Victorien Erussard editorial
The first 1000 miles of Energy Observer
Energy Observer set sail from Saint-Malo a month ago to start a new chapter of its adventure, with Jérôme Delafosse and all the crew. So far, it has already cruised 1,000 miles, dropped anchor in two ports of call, and has shown a highly-rewarding initial technical performance.
After 5 years of converting the vessel, research and development and seeking financing, we have finally embarked for our 6-year round-the-world odyssey. Our first 2 years will focus on the reliability of this experimental catamaran: two years to empower this unique prototype and make it totally self-sufficient, whilst pursuing excellence and performance.
The catamaran’s speed, steerability and efficiency at sea are perfectly in line with our expectations.
Our fuel cell efficiency has now been validated. The hydrogen enabled us to extend our autonomy whilst sailing in bad weather conditions and at night. CEA-Liten engineers are currently working on boosting its performances.
The electrolyser has just been installed in the vessel. We will be able to start producing our own hydrogen from seawater very shortly.
The solar panels fully meet our energy production expectations. Nevertheless, we have opted to test a new encapsulation, better suited to marine environments, which is now being integrated.
The wind turbines are operational mechanically-speaking, we now just need to connect them to the boat’s power supply. Our design office, hand-in-hand with the ICAM engineering school in Nantes, is actively seeking out the most optimal mechanical breaking system. We are hoping to test them during our next trip to Cherbourg.
The traction kite system is on its way to be completely integrated, with initial testing planned for September between Nantes and Bordeaux with Yves Parlier and the full Beyond the Sea team on-board. The hydrogeneration chapter can now begin.
We still have a lot of fine-tuning to do to ensure that Energy Observer will be a high performer whilst offering on-board comfort, but the technical data collected over these first 1,000 cruised miles is promising and suggests that there is still great scope for development.
During our first runs on-board Energy Observer, our shore team was busy moving and setting up our touring village for the first time. Two 11-metre diameter geodesic domes, an 8-metre tunnel and a 36 m2 modular cube, totalling some 300 m2 of equipment to be transported and set up to welcome our partners, the media and the public. First stop, Paris, for the inaugural call, before heading off to Boulogne-sur-Mer. This required huge logistics, made possible thanks to the new key partners of our adventure, Delanchy Transports Group, our long-lasting partners AccorHotels and Thélem Assurances, and of course thanks to the stamina and hard work of Energy Observer’s team and crew.
After our first two stopovers, we have moored in Saint-Malo for the month of August to optimize the next milestones of our France Tour, using initial feedback, and carrying out any required fine-tuning, in order to set sail again more determined than ever to meet the challenges we have set ourselves.
Therefore, I would like to acknowledge and thank all the Energy Observer team and crew, who have done a tremendous job, and our valued partners, for their trust, their enthusiasm and their support during these first stages of our adventure. But most of all, all the people who are following our adeventure, who are coming to meet us during the stopovers and making the Energy Observer community grow everyday.
Next dates: Cherbourg and Nantes.
Until then, enjoy your read, have a good break and a great summer!
Victorien, President and Captain of Energy Observer
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