Photo voilier IRIS Blue Observer Photo voilier IRIS © copyright Blue Observer

Blue Observer : a legendary sailing ship, a unique platform dedicated to science

A unique sailing boat, an international low-carbon campaign, that is a world first: it was under these favourable winds that the French sailing boat Blue Observer returned to the port of Brest in March after 96 days at sea in the North and South Atlantic.

After starting with a transatlantic voyage to Woods Hole (Massachusetts, USA), the course was set for the South Atlantic towards the island of St Helena, off the coast of Namibia.
Under the coordination of OceanOPS* (International centre of the World Meteorological Organisation and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO), Blue Observer has deployed a hundred Argo floats on behalf of the United States, Canada and Europe (France, Germany and the Netherlands on this mission).
Temperature, salinity, atmospheric pressure…These Argo floats, which are truly autonomous underwater robots, can be used to measure the structural elements of the ocean’s heat balance.

Low carbon campaigns with a huge potential

For 96 days, the six-man crew led by Eric Defert, the founder of Blue Observer, travelled more than 17,500 miles to collect meteoro-oceanographic measurements and biological samples useful to scientists and industry.

“To contribute to the understanding and protection of the oceans as well as to the development of a respectful and sustainable blue growth”,is the reason why this maritime scientific operator created in 2021 in Brest offers a range of services throughout the world for all oceanic studies related to the climate.

All this while making a concrete commitment to decarbonisation of all its processes and to diversity in the recruitment of people on board the adventure.

Photo equipage Blue Observer
Photo équipage © copyright Blue Observer

The world’s first library of phytoplankton strains from aerosols

The third foundation of Blue Observer, alongside innovation and the decarbonisation of expeditions, is microbiology.

As Eloise Le Bras, biologist and sailor who was part of the campaign, explains, research on plankton has so far shown only a tiny fraction of its possible interactions and applications.
“Le projet, c’est de revenir à terre avec des souches vivantes”, (The plan is to return to land with living strains), and thus form the world’s first aerosol strain library.

As the first sailing vessel to have deployed instruments on this scale, the first voyage for Blue Observer is not only an inauguration but also a turning point in more energy-efficient oceanographic expeditions.

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