Atlantic Odyssey Ready To Set Sail


logo-AO-sq-150A fleet of 32 sailing yachts flying the flag of 13 nations are gathering in the new Marina Lanzarote for the start of the Atlantic Odyssey which leaves Lanzarote in the Canary Islands bound for Martinique on November 16. The yachts range from 21 m (72 ft) expedition vessel Sea Dragon, registered in the Cayman Islands, to 8.5m (27 ft) Gazel Rebel from France.

Reflecting the family nature of the event, eleven of the boats have children onboard, the youngest among the 24 children being 2-year old Lotta on Triton from Germany.  The oldest participant is 74-year old Bernard Lefevre on US-flagged Morgan 41 Papy Jovial, who has already sailed four times across the Atlantic.

For many of the Atlantic Odyssey sailors, however, this will be their first ocean crossing, and so a program of events has been organised in the week before the start to support sailors in their preparations. There are seminars on voyage planning and medical emergencies, complemented by practical sessions on downwind sails, communications and provisioning. A series of forums will be held for families, and separate ones for French and German speakers, so sailors can share their own experience with each other. Following the popular women’s forum last year, a similar session will be held to allow women to share any interests or concerns they may have. The seminars are open to all sailors in the marina, not only Odyssey participants.

The Atlantic Odyssey reflects the Odyssey motto ‘The Ocean – Our Future’ with a science program run in partnership with UNESCO-IOC. Following the successful deployment of drifter buoys in the 2013 Atlantic Odyssey, three more buoys will be deployed in the Atlantic. The buoys send back automatic meteorological and oceanographic data via satellite to the Global Ocean Observing System, providing an invaluable service to scientists studying the oceans.

Sailors taking part in the Atlantic Odyssey can also contribute to citizen science projects by taking Secchi Disk readings to monitor phytoplankton, and by making observations of marine wildlife and debris encountered during their passage. The scientific aspect of the Atlantic Odyssey is strengthened in 2014 by the participation of Sea Dragon with an all women crew who will be gathering samples of plastic and pollutants, and linking this to studies investigating the impacts of toxics and plastics pollutants on human health.

The Atlantic Odyssey is sponsored by Puerto Calero Marinas. Marina Lanzarote, based in the island’s capital, Arrecife, had its official opening on 18 October 2014. Set to become the best-endowed yachting facility in the Canaries, the marina includes a complete repair and service facility with two separate hoists; one of which, at 820 tonnes, is the largest of its kind in Spain.

The Martinique sponsor of the Atlantic Odyssey is the Regional Council of Martinique. While in Martinique,the Atlantic Odyssey will be hosted by Marina Le Marin.

The Atlantic Odyssey is organized by Cornell Sailing Events.

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