Saturday, November 6, 2010

3-D maps reveal depths of sea floor

3D fly-through of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea using the new high-resolution depth model, called Project 3DGBR. Depths plunge to 5625 metres.

From Australian Geographic

Astounding 3-D images have revealed, for the first time, the mysteries of Queensland's coastal watery depths.
(Marine GeoGarage position)

Scientists from James Cook University have mapped the sea floor along ancient coral reefs, underwater river beds and extended canyons; among the features are a vast undersea landslide 60 times the size of
Uluru and a 5-km abyss.
The 3-D model covers 3 million sq. km, stretching from the entire Queensland coast to almost as far as New Caledonia.

"Only six per cent of the Great Barrier Reef area consists of coral reefs.
Unfortunately, a vast amount of the reef has been ignored. With this model we are stripping back the water and peering into the depths," says lead scientist
Robin Beaman.
"This grid is very much the map of the future. It gives researchers a base on which they can plan future expeditions."

Monumental task

Creating the 3-D undersea model has proved to be a monumental three-year task, which involved Robin and colleagues collecting data from nearly 900 million individual points.
They used echo sounders and satellite imagery, with an accuracy down to just 100 m - which is significantly detailed, given the vastness of the area surveyed.

"3D undersea models have already been created by
Geoscience Australia, but never to this degree of detail," says Robin.
"This visual representation allows the complexity of the deep ocean to really jump out at you."

David Souter, research director at the
Reef and Rainforest Research Centre believes the map will form a window of opportunity to further understand the formation of the Great Barrier Reef.
The model is already being used by oceanographers at the
Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) to simulate ocean current flows that will be used to study the effects of water quality changes on the Great Barrier Reef.

Robin says there is a great future for his depth model which includes working with the
Great Barrier Reef marine Park Authority to compare current marine park zoning with seabed features.

Links :

Friday, November 5, 2010

Atlantic Ocean flow reversed 10,000 years ago, slowing down again

The global conveyer, or thermohaline system,
with surface currents in red, deep cold currents in blue (Image by Avs)

From ArsTechnica

The flow of top- and bottom-level currents in the Atlantic Ocean appear to be slowing down and may be due for a reversal like one that happened 10,000 years ago, according to new data.
By studying sediment samples, scientists have found that, some time after the last glacial maximum, the undercurrent of the Atlantic Ocean switched from flowing north to flowing south, thanks in large part to changing temperatures.

Recently, discussions about the flow of the ocean have centered around what role it plays in climate change.
The "conveyor belt" flow of the Atlantic Ocean, which currently goes south on the underside and north closer to the surface, helps regulate the temperature of the water and can distribute heat to normally cold areas.
If it were to stop, it might allow for a bit of localized cooling in areas that are otherwise melting.

To get a better history of the Atlantic's flow, researchers studied sediment samples, specifically looking for the elements protactinium and thorium.
They noted that a short time after the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), the gradient of these elements in the North and South Atlantic reversed.

This indicates that the ocean used to flow north on the underside and south on the surface, the opposite of the way it does now.
The ocean was likely at an effective standstill at some point, probably around the beginning of the Holocene between 10,000 and 12,000 years ago.
The authors attribute the changes to surface cooling during the LGM, as well has an increase in seawater salinity in the Southern Ocean.

According to a graph in the
paper that shows water mass travel time in the ocean, the flow speed increased for a while, but has become lethargic in the past few thousand years, indicating it may be on its way to a stoppage.
Of course, it will likely be on the order of a thousand years or more before this happens naturally and, even if it does, the climate may be radically different by then anyway.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Island disputes reveal Asia's evolving powers

From BBC

Over recent weeks some of the island chains that punctuate the Pacific Ocean off the mainland of Asia have provoked a series of diplomatic rows.

Japan has been at the centre of the disputes, falling out first with China in the wake of its
arrest of a Chinese fishing captain near the contested islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

Then it fell out with Russia; Japan protesting strongly this week over President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to the Kuril Islands, which Japan refers to as the Northern Territories.
These were seized by Soviet troops in the closing stages of World War II but are still claimed by Japan.

A range of other island disputes flare up from time to time, notably in the South China Sea.

The motives are sometimes complex; economic concerns about competition for undersea oil or mineral rights are important in many cases; grand strategy plays a part too; and good old-fashioned nationalism is also often a factor.

