Features In Depth Atlantic crossing carries energy message
Read more news

Atlantic crossing carries energy message

French skipper wants to educate mariners about reducing fossil fuel consumption

A Frenchman is in the midst of fulfilling a dream of crossing the Atlantic in a fuel-efficient 21-foot mini-trawler to draw attention to the current energy crisis.

Spirit of Arielle skipper Yves Kinard, 52, and partner Patrick Brachet, 47, completed a 900-mile shakedown cruise from St. Martin to Bermuda on less than a single tank of fuel, burning about 265 gallons.

The pair then left Bermuda for the Azores, with their ultimate destination being France, which they hoped to reach in late June.

The prototype small boat is described by Kinard, a naval architect with Mayrick Yacht Design in St. Martin, the designer and builder, as a Mayrik P214 Mini Trawler. He told the St. Martin newspaper The Daily Herald that the prototype cost around $285,000 (U.S.).

Kinard says the rationale behind the trip is his concern over the world’s “petroleum wasting.” He says we all have an obligation to reduce consumption of fossil fuels and decrease the pollution generated when they are burned. “The consumption of the engines in general, and those intended to propel the boats in particular, must obligatorily decrease,” he says on his Web site (www.mayrik.com).

The pair is taking the fuel-frugal boat to France to show the marine industry how engines — and vessels — can be built to conserve fuel. They will refuel in the Azores, about 1,800 miles from Bermuda, before continuing to France.

Kinard and Brachet arrived May 22 at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in Hamilton after 900 miles and six days at sea. Commodore Ralph Richardson, who was on hand to greet them, says the pair endured two days of gales during the passage from St. Martin.

“When we departed St. Martin we had [a full 343 gallons] of fuel, and we still have more than [79 gallons] of fuel left, but I must calculate it,” says Kinard. The range is significant for a 21-footer, but this small boat was designed especially for long-distance cruising. “Normally, for this kind of length of vessel, it would be impossible,” he says.

The P214 is powered by a Perkins M92B, a 4-cylinder, in-line, water-cooled, naturally aspirated, direct-injection diesel. It is the next generation of Perkins’ successful M92, over which it offers 6 percent better fuel economy. Kinard says testing showed an average consumption of 0.85 gallons per hour making 5.9 knots at 1,200 rpm, his target for the approximately 3,800-mile voyage. The engine has a maximum power of 86 hp at 2,400 rpm, according to Perkins.

The boat’s bulbous bow and variable pitch Autoprop add to fuel efficiency, and Kinard has rigged a 150-watt solar panel for some of the electrical needs on board. “The power normally taken on the engine by the alternator is thus saved,” Kinard writes on his Web site. “Moreover, in the event of engine failure, this panel will guarantee electric autonomy.”

The boat has the basic comforts for long-range cruising: a saloon with stove, sink and countertop; head and shower; a small dining area; and a cabin with two bunks. The vessel carries 80 gallons of drinking water.

Spirit of Arielle is named after Arielle, the 43-foot vessel French marine artist Marin Marie took across the Atlantic in 1936 from New York to Le Havre in 19 days under both diesel and sail power. From the Azores, Spirit of Arielle will voyage about 1,300 miles to the port town of Saint Martin de Ré, with an expected arrival date of late June. The port is near La Rochelle, where the annual Le Grand Pavois boat show — one of the largest in Europe — is held each September. Kinard hopes to attract media attention upon his arrival and display his trawler at the show, looking for buyers and inspiring others to follow his lead.

Tari Trott is a reporter with The Royal Gazette newspaper in Bermuda. Soundings associate editor Rich Armstrong contributed to the story.

This article originally appeared in the August 2008 issue.


BoatQuest