Turbosail - Sailing the trade winds of the Atlantic

Turbosail - Sailing the trade winds of the Atlantic

Moulin à Vent heads west (1983)

What joy to cross the Atlantic on an experimental ship! What an honor to sail in the path of Christopher Columbus! This is just what is happening to Captain Cousteau and his colleagues, on board on Moulin à Vent for her first trans-Atlantic crossing. The ship certainly was not built for adventure. Her hull, salvaged from an old catamaran is quite fragile and the constantly lapping water is hard on her; it pounds the bottom of the boat between the two keels violently. The base of the Turbosail™, where it is anchored to the deck, is probably bearing too much stress. As long as there are no storms…

The crew stopped for a moment at the Salvage Islands, where they went diving. Then they continued on their way west. They have caught the famous trade winds that are pushing them toward America, just as the winds propelled Christopher Columbus and those who followed him to the New World. Moulin à Vent is moving at more than 10 knots. Her Turbosail has demonstrated brilliantly how reliable it is. Its efficiency, too, is a delight, to realize that it would take sail with five or six times more surface area to achieve the same productivity. The wind is strong. The voyage is showing how fast the ship can go. The electronic equipment is all functioning.

By satellite, the Cousteau staff team keeps up with how the experiment is unfolding day to day, even hour to hour. A pod of dolphins has come to greet the ship. A whale blows in the distant waves. Seabirds have taken up position at the top of the Turbosail.