organised tours throughout the winter. Welcome to the team!
Rent the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar in Venice
During her holiday in Venice until May, the largest solar-powered boat in the world is open to the public, and will also become an events platform for companies, institutions, and even private guests. Having often been a victim of her own success during short stops throughout these campaigns, this winter in the City of Doges is an opportunity to take advantage of MS Tûranor PlanetSolar’s impressive dimensions and to discover the interior of this unique ship. Want to float along the Venetian lagoon on a cruise, enjoy a cocktail with a view of 512m2 of solar panels, or come aboard for Venice’s carnival? It is all possible.
A New Owner for the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar
The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar winter in Venice also marked a new chapter in the solar-powered boat’s history. The Stroeher family, the catamaran’s current owner, which has been passionate about solar energy and which worked in the background from the beginning of the project, is now retiring and passing on this multifunctional tool.
“The goal was on the one hand to conceptualize an idea that could prove the effectiveness of solar technology, and would help promote and develop that sector. On the other hand, we also wanted to demonstrate that beyond her technical prowess, the ship could be used for concrete, useful goals,” explains Immo Stroeher, the family’s patriarch. The businessman’s financial investment, as well as his significant personal engagement, has allowed PlanetSolar to go much further than a single trip around the world, in creating a durable enterprise that now allows the ship to be used for concrete goals.
“The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar, winner of 6 Guinness World RecordsTM, not only completed the first solar-powered voyage around the world, but has also successfully carried out two unique scientific missions in 2013 and 2014, both of which were punctuated with prestigious stops during which countless visitors were able to visit the interior workings of the ship! Today, we are very proud to note that after the success of her voyage around the world, PlanetSolar has undergone a perfect transformation, carrying out not only scientific missions, but also serving as a powerful tool of communication thanks to the enthusiasm she generates at each stop. Our expectations have been exceeded, and it is time for us to retire, and pass this unique ship on to a new owner,” Immo Stroeher concluded.