Naval power
But behind the headlines, larger forces are at work.
Countries in the region are trying to adjust to the reality of an ever more assertive China.
The United States is eager to reassert its role as a Pacific power; and Russia too, though in some ways a less central player, is also eager to remain part of the Asian equation.

China, of course, is the great changing presence in the region.
Its economic rise has been dramatic. Its future trajectory, though, remains uncertain.
Until now a rising China has pursued a rather muted foreign policy, seeing its engagement with the world as a means of ensuring its economic success.

It has, for example, built a network of relationships around the globe to ensure that it has the access to the raw materials that its hungry economy requires.

However, now a new tone is creeping into China's engagement with the world.
With success has come a new self-confidence; some might call it a new assertiveness.
And this plays most strongly in its own backyard.

Its row with Japan focuses on the Diaoyu/Senkaku island chain which, in strategic terms, acts as a barrier or choke-point channelling the Chinese Navy's access to the wider ocean.

Beijing has made it clear that its maritime ambitions will not be contained in this way.
It made it clear that Japan had to return its arrested sea captain straight away and Tokyo's rapid climbdown worried many other countries in the region.

China's growing naval power is a potent factor here as it develops a capacity to mount operations ever further from its own shores.

Indeed, the fact that Beijing appeared willing to employ an economic weapon in its row with Japan - the interruption of the supply of rare earth metals (though Beijing denies that it employed its economic muscle in this way) caused further unease, and not just in Asia.

This new Chinese assertiveness explains the efforts of President Barack Obama's administration to bolster its regional role.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been doing the rounds of key capitals in the wake of the East Asia summit in Hanoi and this is only a prelude to an increasingly important trip by President Obama himself this month.

Japan in particular is eager to bolster its maritime alliance with Washington.
China is equally eager to limit US engagement, pointedly turning down a US offer to mediate between it and Japan over its latest high-seas spat.

The rising tensions in the region pose all sorts of problems for Washington.
It wants to reassure traditional friends and encourage new alliances, while not seeking to explicitly isolate Beijing.

This would be a nonsense given the close integration of China with America and the wider global economy.

We are still far from the world suggested by a spate of thriller novels perhaps a decade or so ago which saw an inevitable path to superpower conflict between Washington and Beijing.

Nonetheless the tensions are there and managing them will be a growing challenge for diplomats on all sides.

Links :
  • BBC : Analysis: Why Kuril dispute will not end any time soon
  • BBC : Kuril islands dispute between Russia and Japan
  • BBC : Q&A: China-Japan islands row

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Laws of attraction

Ocean micro-organisms are shown to behave like larger animals in the presence of sulfur. Might this offer clues about the roles they play in regulating Earth’s climate?

From MIT

Scientists have sought to learn more about how the Earth’s oceans absorb carbon dioxide and generally exchange gases with the atmosphere so they can better understand the corresponding effects on climate.
To that end, many researchers are turning their attention to the microscopic organisms that help recycle carbon, nitrogen, sulfur and other elements through the oceans.
Finding out exactly how and to what degree they do that is an ongoing scientific challenge, and scientists may first have to learn more about how the microbes interact with their environment at the scale of the individual microbe.

In recent work, an international team of scientists led by Professor Roman Stocker of the MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering opened a window into that microbial world.
The team studied how certain strains of marine microbes find and use sulfur, an element vital to many of them.
Some microbes ingest the sulfur, convert it and pass it back into the ocean in altered form, keeping the chemical moving through Earth’s sulfur cycle.

Using video microscopy, the scientists captured digital images of the single-celled microbes swimming toward two forms of sulfur: dimethylsulfide (DMS), the chemical responsible for the slightly sulfuric smell of the sea, and its precursor dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP), which can be converted to DMS by the microbes.
DMS is known to influence climate; when it moves from the ocean to the atmosphere as a gas, it oxidizes, forming cloud condensation nuclei which promote cloud formation over the ocean.
These clouds reflect sunlight rather than allowing it to heat the Earth’s surface.

Stocker, Justin Seymour, a former postdoctoral fellow at MIT who is now a research fellow at the University of Technology Sydney, Professor Rafel Simó of the Institute for Ocean Sciences in Barcelona, and MIT graduate student Tanvir Ahmed reported this research — which was funded by the Australian Research Council, the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, La Cambra de Barcelona, the Hayashi Fund at MIT, and the National Science Foundation — earlier this year in the journal Science.

