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2024 News

Wednesday 21 February 2024

Port Navy Super Services

Just a year ago, we had a tricky task when we had to select a technical base on the Mediterranean coast to transform our newly acquired Lagoon 570 catamaran from 2001 into an OceanoScientific Explorer platform called LOVE THE OCEAN, and then commit to carrying out annual maintenance there over an eight-year cycle. At the time, we had no real knowledge of professionals in the sector. Over 45 years of professional activity on the Channel and Atlantic coasts had forged solid habits in this area, particularly with the excellent V1D2 Marine Services technical base (Caen - Normandy - France). After a great deal of work, our choice fell on Port Navy Service in Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône, where we placed the preparation of our Lagoon LOVE THE OCEAN under the coordination of Frédéric Switala and Benoît Gabriel (META Yachts Services). With just a few days to go before we cast off for the first of the OceanoScientific Coral Reefs Expeditions 2023-2030, we can only congratulate ourselves on having made the right choice. We appreciate the collaboration with the elected representatives of the town of Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône, in particular with the Mayor, Martial Alvarez, and his teams from the Pôle Nautisme Mer & Développement (Nautismed). At the Port Navy Service site - Club Lagoon's official port of call - we benefited from the presence of skilled specialists who helped us prepare for calm long-distance ocean sailing. From now on, we will have to wait for the storm "Louis" and its Mediterranean consequences to blow elsewhere before LOVE THE OCEAN can set a course to the South-West...

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The Lagoon 570 catamaran LOVE THE OCEAN manoeuvres to berth at the Port Navy Service quay. 

Drone photo Maeve Fabre - Port Navy Service

Since last May, Port Navy Service, managed by Philippe Froment, and the Club Lagoon have been combining their skills to offer exclusive benefits to owners of catamarans produced by CNB (Beneteau Group) who are members of the Club Lagoon. These include first-class berths, exceptional discounts on port services and many other privileges. This partnership is tailor-made for Lagoon lovers like us! In fact, LOVE THE OCEAN is one of the Ambassadors of the Club Lagoon. This community of excellence offers its members access to a network of prestigious marinas in many countries and exclusive discounts on the online Lagoon Boutique.

 

At Port Navy Service, in addition to the multi-disciplinary commitment of META Yachts Services - comparable to what is practiced in the preparation of ocean-racing yachts in the English Channel and Atlantic - we benefited from the services of the talented and rigorous team of Christophe Ortin (Atelier Marine Services), who worked efficiently on our two Yanmar engines, their saildrives and our Onan generator. They are also responsible for monitoring the maintenance of the Suzuki engine powering our Vanguard RIB. A valuable tandem with proven efficiency for the OceanoScientific eDNA Mediterranean Expeditions.

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Port Navy Service is an increasingly renowned technical base. It is not uncommon to meet famous sailors like Paul Meilhat, who is wintering his personal catamaran here. Or famous ships, like the schooner TARA here, which has just completed its campaign on the Rhône and is preparing to return to sea. Drone photo Maeve Fabre - Port Navy Service

All the Raymarine equipment was installed by Nicolas Escande (AD Nautic - The Wind Ship), who also checked and re-commissioned the interior lighting, as well as some electrical equipment such as the windlass, essential for our oceanographic missions. The saddlery work was carried out by Stéphane Lebar (WBS Yacht Service - Global Nautic).

 

Two outside companies were involved on board LOVE THE OCEAN during its stay in Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône. ROM-arrangé, THE reference in the capital of world ocean racing (Lorient - France) in terms of computer equipment and satellite links, thanks to its branch in Mauguio (near Montpellier - France) equipped our catamaran with the best equipment in this field. YACHTELEC, a company based in La Ciotat, renowned in the world of prestige yachting and superyachts, but also the only representative on the French Mediterranean coast of desalinator from the Italian brand Idromar, has refurbished this guarantee of unlimited freshwater autonomy. An important complement to the energy autonomy produced by the 2,000 watts of solar panels. Everything needed to be able to sail and explore without CO2 emission, even in the heart of protected marine areas...

 

At the time we publish this text, while the storm "Louis" is likely to ravage the North of our Atlantic coast and those of the Channel as far inland as possible, the Southern part of the storm will generate a severe South-Westerly storm, right in front of the bows of LOVE THE OCEAN. Nature imposes its own rhythm, which must be respected. As a result, we are going to have to wait for the weather window on Thursday 29 February to cast off. We will be staying at Pontoon K in Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône for a few days and don't expect to return to our technical base at Port Navy Service until the second half of August. There, we will carry out the maintenance before embarking on the Tour MER & MÉTIERS – Revealing the vocations of Tomorrow. A big month along the Mediterranean coast from Nice to La Grande Motte and we will be heading to Bordeaux in mid-December. This will be an opportunity to take part in the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Lagoon brand (140 years of the Beneteau Group) at the CNB boatyard pontoon, on the right bank of the Garonne.

