To each his pollution
“Yesterday, taking advantage of being on the port tack, I took the gennaker out of the boat, with which Ellen MacArthur had sailed during her Asian tour in 2006, I saw clearly before hoisting it that it smelled of its last hours. I told myself that if I finished it on this Route du Rhum in mode “Use It Again!”, it would have been a good life for this sail. It is 373 m2, so it is quite a surface, resulting like all sails, from petrochemicals. Eh yes ! Our sport, as beautiful as it is, is a pure product of petrochemicals… so far, sorry to disappoint you dear reader. And so I hoist this sacred sail, unroll it and tuck it in (already it takes 1 hour after having installed everything, everything tidied up) and 2 hours later, I hear the noise of paper being crumpled. I leave my cabin and I feel that it is the cry of despair of the sail which lives its last hours. That's right ! The fabric delaminates as they say (the layers of fabric come apart) and off you go. The wind is caught in it, shreds are made on the edge (the lower horizontal part of the sail). And there, I say to myself that I cannot let this go out to sea. So, I bear down to slow down the boat, take a knife, grab my sail and cut what there is to be cut from the fabric that floats at the wind. It is a mixture of fibers and plastic layer. It doesn't look like much when the sail is hoisted but given the ball of fabric (say 1m3) that I brought back, I tell myself that you absolutely have to pay attention to the slightest waste / fabric that flies away. Which reminds me of the reflection I often have when reading race stories. I am amazed to read how the sailors seem to let an entire sail go in the water, or even abandon their ship at worst. They are the first annoyed by the situation of course, but I rarely read a feeling of guilt towards the planet and the ocean, simply the sadness of losing their property.…  So, to get back to my gennaker, it's still there, I even rolled it up again, it's a bit nasty, of course, but I'll send it back tonight when I gybe to be on port tack, on my “bon” bord… while being careful not to let pieces of plastic go into the water 😉 Because if we all do, I hope so 😉 be careful not to throw the slightest butt on the ground (note: 1 butt = 500L of water polluted), the smallest plastic, on the ground in the city and elsewhere, then at least we, sailors that we are, must set an example. I promise I will do everything possible to ensure that this gennaker does not end up in the water! ” 

Romain on the Atlantic, 1400 nautical miles from the finish