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For those of you Capetownians who would like to and could make it, today Wednesday 27 February 2019 is the day to say goodbye to the crew of Fleur de Passion and to The Ocean Mapping Expedition. A farewell ceremony will take place at 4pm at V&A Waterfront Quay 6 right where the boat was docked in January before she went for maintenance in dry docks nearby (pictures).

Captain Pere Valera will raise the « Flag for the Oceans » with 12-year old Ana who won the 1st prize of the drawing contest organized during the stopover and as part of the various outreach activities intended to share the spirit of the expedition.

If everything goes well, Fleur de Passion should then set sail on Thursday 28 February early morning towards Dakar and ultimately Seville. So forgive the crew if they are still finalizing some preparation work while you’re there.

Save the date and stay tuned: on Thursday 21st February (precise timing to follow as soon as possible), Fleur de Passion will set sail from V&A Waterfront and leave Cape Town towards St-Helena island and Dakar. As « even good things come to an end » as we say in French, this departure will put an end to an amazingly thrilling 2-month stopover during which hundreds of people have had the privilege to discover and for some in particular get inspired by the spirit of The Ocean Mapping Expedition by visiting the boat and Our Spice Islands exhibition.

On this occasion, Fleur de Passion will proudly lift up and wave the « flag for the oceans », the drawing that won the 1st prize of the contest organized in January in the frame of the exhibition. The laureate was Ana, a 12-year old Capetownian and with the other laureates, as you may remember, she received her prize from Swiss Federal Councilor (minister) for Foreign Affairs Ignazio Cassis who was terminateing an official visit to South Africa at that time. The drawing has been printed to become a flag that was handed over to the crew last week and is now on board, waiting for the departure.

As for the boat, she is currently still in dry dock in front of Cape Grace Hotel for maintenance and will be lifted back to the water just the day before the departure. Why such a tight schedule? Simply because the maintenance work that had to be done on the hull has been delayed due to a technical problem of the synchro-lift. So on 21st February, come and join the ceremony to enjoy one last opportunity to see Fleur de Passion and wish fair winds to the crew and passengers who will spend some five weeks at sea before reaching Senegal by the end of March.

The expression could not have been more appropriate: the arrival of Swiss sailboat Fleur de Passion in Cape Town earned the from page of the Cape Times daily newspaper on December 19, the day after the press conference organized at the Royal Cape Yacht Club to mark the stopover of the expedition. Beyond this spectacular and so rewarding headlines, many other print, radio and TV media like SABC News that have covered the event in its many facets.
The South African media in particular focused on aspects of the country-related expedition: the boarding of four students for a week earlier in Mossel Bay as part of a project organized by CapeNature governmental organization with the support of the Swiss embassy; or the « residence on bord » of cartoonist Anton Kannenmeyer, some of whose drawings illustrated the interview he gave in the December 21 edition of Die Burger, the newspaper in Afrikaans.
As for the foreign press, the Cape Town correspondent of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung was unsurprisingly interested in the German ship's past. Would you be too? Then have a look here at the 8’ video telling the quite stunning history of 33m-long and now biggest sailboat under Swiss flag.

The Geneva-based non-for-profit Fondation Pacifique invites the media to the press conference organized at Royal Cape Yacht Club, Cape Town, South Africa, on Tuesday 18 December at 10am on the occasion of the arrival of Swiss sailboat Fleur de Passion as part of The Ocean Mapping Expedition.

Arriving from Durban and before heading back to Seville, Spain, therefore completing a 4 and a half year journey around the world in the wake of Portuguese navigator Magellan, the 33m-long and biggest sailboat under Swiss flag Fleur de Passion will stop in Cape Town from December 15th 2018 to February 15th 2019, first at Royal Cape Yacht Club then at V&A Waterfront.

With the support of the Embassy of Switzerland in South Africa and Consulate General in Cape Town, the crew of The Ocean Mapping Expedition will present the spirit and achievements of this unique multidisciplinary project that speaks volume for how the civil society of a landlocked country can mobilize for the oceans.

It will share initial results of the scientific programs on micro-plastic and noise pollution, coral bleaching and monitoring greenhouse gases (methane and carbon dioxyde) on the surface of the oceans, including unexpected findings on the role of the Indian Ocean as a sink for methane. It will also detail the wide range of outreach and educational activities at V&A Waterfront in January.

VENUE:     The Royal Cape Yacht Club, Table Bay Harbor, Cape Town, 8000

TIME:         10am

CONTACT: Samuel Gardaz, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / +41 76 563 65 43 (+27 82 526 84 63 from 11 Dec 2018) or Anja Medau, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / +27 63 639 2607

The stopover of Fleur de Passion in the State City from 13 March 2018 and the spirit to The Ocean Mapping Expedition aren’t unnoticed, and even far from it. A press conference was organized the day after the arrival at the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club in the presence of two of the scientific partners of the expedition as well as the Deputy Vice Chancellor of James Cook University, one of the supporters of the stopover with the Swiss embassy. And it triggered a pretty attendance and coverage from both local and international media. Below are the links to some first of these articles:

James Cook University press release
Polytechnic University of Catalunia

Swiss national television (in Italian)

Swiss national television (in German)

The Straits Times (for Premium subscribers only)

The Straits Times article in the Fullerton hotel magazine

AFP Youtube Video

AFP Facebook Post

World News

La Vanguardia, Barcelona (Spain)

El Periodico (Spain)


La Razon