Aventura Zero Logs , News

Brookes & Gatehouse: A long and fruitful partnership

My collaboration with Brookes & Gatehouse has a long history and goes back 34 years to the start of the first ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in 1986.

Start of ARC 86

B&G was the first manufacturer of marine navigation equipment to send engineers to provide a service to the participants in the rally during the week before the start. Although, like every racing or offshore cruising sailor, I knew about the range and quality of B&G equipment, at that time I had no personal experience of it.

Aventura II at start of ARC 1991

All that changed when I decided to build Aventura II, a steel 40-footer designed by Bill Dixon.  Most of the electronics were supplied by B&G. 

Aventura II navigation desk

Aventura II sailed in the first round the world rally in 1991-1992, and was sold in 1995 after 40,000 miles of faithful service.

Aventura II route map

Aventura III in Antarctica

Aventura III, an aluminium OVNI 435 designed by Philippe Briand, was launched in 1997 with another circumnavigation in mind, including a voyage to Antarctica.

Aventura III route map

Aventura III cockpit

All navigation equipment on Aventura III was supplied by B&G and performed perfectly throughout the 70,000 miles she sailed, before she was sold in 2010.

Aventura IV in the NW Passage

In 2013, concerned about the increasing signs of climate change, I decided to have another Aventura built and attempt to transit the Northwest Passage, the once impenetrable waterway that links the Atlantic to the Pacific north of Canada and Alaska. Described by the scientists as the sentinel of global climate, whatever happens there will have consequences throughout the world. The aim of my voyage was to raise awareness among sailors of this increasingly obvious change in global weather conditions as, after all, the very fact that transits of the Northwest Passage had become possible in recent years was a direct result of global warming.

Aventura IV cockpit with B&G Zeus3 equipment

Aventura IV is an aluminium Exploration 45 built by the French company Garcia Yachting and is based on my concept of a go-anywhere boat. My project was supported by B&G who provided the comprehensive Zeus3 navigation system that included two autopilots, a standard unit and an emergency autonomous backup.

Aventura IV route map

Aventura IV’s voyage brought my total of miles sailed to 200,000 and when she was sold in 2017, I certainly felt that my sailing days had come to an end… but that feeling didn’t last long, as last year I decided that with climate change having become such a burning issue, perhaps I should get another boat and tackle that subject with a more relevant project. This is how the idea of an electric boat was born, ideally with zero fossil-fuel emissions.

Aventura Zero is an Outremer catamaran, a prototype of a new model: the Outremer 4 Zero. B&G were fully involved in devising the navigation system for this challenging project, with Simon Conder and Matt Eeles taking a personal interest in fine-tuning it to perfection. Once again Zeus3 is at the heart of a comprehensive system, which also includes a working autopilot and a backup. The latter has its own Triton display, GPS, wireless wind sensor, large capacity battery, spare hydro-generator, and is part of an emergency circuit entirely protected from the rest of the boat in case of lightning strike or a complete loss of electricity supply.

Aventura Zero nav station

C-Map are supplying electronic charts for the entire voyage, just as they did for my Northwest Passage expedition. C-Map’s Tracy Cox has selected the dozen charts for Aventura Zero’s voyage that will follow the route of the first circumnavigation of the world 500 years ago.

Aventura Zero route map

My hope is that our voyage will show that such a challenging project can be achieved with zero harm to the environment, hence the message displayed on my Parasailor spinnaker:

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