On our way to Paris

© Nicolas De La Brosse / Fondation Tara Océan

19 February 2020

On November 23, the schooner Tara returned to her home port in Lorient (Brittany) after 6 months at sea on the 2019 Microplastics Mission. Then followed a period in dry dock to prepare Tara for new adventures in 2020, starting with a stopover in Paris from February 29 to April 13.

2 months in the shipyard

After sailing 9 of Europe’s major rivers for 6 months to study the origins of plastic pollution, Tara was lifted out of the water in December.

In Lorient, the crew was very busy. Inside the schooner, the 8 cabins, passageway and forward hold were cleaned and repainted. On deck, ropes were replaced, and winches cleaned. In the schooner’s central space — the kitchen/mess room — a new gas cooker was installed in view of upcoming festivities in Paris. On the mechanical side, a new power generator was installed in the forward hold, and the lifting winch put in the rear hold. No break for our sailors!

saidSaïd, a welder (SLTIM), during Tara’s overhaul © François Aurat / Tara Ocean Foundation

On January 31, at dawn’s first light, the schooner returned to Lorient’s fishing port and the crew settled in with mattresses, books and cushions making them feel cozy. Tara was almost ready. At dock, her two 27-meter high masts would almost make the Eiffel Tower feel jealous. However, in order to pass under the Seine’s bridges on her way to Paris, Tara will have to be dismasted. To prepare for this, the crew built wooden supports to hold the masts in place (lying horizontally on deck) during the short trip along the river and through its six locks.

Dismasting and sailing up the Seine River

Early February, Carole, cook and sailor, embarked aboard Tara once again with her big smile, her bag, and many recipe ideas. The captain was hurrying the crew and, from cockpit to rear hold, everyone on board was busy, eager to return to sea. Departure time was close. Paris was calling.

DSCF4170Storm over the Channel © François Aurat / Tara Ocean Foundation

On February 14, the schooner left Brittany and her home port, with 40-50 knot downwind and carried by the heavy Channel swell, heading towards Le Havre. Under the Mirabeau Bridge flows the Seine. Will the flood-swollen river let the schooner go through as planned? Let’s remain optimistic, there’s still one full week left!

Thanks to Martin, Nico, Daniel, Fanch, Leo, Monch, Carole, Thibault, Tommy, Fred, Saïd and all the volunteers present during Tara’s refit for their work and assistance.

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