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Pontoon K in Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône, specially designed to accommodate catamarans, is exceptional year-round, whether you are wintering in the Mistral or looking for a quiet stopover in the summer, when the surrounding marinas are overflowing and excessively noisy. A stopover that we recommend! Photo OceanoScientific

Wednesday 7 February 2024

Heading for the Parc national de la Guadeloupe

While the first of the OceanoScientific Coral Reefs Expeditions 2023-2030 had been planned for a long time to the island of Juan de Nova (Indian Ocean - Eparses Islands - France - TAAF), the Board of Directors of the philanthropic association of general interest OceanoScientific approved on Tuesday 6 February the alignment of its tropical campaigns with its global strategy. Instead of Juan de Nova, this first mission will take place on the other side of the Atlantic, in the Parc national de la Guadeloupe, in close collaboration with the management of this exceptional site and with its own scientific and educational partners. As Yvan Griboval, Director of the OceanoScientific Expeditions and skipper of the Lagoon 570 catamaran LOVE THE OCEAN, explains below, this is a change of direction that is totally in line with our strategic direction: to focus all our science-based activities on "Guiding young people towards the new professions of the Blue Economy". The preparation of our innovative oceanographic platform - which will sail with total energy autonomy and no CO2 emission - is now coming to an end in Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône under the coordination of Frédéric Switala and Benoît Gabriel (META Yachts Services).

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The Parc national de la Guadeloupe, which includes the Grand Cul-de-Sac Marin cove in the north of the island, is an exploration site rich in biodiversity. Like the rest of the Caribbean, it is suffering from the combined effects of climate change and anthropic pressure. Using in situ DNA sequencing to collect genetic data of marine organisms threatened with extinction as a result of the Sixth Extinction is of the utmost importance in safeguarding Guadeloupe's heritage. Photo by Anne Chopin with the kind permission of the Parc national de la Guadeloupe

"As we wish to carry out OceanoScientific Expeditions whose purpose is directly linked to benefiting young people in the territories explored, Juan de Nova, one of the five uninhabited Eparses islands, whose scientific interest is unchanged, no longer met our priorities", explained Yvan Griboval at the end of the Board of Directors meeting on the evening of Tuesday 6 February. "But not being able to take high school students to discover molecular genetics aboard our 17-metre catamaran is not the only reason for this change of objective.

 

Indeed, despite the sincere enthusiasm of the highly competent scientists from the universities of Mayotte and La Réunion with whom we were starting a collaboration, no scientific program could accommodate our OceanoScientific Expedition, because of its extremely innovative nature, outside traditional oceanographic standards. No one imagines that in situ DNA sequencing is possible and, above all, useful for the preservation and enhancement of genetic data from marine organisms threatened by the Sixth Extinction and anthropic pressure!

 

Self-taught, I'm an instinctive person. So I was keen to make the special trip to Saint-Pierre in La Réunion for a meeting on 21 September 2023 with the Prefect of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises - TAAF) and her department heads. During our 90-minute meeting, I realised that the welcome we would receive from the TAAF administration would not be commensurate with our commitment. I felt that the efforts made by our sponsors and partners to enable us to carry out this exploratory mission - at depths of five to eight meters in order to preserve unknown genetic data - would not be rewarded by a constructive collaboration to ensure the success of this undertaking. I deduced from this that the two times 80-90 days of sailing with an incursion into the Roaring Forties below the Cape of Good Hope should at the very least be postponed until the TAAF administration understood what was at stake. The enthusiasm of the Bureau de l'Action de l'État en Mer (BAEM) for the South-West Indian Ocean zone was not enough to counterbalance the TAAF's position.

 

The idea of working on a "proof of concept" in Guadeloupe, on the same dates as those chosen for Juan de Nova: Monday 8 to Friday 19 April inclusive, was obvious. Initial contact with Valérie Séné, Director of the Parc national de la Guadeloupe, and her colleague Sophie Bédel, confirmed this. Another factor in favour of the choice of a mission in the lagoon of Grand Cul-de-Sac Marin was that the École de l'ADN, chaired by Professors Philippe Berta and Christian Siatka, is currently being set up in Guadeloupe to give young people access to careers in genetics. Christian Siatka, Vice-President of the OceanoScientific association, is also our onboard reference geneticist in his capacity as Scientific Director. Carrying out the first of the OceanoScientific Coral Reefs Expeditions 2023-2030 on this island in the French West Indies will speed up the implementation of this project for the benefit of the people of Guadeloupe.

 

We will be setting sail for Guadeloupe late February and we are delighted to be able to start working with the teams from the Parc national de la Guadeloupe and its scientific and educational partners".

