Friday, January 29, 2021

The Most Exciting Single Handed Race Around the World is a Test Bed for Technology

Environmental Preservation at the Heart of a Most Gruelling and Dangerous Competition
Shipping News Feature

FRANCE – WORLDWIDE – Whilst shipping companies such as CMA CGM are redoubling efforts to be as environmentally responsible as possible, it seems some of the French container group's investments may also do similar work, even if that was not the original purpose.

As with other areas of exploration and adventure, be it mountain climbing, deep sea diving or space exploration, ocean yacht racing is always at the forefront of technological advances, including those which save energy and reduce pollution.

CMA CGM has been supporting the Boris Herrmann-led Team Malizia and its yacht SeaExplorer. The vessel set off from Sables d’Olonne 80 days ago on the 2020 Vendée Globe race and crossed the finishing line on Thursday, January 28, 2021.

Boris Herrmann, the SeaExplorer’s skipper and the first German to have taken part in the legendary solo, non-stop and unassisted competitive circumnavigation, had used his participation to draw attention to the ‘race we must win’ that is the race to prevent climate change and protect the oceans.

No such voyage is ever without incident and, sure enough during the race, Boris Herrmann steered the SeaExplorer off-course near the Antarctic Ocean in aid of his rival Kevin Escoffier, yet another demonstration of the nature of those who embark on such trips, regardless of personal safety and potentially the expense of triumph.

So what of the craft which carried the hopes of the French company? SeaExplorer is self-sufficient in energy terms as she is fitted with solar panels and hydroelectric generators to power the on board systems. She is also equipped with an automated lab measuring oceanographic data, such as water temperature, salinity, pH and CO2.

Boris Herrmann took automatic readings from water samples in the most remote parts of the oceans and will pass the data he collected on to scientists involved in programmes at the Max Planck Institute in Hamburg, Geomar in Kiel and Ifremer in Brest. The partnership to help combat global warming and protect the oceans dovetails with the efforts of the CMA CGM Group, which says it has always considered its business performance as intrinsically linked to its social and environmental performance.

Some idea of the terrifying conditions the sailors face can be seen in this short video.