“It had been previously demonstrated that DMSP and DMS draw coral reef fish, sea birds, sea urchins, penguins and seals, suggesting that these chemicals play a prominent ecological role in the ocean. Now we know that they also attract microbes,” said Stocker.
“But this is not simply adding a few more organisms to that list. The billions of microbes in each liter of seawater play a more important role in the ocean’s chemical cycles than any of the larger organisms.”

Marine microcosm

Stocker has pioneered the use of microfluidic technology to study the behavior of marine microbes in the laboratory.
He re-creates a microcosm of the ocean environment using a device about the size of a flash drive, made of clear rubbery material engraved with minuscule channels into which he injects ocean water, microbes and food in the form of dissolved organic matter.
Then, using a camera attached to a microscope, he records the microbes’ response.
In the past few years, he has recorded microbes as they use their whip-like flagella to swim toward food, a finding that contradicts the traditional view of marine microbes as passive feeders.

In the latest research, the scientists injected different chemicals into the channels of the device in a way that mimicked the bursting of a microbial cell after a viral infection — a common event in the ocean.
Although they performed the tests using several substances, including DMS, the scientists focused primarily on DMSP, which is produced by some phytoplankton and released into the water when a cell explodes.
That DMSP can dissolve in the water or be transformed by other microbes into DMS, which also dissolves in the water before being released as a gas into the atmosphere.

The research indicates that the chemical’s odor does draw microbial predators, much as its smelly cousin DMS does at larger scales.
This is the first such study to make a visual record of microbial behavior in the presence of DMSP.

The team selected seven microbial species that are roughly analogous to plants, herbivores and predators in the animal kingdom: three photosynthetic microbes (phytoplankton), two heterotrophic bacteria that feed off the carbon produced by other microbes, and two microzooplankton that prey on other microbes.

Six of the seven microbial species tested were attracted to the DMSP in the microfluidic device; only one species — a phytoplankton — ignored it.
Some of the species displayed the strongest swimming responses among any of the 100 or so cases yet tested by Stocker and Seymour in their research projects.
This, Stocker said, is a clear indication that DMSP acts as a powerful chemical cue.

The researchers also found that some marine microbes, including bacteria, are attracted to DMSP because they feed on it, while others, the microzooplankton, are drawn to the chemical because it signals the presence of prey.
This challenges previous theories that DMSP might deter predators.
“Our observations clearly show that, for some plankton, DMSP acts as an attractant towards prey rather than a deterrent,” said Simó.

Farooq Azam of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, one of the first scientists to recognize the importance of microbes in the ocean food chain, agrees.
“The findings of this study are exciting and unexpected in showing how broadly distributed throughout the microbial food web is the ability to sense DMSP and to behaviorally respond to it. In view of the significance of DMSP and DMS in global climate, these results should stimulate future research to understand how the potentially complex microbial interactions are reflected in the regulation of the fluxes of DMS and DMSP.”

Azam also said that the study “adds substantial weight to the emergent view that understanding how microbes control the grand cycles of elements in the ocean and global climate” will require study at the scale of the individual microbe.

The researchers are now working on a system to replicate their experiments on oceanographic ships using bacteria collected directly from the ocean, rather than lab-cultured microbes.
This will allow them to use microfluidics to create a virtual microbe aquarium at sea.

“We’re doing for microbes what ecologists have done with larger organisms for a long time,” said Stocker. “We’re observing them in order to better understand their behavior.”

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Better monitoring urged for ailing oceans by 2015

From Reuters

Ocean scientists urged governments on Sunday to invest billions of dollars by 2015 in a new system to monitor the seas and give alerts of everything from tsunamis to acidification linked to climate change.

They said better oversight would have huge economic benefits, helping to understand the impact of over-fishing or shifts in monsoons that can bring extreme weather such as the
2010 floods in Pakistan.

A scientific alliance,
Oceans United, would present the plea to governments meeting in Beijing on November 3-5 for talks about a goal set at a 2002 U.N. Earth Summit of setting up a new system to monitor the health of the planet.