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The Grand Cul-de-Sac Marin cove is a jewel of marine biodiversity in the Parc national de la Guadeloupe, to the north of the island. It is probably one of the most strictly controlled marine sites in the French Overseas Territories to ensure its sustainable preservation, thanks to the teams who manage it with passion. However, many of its organisms are still poorly understood, especially when it comes to their genetic characteristics. Map published with the kind permission of the Parc national de la Guadeloupe

Wednesday 31 January 2024

Plastimo LOVE THE OCEAN

Plastimo was the first technical partner & official supplier of the Chantier Bénéteau's factory skipper, Yvan Griboval, in June 1981 for the TWOSTAR, the British double-handed transatlantic race from Plymouth (UK) to Newport (USA), raced with François Carpente on FIRST, a First 35. It is hardly surprising that 43 years later, Plastimo is once again involved in an adventure led by Yvan Griboval, now Director of the OceanoScientific Expeditions and skipper of the Lagoon 570 catamaran LOVE THE OCEAN"To carry out oceanographic explorations under sail without CO2 emission in little-known and sometimes hostile maritime areas, the first concern is the safety of both the ship and its crew. Indeed, Plastimo (Alliance Marine Group) offers the most appropriate range of equipment to guarantee safe sailing and to ward off the misfortunes of the sea to which every sailor is exposed when leaving port", explains Yvan Griboval. "Working with the best in all areas increases our chances of success, and guarantees our partners that we are taking care to put the maximum chances on our side so that we can proudly wear their colors aboard LOVE THE OCEAN".

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On Wednesday 24 January, Plastimo’s Marketing & Communication Director Frédéric Blaudeau (left)

and Yvan Griboval shook hands to seal the collaboration agreement between Plastimo and the OceanoScientific association for the public-interest sailings carried out by the Lagoon 570 catamaran LOVE THE OCEAN during the OceanoScientific Expeditions 2024-2030 cycle. Photo OceanoScientific – Plastimo

Who could have imagined - and certainly not Antoine Zuliani, the innovative entrepreneur he was when he created Plastimo in Lorient in 1963 - that 60 years later the Morbihan-based (France) brand would be present in 90 countries, with no fewer than 1,600 resellers in France!

 

Just as Benjamin Bénéteau, grandfather of Madame Annette Roux, couldn't have imagined when he founded his shipyard on the banks of the Vie river in Vendée in 1884, in Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie (France), that 140 years later his granddaughter would have turned it into an international behemoth of the nautical industry, accumulating world leadership titles, starting with pleasure catamaran builder with the Lagoon brand, which celebrates its fortieth anniversary this year!

 

Plastimo is an emblematic brand in the yachting industry, accompanying sailors and yachting professionals on all the seas Worldwide. Its proprietary ranges carry the brand's DNA and are complemented by a selection of well-known specialist brands, many of which come from the world of the Alliance Marine Group.

 

Plastimo stands for 12,000 products highlighting the four fundamental values of the Plastimo crew: Safety - Innovation - Pleasure for the Practitioner - Service for the Professional. These are the four cardinal points of Plastimo, a company renowned for its famous compasses still made in its own historic workshops, not far from the Lorient submarine base, now just a stone's throw from the huge buildings of the World's largest ocean racing stables, which became the famous Sailing Valley - Lorient La Base.

 

Safety is at the very heart of Plastimo's DNA ever since its origins, when its "Plein Ciel" life jackets were the uniform of the emblematic Les Glénans Sailing School. Safety has always been the guiding principle in the brand's development, as demonstrated by the latest life jackets, lanyards and harnesses to come out of the Lorient R&D department.

 

Plastimo and OceanoScientific share fundamental values relating to the necessary preservation of marine biodiversity, so it is just natural that Plastimo embarks on the Lagoon 570 catamaran LOVE THE OCEAN ...for long sailings...

Wednesday 24 January 2024

Guiding young people towards the new professions

of the Blue Economy

After presenting the new Board of Directors of the OceanoScientific association in the Newsletter of January 10; and having outlined the scientific objectives of the seven-year cycle from 2024 to 2030 in the Newsletter of January 17Yvan Griboval, President of the philanthropic association of general interest OceanoScientific, Director of the expeditions and skipper of the Lagoon 570 catamaran adapted as the oceanographic platform LOVE THE OCEAN, now presents the major objective of OceanoScientific in the form of an interview, validated by the members of the Board of Directors. It is the fruit of a long journey that began almost twenty years ago, in 2005, when the project was born to take advantage of sailing boats navigating in little-known maritime zones, and specifically under the three great continental capes: Good Hope, Leeuwin and Cape Horn, to collect oceanographic data of interest, while using these human adventures to raise awareness among the widest possible public of the need to respect and love the Ocean. The first major development, as mentioned on January 17, was the decision to assist scientists on condition that the data collected are used directly for the benefit of Humanity. The ultimate aim of our approach is now to implement everything we do, our OceanoScientific Expeditions, like all the other events organized by the association and the publicity they generate, for a single, far-reaching cause: to give young people access to the new professions of the Blue Economy.

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If the famous artist-photographer-diver from Nice, Greg Lecoeur, has captured here a marvellous scene of the life of a healthy coral reef, we can see in it the object of the OceanoScientific Coral Reef Expeditions 2023-2030. In other words, marine organisms whose DNA will be sequenced by Professor Christian Siatka using tiny samples collected without harming them, with the ultimate aim of identifying molecules of interest for Health, Well-being and Environmental Services for young people in the new professions of the Blue Economy. Photo Greg Lecoeur (All rights reserved)

Question - Why focusing the association's missions on raising awareness among high school and university students of the new professions of the Blue Economy?

