Alexia Barrier reaches Cape Town

By the 4myplanet Eco-tour will have to abandon the Southern ocean

Tuesday March 2nd 2010, Author: Lional Pean, Location: none selected

Alexia Barrier and her yacht 4myplanet arrived in Cape Town, South Africa, on Thursday 25 February at 07:45 GMT. Arriving on the African continent, they sailed through Table Bay, and into a country in the throws of preparing for the Football World Cup.

4myplanet was warmly received at the Royal Cape Yacht Club, which supports the 4myplanet cause as it sails the oceans to benefit marine conservation, education and sport. Alexia will be spending the coming days resting, spending time with her family and preparing for the next stage of her journey.

Since leaving Monaco on 11 January Alexia has covered nearly 8,000 nautical miles in 45 days and collected over 300 000 scientific data entries, which have been sent back to Ifremer to be incorporated into their database of the Coriolis ocean study programme - part of the GOSUD project that will be used to calibrate the European satellite, SMOS. Ahas also collected seawater samples for the IAEA’s Marine Environment Laboratory, which studies how rare particles and chlorophyll drift on the oceans.

This young yachtswoman is sailing with a message about the importance of conservation and constant, long-term observation of the oceans that make up 70% of the Earth’s surface. The trip also allows her to train for the next Vendée Globe, which also strives to communicate with young people and particularly with children in the Principality of Monaco who are following the 4myplanet yacht’s progress.

In Cape Town, children from the Izivunguvungu association will be sailing with her. Alexia will also be visiting schools in Simon’s Town to present photographs of the first stage of her trip and share some of the dream with the schoolchildren there. This weekend she will compete in a regatta for their benefit at the Royal Cape Yacht Club. During her stopover here, she also intends to visit the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, a UNESCO world heritage site, where the waters of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet.

The departure, originally scheduled during the Paris International Boat Show in December was delayed by one month until 11 January. Weather conditions made the journey from Monaco to Cape Town difficult and the yacht’s performance proved very average compared to the latest generation of 60-footers. Based on her average speed, 4myplanet should reach Cape Horn around 15 May, at the start of winter in the Southern Ocean when darkness can last around 16 hours each day. Any later and it would be dangerous, sailing amidst the South Pacific icebergs and would add little to the project.

For these reasons, in agreement with the 4myplanet sponsors, the team have decided to cancel the two stages in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. This was a difficult decision for Alexia, who had dreamt of at last sailing in the Southern Ocean.

Next stages on the 4myplanet tour:

Cape Town / Rio de Janeiro – April

Rio de Janeiro / New York – May

New York / Monaco, arrival as scheduled during the month of June

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