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Tara at Portsmouth

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Tara at Portsmouth

Tara at Portsmouth

It was past eight o’clock when the sun rose this morning. A beautiful day welcomed us for our arrival in England in Portsmouth.

On Tara’s deck, Charles Terrin and Audun Tholfsen were getting ready for the accosting to come. To fix once again with straps some plywood planks on the deck. To lower with Samuel Audrain the two main sails. To hoist the English flag and the ship owner’s flag “Tara Damocles”. To prepare the dock lines and the monkey’s firsts that would be thrown to the dock and to install the fenders to limit shocks against the future quay.

Bathing in the golden light of this early morning, Tara began her approach. Fishing boats were leaving to work at sea. The first buoys indicating the beginning of the channel were emerging in the thin morning mist. Faraway on the portside, leaving the Channel, we could see the ferries; cargos and container ships continue their journey relentlessly. A pilot boat crossed our road heading swiftly toward the open sea to guide perhaps one of these sea giants.

In the far distance, Portsmouth stood out: towers, one taller than the others representing a mast and a spinnaker. Two forts were guarding the channel’s entrance that led to this famous port of Southern England. To be under their fire in ancient times meant certainly risking the worst and required a lot of courage.

« There we are, nearly finished. We are returning to civilization with her towers, her businesses, and we are suffering a bit from the blues” confided Hervé Le Goff, our scientist, to me. For Marion Lauters or Grant Redvers, the expedition leader “a gentle arrival, no particular shock. Marion was telling me that” she was happy to have experienced this adventure and happy also to find life again”. It was the same type of reaction for Ellie Ga, our New York artist. For Hervé Bourmaud, Tara’s captain relieved to have accomplished this new episode without any mishap, a stretch of 1 600 miles, the acclimatization is taking place gently before the great return to Lorient.

But no time to beat about the bush, after having correctly moored Tara, we have to connect Tara to the electricity of the pontoon, connect Tara to running water also.
Normal manoeuvres after a mooring. To take care of the foremast that was torn during the sea storm in Norway.
We also changed our clocks to local time that is one hour less than Paris time.
We shall set course for France on the 21st of February. Until then, we must clean the boat and tidy up because we are about to welcome no less than ten people onboard. The quasi totality of the crew members having participated in this one year and a half drift. And the designers of this adventure, Etienne Bourgois, director of Tara Arctic, Jean-Claude Gascard, coordinator of the European scientific programme “Damocles”, Bernard Buigues, Christian de Marliave and Philippe Clais. Only Romain Troublé, the logistics director will be missing. We shall arrive in Lorient all together.
It is official since this morning, we are already neighbours

Vincent Hilaire

Tara 2006-2007

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