 

Yvan Griboval - “When I returned to the Yacht Club de Monaco on June 2, 2017 at the end of the OceanoScientific Around the World Expedition 2016-2017, I brought back a single word from my adventure: "EFFICACITY", which I have been trying to put into practice ever since ...as efficiently as possible! 

 

Directing our oceanographic campaigns to serve Humanity is a first step. Indeed, we made a start on this theme last year with the OceanoScientific eDNA Mediterranean Expedition 2023.

 

In 2005-2006, the reason I decided to turn my attention to a philanthropic activity aimed at improving our knowledge of the Ocean, so as to better preserve it for future generations, was because I was about to become a father again. Because I realize that my son or daughter will never know Nature as it was in the 60s and 70s, when I spent most of my free time on the foreshore of the Pays de Caux (Normandy - France) and in the coastal strip of no more than one nautical mile (1,852 meters) where fishing resources flourished in profusion and seemed inexhaustible.

 

When the expected child turned out to be two identical twins and their sister, thus triplets (!), my convictions were reinforced. I then gradually abandoned my original field of activity - event communications in the field of sports sailing - to devote myself progressively, and then 100%, to the development of what has become the OceanoScientific philanthropic association of general interest. In this process, Cécile d'Estais-Griboval, my wife and the Super Mom of the triplets, joined the OceanoScientific association very early on, driven by the same energy as I am, to work with passion, obviously thinking of the generation of our soon-to-be 17-year-old children, but above all of future generations, without distinction of any kind, neither origin nor nationality.

 

Two other stages were decisive.

 

The first was when our triplets, born in June 2007, were around ten years old and I had just returned from my solo trip around the Planet. I explained to them the need to take an interest in as many subjects as possible, in anticipation of their professional lives in professions that probably didn't yet exist. Hence the imperative need to be curious and not to limit their dreams in any way. Because what is impossible one day will be obvious the next, if you are determined not to be constrained in your thinking or actions.

 

The second stage is more recent. It took place just over a year ago. When the three youngsters, well into the "exquisite" period of adolescence, found themselves in Seconde (first year of High School in France) with a choice of three specialties. This fundamental choice was the preamble to dropping one of the three specialties at the end of Première (second year of High School in France). And to round off Terminale (last year of High School in France) with a tighter selection of subjects to fit the mold of Parcoursup (a French platform for admission to superior education). In short, the exact opposite of what I recommended to our triplets five years earlier!

 

At a time when thousands of new professions are emerging in all fields, thanks in particular to ever more powerful tools - not to mention the contribution of Artificial Intelligence! - why should we limit the academic achievements of this young generation on the pretext of adapting to a mold based on an educational system from another century?

 

When I was between twenty and thirty years old, in 1970-90, being self-taught with no qualifications was potentially a huge handicap. That wasn't my case, and I am proud of it. Today, self-taught status is more of an asset than a hindrance to an exciting career in a new profession. A professional activity that you can design and develop yourself, thanks to the many advantages offered by both the French state and local authorities. No other country offers young people such opportunities. Let's help them make the most of them.”

 

Question - How are you going to reconcile the major missions of the OceanoScientific association with this impetus towards the new emerging professions of the Blue Economy?

 

Yvan Griboval - “First of all, an observation. Many teenagers are developing a school phobia and find themself totally demotivated to the point of having no interest whatsoever in high school courses "when there is everything you want on the Internet", as the recalcitrant teenagers keeps telling us. 

 

We have to admit that the number of those we call "National Education Castaways" is significant: demotivated children, disillusioned young students.

 

And yet, never before has the maritime sector and its extensions been so synonymous with future employment, except perhaps in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. But even then, I doubt it. At that time, there were no universal means of communication available, which today offer an international audience to the slightest word spoken on social networks, tools for global development among others...

 

A simple example. The Australians broke off the contract with France to supply them with submarines. The Americans and the British used whatever arguments they could to discredit our country and our skills in this field. But they recently retracted their decision, announcing that it would be impossible to deliver the famous Anglo-Saxon submarines. The reason? A lack of qualified manpower, due to a lack of training courses adapted to the new technologies developed by ever more creative engineers, and to ever more sophisticated materials.

 

In our field of using of genetics applied to marine organisms from French coral reefs, many tasks, expressions of biomimicry, need to be invented to establish an effective link between: the collection of tiny samples; DNA sequencing; the research and the valorization of molecules of interest; and the industrial and commercial use that could be made of them in the end.

 

As part of the highly innovative projects we are working on, we would like to point out that, as far as the valorization of (digital) genetic data and the marketing of products derived from it are concerned, we are lobbying the French authorities to ensure that any patent relating to the use of living organisms remains inalienably held by a third party in the territory of origin of the sequenced samples. No less. This is a major advance on the international rules governed by the famous Nagoya Protocol, which, as far as I'm concerned, is unfortunately as effective as a tennis racket without strings.

