En route to Nantes, last stopover before the 2015 Paris Climate Conference

© C.Lesacq/Tara Expéditions

14 October 2015

After a month of rest and work in Lorient, Tara left her home port at dawn on Wednesday, October 14, heading for Nantes. The schooner has been invited to take part in “GreenWeek”, an event dedicated to sustainable development. For Tara Expéditions, these 10 days in Nantes are a crucial final stopover before Paris and the COP21.

Dark and cloudy night over the port of Lorient. It’s 5am and first sounds can be heard aboard Tara. Soon engine noises fill the schooner, and each sailor takes up his position: the somewhat sleepy machine needs to be given a kick start after 3 weeks of being idle. The trip will be short: 90 miles separate Lorient from Nantes, Tara’s next and last stopover before sailing up the Seine to Paris.

Once the crew has hoisted the foresail and mainsail, exiting Lorient harbor goes smoothly, shortly after 6am. The schooner is moving at good speed – 8 knots instead of the average 6. After passing the island of Groix, sky and sea – the same shade of light grey – gradually are tinted pink. In the light of a reddening sun,Tara sails between Belle-Île-en-Mer and the Quiberon peninsula.

During the morning, the effervescence of departure subsides, and clouds disperse, leaving behind a soft light. A relative calm settles on board, accentuated by the shutdown of one of the engines. “As soon as there’s a little wind, Tara sails really well. To be ecological, we turn off an engine and hoist the third jib called the yankee” explains Captain Martin Hertau. Between 10am and 11am, we pass the islands of Houat and Hoëdic on the port side.

After an invigorating lunch (no cook aboard, but with the good care of Sylvie Duboué, president of the association “Les Amis de Tara”), we pass offshore Le Pouliguen and La Baule and continue smoothly to Nantes. The sky is cloudless. Aboard the schooner we all know these 10 days in Nantes mark a doubly symbolic milestone: 1) the presence of Tara for the city’s first Greenweek and 2) our last stopover before the COP21. Tara has been invited by Nantes Metropole for Greenweek, and as part of a bi-annual event, the Climate rendez-vous. Participating in such an event and supporting a city that wants to reduce by 50% its gas emissions by the year 2030, is totally relevant for Tara  – a prelude to the 2015 Paris Climate negotiations beginning the end of next month.

Shortly before 4pm, Tara passes under the impressive Saint-Nazaire bridge, signal that the scientific schooner has definitely left the ocean for the Loire. After 4 hours of navigation on the river, Tara will arrive late in the day in the city that has long been called the “Venice of the West”.

Clémence Lesacq

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