"Most ocean experts believe the future ocean will be saltier, hotter, more acidic and less diverse," said
Jesse Ausubel, a founder of the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO), which leads the alliance and represents 38 major oceanographic institutions from 21 nations.
"It is past time to get serious about measuring what's happening to the seas around us," Aussubel said in a statement.

POGO said global ocean monitoring would cost $10 billion to $15 billion to set up, with $5 billion in annual operating costs.
Currently, one estimate is that between $1 and $3 billion are spent on monitoring the seas, said
Tony Knap, director of the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and a leader of POGO.
Knap said new cash sounded a lot at a time of austerity cuts by many governments, but could help avert bigger losses.

Japan Tsunami

Off Japan, officials estimate an existing $100 million system of subsea cables to monitor earthquakes and tsunamis, linked to an early warning system, will avert 7,500-10,000 of a projected 25,000 fatalities in the event of a huge subsea earthquake.

"It sounds a lot to install $100 million of cables but in terms of prevention of loss of life it begins to look trivial," Knap said.

New cash would help expand many existing projects, such as satellite monitoring of ocean temperatures, tags on dolphins, salmon or whales, or tsunami warning systems off some nations.

Ausubel told Reuters: "The Greeks 2,500 years ago realized that building lighthouses would have great benefits for mariners. Over the centuries, governments have invested in buoys and aids for navigation.

"This is the 21st century version of that," said Ausubel, who is also a vice-president of the
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in the United States.

Among worrying signs, surface waters in the oceans have become 30 percent more acidic since 1800, a shift widely blamed on increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from burning of fossil fuels.

That could make it harder for animals such as lobsters, crabs, shellfish, corals or plankton to build protective shells, and would have knock-on effects on other marine life.

Scientists said it was hard to predict the effects of acidification.
Colder water retains more carbon dioxide -- making the Arctic most at risk.
Warmer water in the tropics could mean less retention of carbon dioxide.

Links :
  • Scienceblog : Speed installation of system to monitor vital signs of global ocean, scientists urge
  • LiveScience : Big Brother Network for Ailing Oceans Overdue
  • VLIZ : urge to speed up installation of system to monitor global ocean

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sailing alone

I grew up loving
Joshua Slocum’s “Sailing Alone Around the World”. It was “Walden” without the training wheels. Whereas Thoreau made so much of his precious solitude in a shack only a couple of miles from his home in Concord, Slocum actually put himself at risk. In his 50s, pistol-whipped by fate, he set out in a largely self-built 36-foot sailboat and somehow managed to circumnavigate the earth. He might have been without a crew, but he was hardly alone; he had the magical Spray for a companion: a vessel that could literally steer herself for hundreds of miles at a time while he reclined contentedly in his book-lined cabin eating salt cod and reading “Don Quixote.” For a landlocked teenager who had both nautical and literary ambitions, Slocum was almost too good to be true.

I also developed an early appreciation for the writer
Geoffrey Wolff, whose 1979 book “The Duke of Deception” remains one of my favorite memoirs. When I learned that Wolff had written a biography of Slocum, it seemed an ideal pairing. But a disturbing doubt began to creep into my consciousness. Did I really want to know more about Joshua Slocum? No real person could possibly measure up to the narrator of “Sailing Alone Around the World”. And as Wolff writes in one of the many fascinating notes in his new book, there is no accounting for how a reader will react to the subject of a biography. “The responses of book reviewers to subjects of biography are as unpredictable as the responses of a friend to someone introduced with the assurance ‘You’ll love her.’ ”

I needn’t have worried. “The Hard Way Around” is the best of books: a literary biography that also happens to be an adventure story. As it turns out, Slocum’s back story is just as enthralling, if not more so, than anything that happened to him aboard the Spray. Indeed, portions of his life read like a novel by
Robert Louis Stevenson. Instead of subjecting Slocum to the needless third degree, Wolff approaches his subject as an unapologetic fan. At one point, he recounts his initial, completely unexpected response to an early passage in “Sailing Alone Around the World”: “I stumbled on this run of language, bearing its load so easily, and the emotional burden it discharges so cunningly. Taking my breath away, it made me feel what I can only describe as love.”