 

Of course, we have, directly or indirectly, strictly no financial or other interest in the exploitation of these digital data derived from living organisms.

 

We have been working on this project for two years under the name REssources FRAnçaises CORalliennes - REFRACOR 2030. We will have a chance to explain the ins and outs in a few weeks' time, once we are at sea on our first tropical mission.

 

Thanks to the decisive contribution of geneticist Professor Christian Siatka - presented in his role as Vice-President of the OceanoScientific association in the Newsletter of January 10 - and his experience as Director of the Genotyping and Genomics platform of the École de l’ADN, but also as designer and supplier of DNA kits to several hundred teachers of Life and Earth Sciences (LES) in middle and high schools, it will be possible, on April 17, 18 and 19, to raise awareness among 15 to 19 year-olds of the use of DNA applied to marine organisms in the reefs in front of their homes.

 

On board the Lagoon 570, transformed into the OceanoScientific Explorer LOVE THE OCEAN, we will be carrying out in-situ sequencing workshops in the lagoon, under the guidance of Professor Christian Siatka, Scientific Director of the OceanoScientific Coral Reefs Expeditions 2023-2030.

 

The aim is therefore to motivate these young people to see coral reefs not just as tourist sites for Metropolitan French and foreigners, but as the promise of jobs, the guarantee of being able to develop a professional activity without needing to be magnetized by Metropolitan France and its chimeras."

Wednesday 17 January 2024

Putting Science at the service of Humanity

As announced in the weekly Newsletter of Wednesday 10 January, on the occasion of the presentation of the new Board of Directors, this week we are talking about the scientific objectives of the OceanoScientific association for a seven-year cycle, from 2024 to 2030 inclusive. In the Newsletter of Wednesday 24 January, we will reveal the purpose of the OceanoScientific actions and eponymous expeditions. From the creation of the OceanoScientific Program on the 14 November 2016 to the OceanoScientific Mediterranean Contaminants Expedition 2020, the priority objective has been to collect physico-chemical oceanographic data, notably during the solo circumnavigation of the globe to carry out the OceanoScientific Expedition 2016-2017, which was the first campaign to collect scientific data at the Air-Sea interface under sail without CO2 emission below the 40th South, in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, below the three great continental capes: Good Hope, Leeuwin and Cape Horn. Yvan Griboval, President of the philanthropic association of general interest OceanoScientific, Director of the expeditions and skipper of the oceanographic platform LOVE THE OCEAN, adapted from a Lagoon 570 catamaran, presents these objectives below in the form of an interview, approved by the members of the Board of Directors.

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The OceanoScientific Coral Reefs Expeditions 2023-2030 will focus on studying the sponges that populate France's reef heritage. All of this will be carried out by a sailboat that will be self-sufficient in energy, without CO2 emission. The aim will be to collect tiny samples, without killing or harming the marine organisms studied, for initial DNA sequencing on board the catamaran LOVE THE OCEAN, using the molecular genetics cabin designed by our Vice-President, Christian Siatka. Photo Thierry Pérez, CNRS Research Director at the Station Marine d'Endoume - IMBE (Marseille - France).

Question - Why are you now interested in marine reef organisms?

 

Yvan Griboval - "First of all, it is important to point out that we haven't given up collecting physico-chemical data. In fact, a fourth version of the OceanoScientific System (OSC System) has been developed and we intend to install it as soon as possible on board the catamaran Lagoon 570 LOVE THE OCEAN. However, this is no longer the main focus of our OceanoScientific Expeditions.

 

With this in mind, we are currently in the process of equipping our Lagoon 570 with the OCEANO VOX system developed by Antoine Cousot in close collaboration with Thierry Reynaud, an Ifremer researcher who played an effective role in developing the OSC System and supervising the OceanoScientific Around the World Expedition 2016-2017. Thanks to funding from the PURE OCEAN foundation as a result of a call for projects won in 2023, we will be testing two OCEANO VOX boxes over long ocean distances to enable Antoine to finalize this product. It is ultimately intended for pleasure sailing boats, as part of a vast operation led by Lucie Cocquempot, the bearer of this winning project: "Citizen into Science" in her capacity as Oceanographic Observation Coordinator at Ifremer, which has been encouraging participatory science for almost twenty years.

 

These physico-chemical data are of prime importance when it comes to assessing anthropic pressure on marine biodiversity and the impact of Man on Nature. Consequently, the fact that the Lagoon 570 LOVE THE OCEAN has such an innovative equipment is a real asset to be leveraged for the benefit of institutes and researchers who devote significant resources to these studies. However, raising funds for this purpose is complex...

 

Nevertheless, from 2018 to 2022, two reflections have been progressively linked. The first relates to feedback from the many conferences held to report on my solo circumnavigation as part of the OceanoScientific Around the World Expedition 2016-2017.

