TONGA - 8th Waypoint
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is officially the Kingdom of Tonga, a Polynesian country and archipelago comprising 169 islands, of which 36 are inhabited. The total surface area is about 750 square kilometres (290 sq mi) scattered over 700,000 square kilometres (270,000 sq mi) of the southern
Ocean. The sovereign state has a population of 100,651 people, of whom 70% reside on the main island of Tongatapu.
Tongans have universal access to a national health care system. The Constitution of Tonga protects land ownership: land cannot be sold to foreigners (although it may be leased). While there is a land shortage on the urbanised main island of Tongatapu (where 70% of the population resides), there is farmland available in the outlying islands. The majority of the
population engages in some form of subsistence production of
food, with approximately half producing almost all of their basic
food needs through farming,
harvesting, and animal husbandry.
Tonga has begun implementing tailor-made policies to power its remote islands in a sustainable way without turning to expensive grid-extensions. A number of islands lack a basic electricity supply, a supply entirely coming from imported diesel: in 2009, 19% of GDP and 25% of imports consisted of
Our Trustees believe that it might be useful to anyone interested in progressing low carbon transport, for us to plan a route for the Elizabeth Swan, such that if it is deemed a worthy cause in the battle to tackle climate change, that we have a plan in place to demonstrate clean ocean transport is not as far away as one might imagine, should the political will crystallize to accelerate sustainable technology after COP 24 in December 2018.
If the Foundation were to support the initiation of such a challenge, it would be in a dual format, also being designed as an ocean awareness event to attract a global audience to gain the highest potential media coverage.
8TH LEG - The eighth leg of this zero carbon voyage is approximately 410 nautical miles from Nukualofa, Tonga to Suva, Fiji. At a cruising speed of 7 knots this leg would take 2.5 days to complete. At 6 knots the journey would take 3 days.
Hence this is a theoretical exercise to determine what might be possible in the world of cargo and passenger transport if future ships were to use a power formula derived from the Elizabeth Swan and SeaVax platforms, to increase voyage speed for zero carbon shipping such as to be commercially viable and non polluting.
The following then is a contingency plan to be ready should the Foundation or any Government, Organization, ocean literacy associate or collaborative research partner decide (jointly) that we are in a suitably robust position to mount such a challenge to be worthwhile in awareness terms, including advancing climate control knowledge.
The above does not preclude the possibility of responsible commercial associates enjoining - being a most welcome prospect, perhaps when the Foundation is further along the R&D line and any proposed circumnavigation presents less of a technical risk share to potential contributors and end users, such as ship builders and fleet operators. Such partnerships might accelerate project development considerably.
OCEAN AWARENESS - PROVISIONING & MEDIA STOPS
We are making allowance for nineteen (19) provisioning and Public Relations stops of three days duration each. This adds an extra 57 days to the expedition in the interests of furthering awareness objectives. Hence, the passage would not be an outright race, unless any consortium providing financial incentives decided not to stop for photo opportunities by way of a condition in accepting support. If a race was decided on, provisions for a 3-4 person crew would need to be stored on board. Being solar and wind powered there is no need for conventional refueling.
RECORD HOLDER - On the 4th of May 2012, history was made, as Raphael Domjan, at the helm of a giant of a catamaran powered only by solar panels crossed the finishing line at Monaco to become the first electric boat to sail around the world. MS Tûranor PlanetSolar, known under the project name PlanetSolar, was (@ 2018) the largest solar-powered boat in the world. The vessel was launched on the 31st March 2010, also going into the Guinness Book of World Records with a time of 584 days to better by any contender. The project was mostly financed by Immo Stroeher, the owner of the boat. Though a magnificent endeavour, PlanetSolar was not designed at the outset to take full advantage of energy from nature, but was rather a very much modified ferry design.
FOSSIL FUELS - The Cable and Wireless Adventurer was built for the purpose of circumnavigating the world in less than 80 days. This was successfully accomplished in July 1998 in 74 days, 20 hours, 58 minutes, traveling more than 22,600 nautical miles (26,000 miles or 41,855 km). This achievement set a new Guinness World Record for a diesel powered vessel. The nautical mile or knot, is a unit of speed equal to approximately 1.15078 miles per hour on land (1.852 km). Solar power cannot compete with diesel engines. This boat is though one of the links in the evolution, or archaeology of efficient hulls.
CLIMATE CHANGER - The above table illustrates one of the most likely ocean awareness expedition routes, known as the 'Sunshine Route,' showing the time elapsed in days for 7 knots average cruising speed, including times for 5 and 6 knot averages - allowing for 10% downtime and 36 days in ports. Hence, although the objective is to reduce the current solar circumnavigation record from 584 days, the event in not an outright non-stop yacht competition in the offshore racing sense. It remains to be seen how accurate such a prediction might be. In this table we only allowed 36 days for provisioning and PR but added a 10% contingency for servicing, that could be used for additional time in ports. As a Climate Changing event, performance is one of the main criteria, especially concerning the possibilities for a transition to low carbon shipping and the contribution this might make in combating global warming.
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