Currently ‘marooned’ at the Algoa Bay Yacht Club, whilst waiting for a favourable weather window is a 61 foot Nautor Swan, Indigo V.
Indigo V is crewed by a team of scientists from the University of New South Wales in Australia whose brief is to; “Cover some of the most undersampled and less characterized waters of the Indian Ocean.”
The Indigo Teams blog entry from today reads; “We’ve been adopted by the local yacht club and, as honorary new members, we participated in a small local regatta in the bay of Port Elizabeth. Despite our temporary amnesia of course rules (and the actual location of the finish line), the Indigo team came a respectable 2nd and is now officially accepted as a contender in the local yacht club. Go team!”
Indigo V took part in the Rose Bowl race on Sunday 26 May. The Rose Bowl is a race in which only Ladies may take the helm for the entire duration. This year’s race took the competing boats from a harbour start to the Bell Buouy and back to a harbour finish.
The winner of the Rose Bowl was Thelma Smith helming Tikalox II.
Onboard Indigo V are Mark Brown, Melanie Sun, Jaime Bibiloni Isaksson, Lauren Messer, Tiffanie Nelson and Nicole Lima. UNSW scientist and Australian national sailing champion, Dr Federico Lauro, is leading the team. Italian-born Dr Lauro won the Australian Championship in the Yngling sailing class in 2010, and was also a national sailing champion twice in Italy in the 1990s. Last year he came fourth in the world in the Yngling class. He has been sailing his whole life, holds a Yachtmaster Ocean Licence and is also an expert in microbial genomics in the UNSW School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences.
On the UNSW web site Dr Lauro said; “The six month-long expedition, which stops in Mauritius, Chagos Archipeligo, the Maldives and Thailand, will cost about $100,000. We will do the whole trip for less than what an oceanographic ship costs for one day.”
The scientific team onbaord Indigo V will conduct a range of experiments:
- Collect and filter water samples four times a day, storing the microbes in a freezer.
- Record water characteristics such as temperature, salinity and pH
- Analyse the DNA and RNA of the microbes to identify new genes and determine whether gene activity varies between night and day.
- See how the microbial life varies with latitude, and between pristine and busy areas.
- Test the health of the phytoplankton, which produce much of the oxygen we breathe
- See how much nitrogen is incorporated by the microbes in different regions
- Identify the microbes that live in oxygen-free zones at about 100 metres depth
- Compare samples from equatorial regions with those taken exactly seven years ago by US geneticist, Dr Craig Venter.
Editor’s Notes: A used (1990) 61 foot Nautor Swan can be bought for between 600 and 900 000 Euro’s – that is between R7 447 740.00 and R11 171 610.00 at todays exchange rate.