 

Whether I was talking to school students from upper classes of elementary school - our priority target in those years - or to adults, every time I mentioned the scientific mission carried out on behalf of our partners: Ifremer, Météo-France, IRD and CNRS, the same question came up: "What is the use of what you have collected?"

 

I admit to felt a certain unease when I read the waning interest in my adventure in the eyes of my interlocutors, whatever their age; when I explained that these scientific data collected far from land in hostile seas, by implication at the risk of my life, were destined to feed databases totally abstruse to the public. At best - and this was the initial commitment of the excellent researchers who supervised the OceanoScientific Expeditions in question - the result would have been a scientific publication aimed at the "few" scientists concerned by the subject. A "few", because you can't reasonably compare the audience of a scientific publication with that of a general news magazine.

 

When I explained that these oceanographic data, which are rare and of great scientific value, have no market value; that the researchers concerned don't pay a single euro to access and use it, or even to make a significant contribution to funding the campaigns used to collect it, my audience's already flagging interest turned frankly critical on the theme: "All that for this? ...".

 

This observation made us think hard.

 

Indeed, one of the aims of the OceanoScientific Expeditions is to use the maritime adventure of its innovative scientific sailing missions in little-known and little-visited maritime zones, to raise the awareness of the widest possible public, so that everyone takes an interest in the Ocean, with the aim of respecting it, preserving it for future generations, and loving the Ocean. Hence the name of our catamaran: LOVE THE OCEAN. Without easy public support, the objective is not achieved.

 

It was during the first confinement, trapped by the situation in our house in Cabourg (Normandy - France) with a strict ban on treading the damp sand of the immense Normandy beach that the sea uncovers so far away at low tide (what an ordeal!), that I became aware that the common denominator of Humanity was in fact the fear of illness, the fear of dying, even of growing old.

 

However, not being myself a scuba-diver and therefore not frequenting the wonders of tropical waters, it was thanks to the research and storytelling talents of Denis Allemand, Scientific Director of the Centre Scientifique de Monaco, that I learned that the marine organisms that populate coral reefs potentially conceal molecules of interest for human health and well-being: dermatology, cosmetology, nutrition. A door opened up on my self-taught journey...

 

While my first intention, inspired by Denis Allemand's communicative passion, was to take a natural interest in coral, I gradually abandoned the idea of making it the Alpha and Omega of the OceanoScientific Expeditions for a number of reasons, the most decisive of which was a conversation with Gilles Boeuf on Tuesday 8 February 2022 in Brest on the way to Oceanopolis during the One Ocean Summit. It can be summed up in these few words: "Yvan, if you go to the coral reefs, take an interest in sponges as a priority, they are extraordinary animals about which we know little except that they can provide solutions for the benefit of humans through biomimicry..."

 

All it took was another meeting, this one on Wednesday 17 August 2022, with Professor Thierry Pérez, an internationally renowned sponge scientist based in the Endoume district of Marseille (France) at the Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d'Écologie marine et continentale (IMBE), to be definitively won over by the sponge virus, those fantastic animals that pioneered the Planet approximately 650 million years ago.

 

In addition, I was struck at the same time by the resentment of my audiences of all ages, as well as prospective company directors, at the realization that these oceanographic data, reputed to be unique and of great value, in fact had no market value whatsoever. And no matter what you do, no matter what you say, it is difficult if not impossible in our consumerist society to justify fighting for the preservation of something that is, in fact, "worthless" in their eyes...

 

Thanks to the hypothesis, justified by thirteen Nobel Prizes in Medicine - that is no mean feat! - that marine organisms potentially conceal molecules of interest for human health and well-being, it seemed possible to me to add value to these animals forgotten on their reef rocks, and therefore to mobilize for their preservation, starting by working to know them better."

 

Question - But the more you demonstrate that what is freely available in the sea has value, the more you will increase the plundering and destruction of coral reef biodiversity, the opposite of the message you want to convey?

 

Yvan Griboval - "Indeed, it is a subject that kept me busy many nights. Rather sleepless and anxious ones! An equation that seemed impossible to solve. All the information I gleaned here and there showed that the search for molecules of interest from marine organisms required the use of hundreds of kilos, tons of live animals, due to the biological techniques used for this deadly research.

 

As an autodidact who believes that what is impossible is in fact what has not yet been achieved, I imagined that by resorting to genetics, by working on the DNA of marine organisms, there was probably a way of identifying these famous high value-added molecules ... without killing or harming the slightest animal. On land, I fight every day never to kill spiders or flies, so I'm not going to kill colonies of animals at sea, some of which, like sponges, are reputed to be the first multicellular animals to have taken up residence on our planet...

 

But when I raised this idea with our research contacts, I was politely advised to "look after my sailing boat and let the specialists do the Science". At least, that is how I perceived it...

 

Yet, when a self-taught person instinctively feels that there is a path where everyone else sees only the densest jungle, it is sometimes useful to remain attentive to what he or she is going to achieve. Willpower, combined with a healthy dose of stubbornness and enthusiasm, can sometimes open up unsuspected opportunities...