Wolff does not fall victim to the modern obsession with having to find a new, never-before-glimpsed scrap of useless information about a time-worn topic; he is content, and self-confident enough, to provide his own view of the existing record. Instead of being intimidated by the many researchers and writers who have come before him in the search for Slocum, he embraces their labors. He even concludes with a passage from another author. After finishing this little book (which I did not want to end), I decided it was worthy of the admonition the British children’s writer
Arthur Ransome directed toward prospective readers of Slocum’s narrative: those “who do not like this book ought to be drowned at once.”

Part of what makes Slocum, who was born in Nova Scotia in 1844, such a mesmerizing figure was his determination to be a sailor at a time when steam power was clearly where the maritime future lay. Was Slocum, a willful anachronism, being foolhardy or simply true to an imperishable ideal? Wolff has fun with exploring the issue: “Doesn’t everyone know that in our beginning is our end? But So what doesn’t account for his plunge off the deep end. Almost any calling that might be considered — poet or autoworker or jazz pianist — seems from the perspective of common sense to be quixotic and probably doomed. Maybe it is enough to say So what?”

Which raises the question: Was Slocum’s golden age of sail all that golden? Well, yes and no. Many of the crews of these big and beautiful square-riggers were, according to at least one account, filled by “moronic bipeds” — drunken, violent lowlifes with no other options. And yet, Wolff points out, the skills required to work these ships were considerable. “Anyone who has struggled — from the comfort of a cozy easy chair in front of a cheering fire — to comprehend the names and purposes of the parts aboard one of
Patrick O’Brian’s ships will appreciate the complexity of a novice seaman’s task.” In the end, Wolff, like most of us with a soft spot for the sea, cannot contain his enthusiasm for the bygone days when huge commercial sailing vessels paused briefly in the harbors of the world like “greyhounds straining sleekly at their heavy chain leashes, about to weigh anchor and fill the sky with canvas and go to the other side of the earth at speeds more appropriate to a locomotive than a boat.”

At the age of 26, during a stop in Sydney, Australia, Slocum fell almost instantly in love with the pretty and determined Virginia Walker. In two weeks’ time they were married. Thus began one of the great, ultimately tragic love stories of the sea. Virginia followed her husband from command to command: fishing for salmon in the northern Pacific, building a boat in the boa-infested jungles of the Philippines and standing at his side as he spectacularly shoehorned the 100-foot bark Amethyst into the crowded anchorage at Hong Kong under the very nose of a British admiral. Not long after, Slocum became part owner and master of one of the largest and most beautiful sailing vessels afloat, the Northern Light. Slocum considered this command to be the highlight of his career, but not Wolff, who rightly points out that “hardheaded prudence often enjoys a holiday when sailboats are being considered.” Although big and beautiful, the Northern Light was anything but well built — an essential fact that Slocum seems to have stubbornly ignored. A poisonous combination of breakdowns and crew problems soon ensnared him in a variety of legal difficulties that ultimately forced him to sell his share of the vessel.

With the prices of large, antiquated square-riggers plummeting, Slocum managed to buy the 138-foot Aquidneck at auction. Soon after, however, while the ship was anchored off Buenos Aires, Virginia succumbed to what may have been a congenital heart defect and died at the age of 34. Slocum had lost the love of his life. “Father’s days were done with the passing of mother,” his son Benjamin, who was one of four children, remembered. “They were pals.”

Wolff’s account of his hero’s subsequent, more familiar career as a solo sailor is adroitly and economically told. Wolff speaks of the “imperviousness of Slocum’s emotional bulkheads, tightly sealed against the penetration of despair or complaint.” But as he also points out, “grief is not date-stamped,” and the sadness hidden within Slocum during his globe-girdling voyage is what drives much of the emotional energy of “Sailing Alone Around the World.”

After the publication of his narrative, Slocum’s sadness got the better of him. He purchased a farm for himself and his second wife, Henrietta, on Martha’s Vineyard but seems to have spent most of his days continuing to sail alone on the increasingly dilapidated Spray, heading south in the winter and cruising the Cape and islands in the summer. He was last seen departing the Vineyard in November 1908. What happened after that will never be known. One theory holds that he and the Spray were run down and sunk in the shipping lanes by one of the iron-hulled steamers he so despised — “that in effect,” Wolff writes, “he was murdered by modernity.”

Links :

Sunday, October 31, 2010

La Route du Rhum 2010 : the enduring magic

From SailWorld

Route du Rhum is a solo transatlantic race created in 1978 by Michel Etevenon from an idea of Florent de Kersauzon.

