To publicise the work carried out by the Mirpuri Foundation in the field of conservation of the oceans and marine ecosystems, its chairman, Paulo Mirpuri, has embarked for the first time on a transatlantic crossing and has already announced an endeavour to register the first Portuguese team for an important international sailing event in 2020.
To mark the start of its 2017-2019 cycle of activities, the Mirpuri Foundation is organising this transatlantic expedition from the Cape Verde island of São Vicente to Barbados, in the Caribbean, on board a racing yacht named Mirpuri Foundation (a 21-metre VOR70, formerly Green Dragon) crewed by a team of professional sailors led by the skipper Paulo Mirpuri, leading the project forward in the name of the foundation.
Based on values dear to the Mirpuri Foundation – courage, ethics, team spirit, innovation, technology and professionalism –, the skipper Paulo Mirpuri wants this first ocean crossing to lay the foundations of the project for a Portuguese crew to take part in an important sailing competition, with sailors who will be ambassadors of the Mirpuri Foundation, taking its “for a better world” message to all four corners of the world.
Although this is his first ocean crossing, the chairman of the Mirpuri Foundation has sailed since the age of 14, on board boats of various types – from monohulls to multihulls, from 3 to 50 metres, on coastal routes and solo in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and Pacific.
Paulo Mirpuri had an opportunity to sail on a VOR70 yacht in the Adriatic in October 2016, alongside its Austrian owner, Johannes Schwarz. “I was amazed by the complexity and performance of the yacht, which could sail at the same speed as or even faster than the wind itself.”
Even though this will be a new experience for him, Paulo Mirpuri has put together a solid and highly professional crew, which will help him to minimise risks and maximise possibilities of success. “In ocean sailing, we leave our safe harbour, we set out into the unknown, we have to look after ourselves for days, weeks and sometimes even months. We rely on ourselves to solve any problems that may appear, with the commitment that survival requires from us.”
It will be 2,300 nautical miles from Cape Verde to Barbados, and the Portuguese skipper stresses that this ocean saga will represent the values of the Mirpuri Foundation with regard to integrity, ethics, courage, tenacity, hope, team spirit, innovation and technology. “To be on board a racing yacht – small and fragile when compared to the vastness of the ocean – helps us to become aware that it is truly possible to fulfil our dream of fighting to make this world better for future generations.”
Hoping that the north-east trade winds will be well established at this time of the year, with speeds of around 15 to 20 knots, the Portuguese yachtsman envisages steady blue-water cruising for most of the route. “However, during such a long ocean crossing, we have to expect everything from doldrums to tropical storms, which we will try to avoid. In recent years, the trade winds have been atypical, without a well defined pattern, probably as a result of the climate changes that have been felt all over the planet.”
The Portuguese project
This ocean voyage will thus be a rallying cry for the project for the first Portuguese team participation in a major international sailing event.
“The crews are unusually courageous, strong, smart and fearless men and women facing successive challenges – rough seas, storms or onboard breakdowns. Only the strong character, perseverance, team spirit and determination of these sailors make them spend months on end in the harshest conditions trying to overcome all adversities.”
“I saw in this profile the same spirit and the same principles that guide the work of the Mirpuri Foundation. I thought that if I could put together a team with the same values based around me and the foundation, we could develop very interesting work for a better world. And I believe that a voyage of thousand miles always starts with a simple step.”
“That was when the idea arose of launching this first sailing project, the symbolism of which goes far beyond the simple ocean crossing, reflecting an attitude of the Mirpuri Foundation, a way of being, of dreaming, of analysing, of achieving goals and overcoming the difficulties that we come up against, however great they may appear, with the certainty that after a storm comes the calm.”
As the foundation is Portuguese, Paulo Mirpuri intends to honour the country and its long tradition and history associated with the oceans, with the discoveries of new worlds and with scientific and technological development. “For this reason we decided that the Mirpuri Foundation yacht will have a 100% Portuguese crew and we will have three years to set up the crew and train it to the highest level of ocean racing”.
The Mirpuri Foundation sailing project has already received dozens of spontaneous applications from top Portuguese sailors, with European and world titles, and participation in the Olympic Games, but the selection process will only be concluded in mid-2017. Depending on the Portuguese sailing talents recruited, it will be decided whether the crew to take part in the regatta will be male, female or mixed.
“It is not enough for them to be very good technically. It is essential that, as future ambassadors of the Mirpuri Foundation, they share its values. Our main aim will be to publicise worldwide the foundation’s work on raising awareness about and conservation of oceans and marine ecosystems.”
“The Mirpuri Foundation supports projects that help to determine the best way to protect oceans and marine species and their ecosystems, also seeking to raise awareness among the public and authorities of the need to create conservation laws and policies. The “Save the Ocean” campaign focuses on this point – increasing public awareness of what everybody can do to protect the oceans –, from beach cleaning to warnings about ways to limit our impact on the marine environment. Knowledge about the oceans and marine life is very important to encourage and educate the public.”
Confirmation of the participation of a Portuguese team in an international sailing event will be announced in June 2017. By the end of 2017 the final selection of the team of sailors will be concluded. Sea training will then begin and will continue for nearly three years until the round-the-world race in 2020.
“I will be present throughout the process and at all stopovers, and I will be on board the Mirpuri Foundation yacht during the last stage of the race. An ocean race is a very hard competition and must be left to professionals of the highest competitive level. I naturally dream of a victory for our team, but our main objective is to take part and to complete the race, taking the message of the Mirpuri Foundation to all continents and raise awareness of our cause among many millions of people.”
Official sponsors of the transatlantic crossing:
Mirpuri Foundation – main sponsor
Photos by Jorge Leal
Communication Officer – Nysse Arruda (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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