 

As the world of French oceanography scoffed at my idea of using genetic data from marine organisms, I turned in September 2021 to a geneticist who knew nothing about reef organisms other than the superb images in magazines extolling these enchanting seabeds. So I addressed Professeur Christian Siatka, co-founder and Chairman of the Scientific Board of the École de l'ADN and, among other prestigious positions, member of the Unité Propre de Recherche CHROME (UPR CHROME), ...who last October became Vice-President of the OceanoScientific association and Scientific Director of the OceanoScientific Coral Reefs Expeditions 2023-2030.

 

When Christian explained to me that a hair, a fingernail clippings or a little saliva can be used to accurately collect DNA of a human being, and that it would therefore only take a few millimeters of sponges to collect their genetic data, from which it would then be possible to study for their molecular characteristics, enabling the search for the "famous" molecules of interest, I realized that a path was indeed opening up in front of me. More like a freeway than a country lane!"

 

Question - From now on, what are exactly the scientific objectives of the OceanoScientific association?

 

Yvan Griboval - "We have two objectives in one. In one because in both cases, it is a question of genetics, of processing, of exploiting the DNA of marine organisms without ever removing them from their environment, without harming them and even less killing them.

 

While the maturation of the coral reefs project was gradual and rather long to define precisely, the decision to collect eDNA* samples was much quicker.

 

As always in the life of a self-taught person, it is the mysteries of Life: the Encounters, that guide us towards certain paths rather than others. In this case, a long exchange on Friday 16 September 2022 in La Ciotat on the sidelines of the Lumexplore Festival with Pierre Boissery, Expert in coastal waters and the Mediterranean coast of the Rhone Mediterranean Corsica water Agency, was decisive. We got closer to each other on the theme: "The Mediterranean is not a dustbin, let's make it known so that this sea with its rich biodiversity is respected as it deserves, rather than being vilified as one of the most polluted maritime spaces in the world, a sea where everything is screwed up, where it would be pointless to fight to preserve its biodiversity...".

 

Pierre Boissery quickly put me in touch with Professeur David Mouillot, a researcher at the Marbec Joint Research Unit (UMR Marbec) based at the University of Montpellier. It was a professional love at first sight on Wednesday 26 October 2022 in his laboratory, with this pioneer in the use of eDNA* to precisely identify species living in coastal marine areas.

 

This is how the OceanoScientific association got fully enrolled as a science logistician in the BioDivMed Mission, carrying out its first OceanoScientific eDNA* Mediterranean Expedition last July, before committing to a further four-year cycle on this theme in 2024-2027 to create "Biodiversity Sentinels", from Menton to La Grande Motte in our case.

 

The BioDivMed Mission 2023 consisted in carrying out a synchronized and standardized inventory of living organisms on the French Mediterranean coast and in the Pelagos sanctuary, using eDNA*, under the joint impetus of the Rhone Mediterranean Corsica water Agency, the University of Montpellier and an ANR-funded joint laboratory between theMarbec Joint Research Unit (UMR Marbec) and the company SpyGen.

 

This unprecedented and exemplary partnership in the service of marine biodiversity also involved Andromède Océanologie, the Vigilife alliance and two philanthropic associations in Nice: Greg Lecoeur's We are Méditerranée and OceanoScientific.

 

This exceptional operation was the first fine-scale, synchronous mapping of marine biodiversity from the French Mediterranean coastal zone, including lagoons, river mouths and harbors, to the Pelagos Sanctuary between Corsica and the mainland, in order to better understand the occurrences of fish, crustacean and marine mammal species.

 

Never before such a synchronized and standardized inventory of marine biodiversity has been carried out in France. OceanoScientific took a record of 104 thirty-minute samples at 52 Stations (see map below) along the 465 nautical mile (862 km) route of the OceanoScientific eDNA* Mediterranean Expedition 2023, dedicated to this unprecedented collection of eDNA* along the French Mediterranean coast."

Photo_02-EOAM23-Remise_des_echantillons-02Lt.jpg

Delivery of environmental DNA (eDNA) samples in the port of La Grande Motte in July 2023 as part of the OceanoScientific eDNA Mediterranean Expedition 2023. From left to right: David Mouillot (Scientific Director / UMR Marbec - University of Montpellier), Yvan Griboval (OceanoScientific Expedition Director & Skipper), Léa Griboval(Speed & Depth Manager), Pierre Friant (Second -in-Command & Vanguard-Suzuki Pilot), Léni Guillotin (Marine Biologist / Scientific Manager), Justine Camus (OceanoScientific Expedition Coordinator / GPS trajectory Manager). Photo OceanoScientific

Question - Listening to you, it is easy to see why the OceanoScientific Coral Reefs Expeditions are of interest to Humankind. When it comes to collecting eDNA samples, the interest for human beings seems less obvious. Tell us about it...