It has been raced every four years since 1978 between Saint Malo (France) and Pointe à Pitre, in Guadeloupe.
An open race which professionals and amateurs can enter, the Route du Rhum brings together on the same course multihulls and monohulls of all sizes and all classes.

Since its first edition back in 1978, it has become a legendary ocean race and has been won by some exceptional sailors.
Mike Birch (winner in 1978), Marc Pajot (in 1982), Philippe Poupon (in 1986), Florence Arthaud (in 1990), Laurent Bourgnon (in 1994 and 1998), Michel Desjoyeaux (2002) and finally Lionel Lemonchois (2006) have all has their names added to the list of winners in what is referred to as the Queen of transatlantic races.

Since 1994 and their arrival in the event, the 60-foot IMOCA boats have also seen wins by some of the top names of ocean racing: Yves Parlier (winner in 1994), Thomas Coville (in 1998), Ellen MacArthur (in 2002) and Roland Jourdain (in 2006).
As time has gone by, the IMOCA class has become one of the headline classes in the event.

For any first time anglophile visitor, landing in the heart of the ninth edition of the
Route du Rhum La Banque Postale might be overwhelming.
Even for the old stagers who are on their four yearly odyssey to the ramparts of Saint Malo, this year's edition is a truly intoxicating spectacle for its sheer scale, colour and level of activity.

To the outsider it might seem a curious contradiction that French ocean racing is so evidently in robust health.
This edition has an all time record entry which of course includes the
return of giant multihulls in the Ultime category, a flourishing IMOCA Open 60 fleet including three new French boats launched since April, and a 45 boat Class 40 fleet which has more or less doubled in size since their debut in 2006.

From the multi-million Euro programmes, for which this Route du Rhum- La Banque Postale is one of the cornerstone returns, to the small sponsorships in kind, more than 75% of the entries have some kind of sponsorship.
Clearly the Route du Rhum- La Banque Postale has lost nothing of its huge appeal commercially, or to the public.

A couple of days before Sunday's start and the huge 7000 square metre main regatta village is rammed with visitors.
Friday, saw another new record with more than 1 million visitors having passed through the quayside arenas, virtually surpassing last year's total even in advance of the tens of thousands who will arrive for start day. There is scarcely a seat to be had in the huge media centre.

Sam Davies
, the Brittany domiciled British skipper who is seeking support for her second Vendée Globe campaign and is here to support Oman Air's Sidney Gavignet sums up the magic and the appeal of the Route du Rhum-La Banque Postale:
'In France this is such huge event.
You have to remember that the race start is broadcast live on national TV for two and a half hours. It is Sunday, middle of the day, it is families who watch.
This is quite a traditional country and everyone sits down to watch on a Sunday, they will have an early lunch and watch the race as it unfolds.
If they do that, that creates a huge following all over France and they will follow the race until it finishes, especially because
Guadeloupe is French.
That sets them off. It creates such a buzz.
And of course it is only once every four years, so everyone waits and talks about the race for months in advance.'
'It has gone on for so many years, there is so much history, names like
Tabarly, Florence Arthaud.
This is the only race that a woman has won overall, beating all the guys, and it was in a race which has such extreme conditions, that makes it a race which is always has a history and stays in people's minds. So many people still cherish that memory of a little girl crossing the finish line in her silver trimaran.'

A million visitors since Friday 22nd October, comments:
Nicolas Belloir, assistant mayor of Saint-Malo in charge of sports with responsibility for the Route du Rhum-La Banque Postale:
'This is really satisfying for us. We have laid out clear measures which allow us to compute this data accurately. We have seen some great increases since 2006 and this is even in spite of what goes on with social unrest. We even saw Thursday peak with over 200,000 visitors, more than we had on Saturday in 2006.

For the town the implications are significant but the benefits are important. The hotels and camp sites are full. It is an extraordinary boost for the local economy.'

Jean-Yves Le Drian, President of the
District council of Brittany:
'Even before start day for the 85 skippers., this is already as success for Brittany. A popular success as measured by the record crowds on the quays of Saint-Malo but also in the town itself.'

Pierre Bojic, Managing Director of
Pen Duick:
'Our primary satisfaction is that the here the whole race attracts the wider public when it is not easy. It really underlines that the race is a popular, free access public event.'

Links :