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Tara Technic


TECHNIC >Tara Technic

Tara’s main characteristic is that it was conceived from the very beginning to withstand the great journey to the North Pole and resist the ice of the Arctic Ocean. Therefore, the boat’s original structures did not need modification.

During the workings, we simply fixed a few existing structures, added the scientific devices required for the mission, and improved the systems.

Thanks to the crew’s excellent maintenance work, Tara came back from its last sub-Antarctic trip in good conditions, despite having spent eight months in the Southern seas. We had to do the annual machinery and riggings checkup.

Weather-stripping Improvement
- We replaced the mess’s exterior windows, which weren’t waterproof.
- Repaired the silicon joints around these windows to prevent deformation resulting from low temperatures.
- Improved the heat insulation of the living areas to remove any non-insulated areas; when in contact with the insulation-free aluminum hull, the warm and humid air inside condenses. This water turns into ice, which would add tons of weight on Tara.
- Checked the floorboards’ insulation.

Power Systems Optimization
We worked on the production and consumption systems. In order to minimize generator use, we switched from an entirely electrical system to a gas-operated kitchen, fuel oil heating, and LED lighting. Following this logic of minimizing hydrocarbon consumption, 60 to 80% of our energy consumption will be renewable.

Here are the changes we’ve made:
- We installed an efficient boiler and its internal cooler.
- Installed two fixed wind turbines (capacity: 350W each)
- Installed solar panels
- Added a new energy system that includes two 3KW wind turbines and the possibility to spread out 40 square meters of solar panels, providing 5KW during the summer months.
- Multiplied by two the battery capacity
- Added a gas stove with better output than an electric one
- Switched from halogen lights to LED technology lighting
- Installed new laptop computers that require almost eight times less energy than the previous desktop towers.

Specific Systems Fittings

Tara has to be ready to brave extreme conditions, notably record-low temperatures, in the North Pole. This is the driest spot on the planet: it rains between three and eight times a year. Therefore, liquid unsalted water is a rare resource. Once caught in the ice, Tara won’t be able to pump up seawater to desalinate it, so we had to device a low energy ice tank that can melt the ice.

- We conceived and installed the ice tank with thermal exchanger plugged on the generators’ heater or water-cooler.
- Devised a weatherproof room to protect the staff form the blizzard
- Installed rudder blade holders on the deck capable of storing the 700-kg blades once on board.
- Devised protection for the mess’s windows.
- Stocked 30 gas bottles (enough for two years of cooking)
- Installed a third portico to create a new shielded work space

The scientific workings generated some modifications…

During the two-year-long drift, scientific tasks will be numerous. One of them will be repeated over and over again and required major brainstorming and work. Tara’s crew will analyze seawater samples from the surface to the deepest seabed with a probe attached to 4000 meters of wire.  We had to think it over in order to decide how powerful the winch should be and what kind of driving system we should adopt. We opted for the biggest possible size in order to prevent breakdowns and thus the whole system is quite big.

… as well as minor details that will become crucial in the future
- Storing all the material and food for a two-year period (almost nine tons!) requires large storage spaces. We opened a 6 cubic meter water tank to store supplies.
- A cabin was transformed into a sickbay
- We will install a 2 square meters area for artificial growing (tomatoes, salads, beans etc.)
- Install a trash compactor
- Remove the supplies’ plastic and carton packaging.
- Improve the communication network by adding a second HF radio.

Now following our safety guidelines, the boat’s vital organs have been doubled, sometimes trebled (heater, stove, generators, batteries, computers, telephones, wind turbines, lighting).

Tara 2006-2007

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