Tara Conquers the West: from Portland to San Diego

© Joanne Rideout

13 July 2018

Tuesday, July 10, after welcoming aboard the employees of Billerudkorsnäs – a major sponsor of Tara for the past 3 years – it’s time for Captain Yohann Mucherie to say goodbye. He’s been at the helm from Hong Kong to Portland and is now handing over the responsibility to Martin Hertau. Tara will depart from Portland with a small crew. Scheduled to follow the coast to San Diego, this will be a marine “conquest of the west” for the Tara crew. Full sails ahead!

Two oceanographers are aboard Tara: Aurélie Labarre and Guillaume Bourdin. The team of sailors is composed of Martin Hertau, captain, Nicolas Bin, first mate, Loic Caudan, chief engineer, Daniel Cron, chief deck officer, Jonathan Lancelot, dive master, and Sophie Bin, sailor/cook. With a small crew for this voyage, each person has his own cabin. What luxury!

Around 11:00 am, the moorings are pulled in. The schooner leaves the Portland dock and begins her descent of the Columbia River. The wind is not strong enough, so we use the engine. 10 hours later, at where the river meets the Pacific Ocean, Tara can finally spread her wings: the foresail, the mainsail and the staysail are hoisted! Tara is ready for her “conquest of the West”!

Toutes voiles dehors, Tara navigue en direction de San Diego – © Maéva Bardy / Fondation Tara Expéditions

Navigating under full sail takes place smoothly, a feat for the 140-ton Tara. Tara advances at a speed of 10 knots, with peaks at 16 knots. At this steady pace, the schooner sails 250 nautical miles in one day (about 460 km). This is the highest speed recorded during Tara Pacific expedition. Using the HSN (High Speed Net) and Dolphin nets, the oceanographers took their first samples of water and plankton during the morning of July 11th.

The next morning, the sky was overcast and the sailors made a jibe while maintaining the boat at an average speed of 9 knots. The pace is now slower. As Tara resumes a cruising pace, everyone finds their normal rhythm: night shifts, delicious meals, siesta (so coveted!), moments of conviviality spent together, and of course – work!

Andréane Bellon de Chassy
Lara Ladonne Devillers

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