Anne Quemere of France is an accomplished solo adventurer. Having crossed the Atlantic Ocean by rowing solo in both directions (westward in 2002 and eastward in 2004) she had already established her reputation as a courageous and determined adventurer.
Anne Quemere's latest undertaking is to pilot her specially built Oceankite boat across the North Atlantic from New York to Brittany, France entirely under kite power. The trip is expected to last from five to six weeks and will cover a distance of over 5,600 kilometres. A new adventure in kite traction is under way!
Oceankite, built by Marc Ginisty of composite materials, is designed to provide comfort and safety to Anne during the arduous crossing of the mighty North Atlantic. Once underway, Anne will be on her own as her support team will only monitor her progress through modern communications and GPS location systems powered by solar arrays. It will truly be a solo voyage.
Oceankite is equipped with eight kites for traction although only one will be used at a time. The craft has a length of 5.5 metres and a beam of 2.15 metres. It is designed to be self-righting in case it capsizes in heavy seas. There is space to store the extra kites, foodstuffs and various navigational equipment for the long weeks of the ocean crossing. The entire unit acts as autonomous cell which provides Anne with a degree of comfort and protection while handling the seas under kite power.
Each traction kite is a four line, 16 square metre, multi-celled inflatable kite. It is steered and directed by a bar to which four kite lines are attached. A harnessing hitch provides the anchor for the pulling force of the kite on the boat. Anne then steers the kite by maneuvering the control bar, much as a kiter flies a quad line kite. Multiple kites were packed in case of damage to a kite or in the event that the boat capsizes and the kite totally fills with water and cannot be launched again.
The route that Anne is taking will enable her to harness some of the power of the mighty Gulf Stream. This current moves at a rate of 150 kilometres per day and will provide some additional forward impetus to her self-contained boat. However, due to the current's fairly constant direction it can also carry a boat into storm paths. Extra time may be required to work against the current and navigate around some weather systems as they emerge.
Anne is providing an on-line account of her journey and it will be interesting to watch the progress of this amazing woman in the days to come. You can follow Anne's accounts on her web site and track her progress as well as read her journal entries daily.
All in all, Anne's current kite sailing adventure will be an exciting and rigorous challenge. Good luck Anne! May your journey be blessed by the Best Breezes possible!
For a video of Oceankite under way with Anne Quemere at the controls, visit the blog/website of Le Passeport Oceanique Universel. Scroll down to the June 2, 2006 entry entitled: "Video et ziqmu". The video loads quickly in high speed and is definitely worth the wait if you are on a dial up connection. The video features a helicopter view of Anne Quemere directing Oceankite under full kite power on modest seas. The view is dramatic!