… I spent Sunday relaxing a little bit and getting my head clear about what was happening during the last three weeks after my departure.
As you can see on the tracking system, I had a really cool and successful departure and after about a week on board I felt really familiar with my boat and the sea. So, I looked forward to make the first toast to Neptune on the 8th of September, meaning this Wednesday because it’s the first anniversary of my successful cancer operation and at this time I should have been at Svalbard, high up in the polar circle.
After my health problems it was a real hard way back to my usual life and thus, I was really happy and fully motivated. At the same time, I knew that the boat is in perfect condition, because this time I was able to do the whole final preparation by myself and so I had trust in every detail and also hundreds of solutions in my head if difficulties would come up.
But then a difficulty arose which we I have known about and discussed several times with our partner. What happens if the engine controller, which of course also controls the hydrogenerator function of each engine collapses? For several reasons the supplier wasn’t able to support the project with this spare part, the one and only part in the whole system which I had not on board and therefore was not prepared to manage a problem like this.
Of course I tried to find alternative solutions to use the hydrogenerator without the engine function but finally I had to accept that the engine is out of control and therefore useless.
If you now consider that this engine was on board to support the arctic leg with power and a boat like an Open60 is single handed not controllable without enough power for navigation, the autopilot system or communication you can understand my decision to stop the turn and face the reality. More than this, think about what would have happened in a distress situation when everybody knows that you entered the polar circle knowing that a main component of your boat is not working!? From my point of view every responsible skipper would have decided to not continue this challenge, which would have been negligent!
I write this explanation not to denounce my partner or accuse him of negligence because the LAB in this project stands for development and testing to get a confirmation about concepts and items which are working well and those which are not. Development always includes risks but finally just when I reached Les Sables d’Olonne, also the second power set collapsed and only with the assistance of my team I was able to bring the boat safely back to the Vendée Globe pontoon from which I departed three weeks ago.
In conclusion, after four years of navigation on the Innovation Yachts Open60AAL which represents around 16 000 nautical miles we know now, that the Innovation Yachts yacht building concept, using unique materials like volcanic fiber, works perfectly and adds value to the product. We know that our design solutions represent usable, long-lasting quality, performance and safety. Furthermore, we know now that our partners for all the sailing components like mast, rigg, deck equipment and sails are matching perfectly.
But finally, we also know now that we have to find a clear answer how we continue with a future pointing, renewable and clean drive system which represents a key product group of the whole record attempt concept. As soon as we have the answer from our partner, we will support them and help him to modify everything what is necessary to get the power system ready for another try. In the meantime, we are still working on the cruiser version of the IY60 which is equipped with a hybrid system to guaranty comfort and of course we will get certify the first LBV35 catamaran which is the first fully sustainable and recyclable serial boat during this autumn.
So, stay tuned for all the news around the project and if you have any further questions to the ANT ARCTIC LAB project or our Innovation Yachts IY60Cruiser Racer please do not hesitate to contact us or visit our shipyard here in Les Sables d’Olonne. We are happy about any feedback, no matter if it’s positive or critical, and we will do our best to convince you and give you the information for which you are looking for.
My biggest “thank you” and a “virtual hug” to all our friends, partners and followers! I hope we can continue the Innovation Yachts story and the ANT ARCTIC LAB record attempt, bringing fully sustainable and recyclable yachts to the market which represents future pointing performance, long-lasting custom-built quality and safety!