- June 12th, 2008
- in Yachting
Joyon’s Green Revolution
Ellen MacArthur’s 2005 record-breaking solo circumnavigation was a great feat of seamanship and personal grit. Anyone following her progress was amazed at her courage and tenacity as she faced challenge after challenge. One such challenge was a mysterious oil leak in her generator that threatened to end her attempt before it was halfway done. She relied completely on her generator for the power to run her autopilot and her onboard communications, which provided full-time Internet access, allowing her shore-based support team to provide weather information and monitor her vital signs. Her sleep doctor advised her when to sleep and when to wake. In exchange for this information she was obliged to haul thousands of pounds weight of fuel with her.
Francis Joyon, by contrast, who smashed Ellen’s record by a full two weeks back in January of this year, took a different approach. While he had weather routing information provided by his shore-based team, Joyon restricted his communications to just two emails per day. And dispensing with a diesel generator, the fast Frenchman charged his batteries from a combination of wind generator, solar energy and methanol fuel cell. “There was no engine running, which was nice, and it is a satisfaction knowing you can go around the world with the minimum impact on the environment,” Joyon told the London Times. “Imagine circling the world on a windsurf board. The project is built on respecting the elements…. On all my boats, I have always tried not to create sources of pollution. I am too respectful of nature.”