 

Yvan Griboval - "Indeed, the OceanoScientific Coral Reefs Expeditions will enable genetic data to be used for Health (Human - Animal), Well-being (Dermatology - Cosmetology - Nutrition) and Environmental Services (Agriculture - Aquaculture - Depollution).

 

If today, eDNA* is a proven tool for identifying species present in volumes of water up to 30 meters deep, which remains a major scientific innovation and has shown that species thought to be extinct still populate the French shores of the Mediterranean Sea, in the near future, Professor David Mouillot, with the help of the SpyGen teams, will be able to identify not only the presence of species on a given site, but also their density.

 

This information will become a fantastic asset for inshore fishermen - those involved in "small-scale fishing" - who will be able to put their fishing sites in fallow. In other words, they will be able to reduce fishing pressure for a while on their favorite sites, which are sometimes relentlessly prospected from grandfather to grandson, and let the fish stocks recover, by fishing elsewhere, on the advice of scientists, where the resources are more abundant. It is a win-win situation. For Nature first. Then for the fishermen, both in terms of sales (by accessing a larger resource) and in terms of the guarantee of a sustainable resource. This will enable young people to succeed them without fear of a tomorrow without fish.

 

In this way, we will promote in the medium to short term the implementation of a sustainable fishing for a sustainable food.

 

In conclusion, our work will always serve Fundamental Science - since our status as "Oceanography Logisticians" will strengthen French researchers' access to quality scientific data. But our priority now is to encourage what I call "Science of Use", whose aim is to "be of use to Humanity as quickly as possible".

 

Thus, when young people ask me "Sir, what is the point of what you are doing?", I will no longer see disappointment in their eyes, but on the contrary a definite interest, and even the realization that the Blue Economy's professions of the Future are being created, and that new career paths are opening up for them. This will be the subject of our next Newsletter on Wednesday 24 October..."

 

* environmental DNA 

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In July 2023, OceanoScientific took a record of 104 thirty-minute samples at 52 Stations on the 465 nautical mile          (862 km) of the OceanoScientific eDNA Mediterranean Expedition 2023, dedicated to this unprecedented collection

of eDNA* along the French Mediterranean coast. Photo OceanoScientific

10/01/24 Nouveau CA

Wednesday 10 January 2024

Reshuffle of the Board of Directors

At the start of January, the thirteenth anniversary of the OceanoScientific association (07/01/2011), when reshuffling is a hot topic in France, we are delighted to announce that our Board of Directors is now made up of: Yvan Griboval, President; Professeur Christian Siatka, Vice-President; Béatrice Witvoet, General Secretary; Charlotte Bouery, Treasurer; Philippe de Boucaud and Richard Houbron. We would also like to express our respect and gratitude to our outgoing members: Rupert Schmid, co-Founder of this NGO, Rémi Bollack, Juliette Declercq and Manon Praud. Over the past thirteen years, Rupert Schmid's comments, advice and contributions have enabled OceanoScientific to grow, sometimes overcoming difficult hurdles, by constantly moving forward in the spirit of conquest that befits a philanthropic association of general interest, whose priority objective is both to explore little-known maritime area under sail without CO2 emission, and to raise awareness among young people of the imperative need to RESPECT and LOVE the Ocean.

Photo_01-Coucher_de_soleil-Cap_Lardier-Lt.jpg

At sunset on 27 December 2023, on a calm Mediterranean Sea, the Lagoon 570 catamaran LOVE THE OCEAN,

skippered solo by Yvan Griboval, points its bows at Cap Lardier, the southern tip of the Saint-Tropez peninsula,

on the way to the Pôle Nautisme of Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône to complete the preparation for the actual departure

of the first of the OceanoScientific Coral Reefs Expeditions 2023-2030. Photo OceanoScientific

Here are a few details about the new Board of Directors of the OceanoScientific philanthropic association of general interest, based in Nice, the host city from 5 to 15 June 2025 of the third United Nations Ocean Conference - UNOC Nice 25.

 

Yvan Griboval, President, Director of the OceanoScientific Expeditions and skipper of the Lagoon 570 catamaran LOVE THE OCEAN, wanted a scientific Vice-President at his side who could take on three tasks in one.

 

His first mission: To guide the association in promoting the use of science, and specifically the genetics of marine reef organisms, for the benefit of Health (Human - Animal), Well-being (Dermatology - Cosmetology - Nutrition) and Environmental Services (Agriculture - Aquaculture - Depollution).

 

Its second mission: To design the molecular biology cabin on the 17-meter catamaran LOVE THE OCEAN, so that he can perform in-situ DNA sequencing of samples as soon as they leave the water, when the scuba-diving scientists bring them back on board after their coral reef explorations. This will be a real scientific innovation.

 

Its third mission: To run introductory workshops in genetics applied to marine organisms and DNA sequencing on board or ashore near the LOVE THE OCEAN catamaran, in order to promote the new professions of the Blue Economy to young people before they embark on the courses identified by Parcoursup (a French platform for admission to superior education). This third activity will be one of the innovative features of forthcoming stopovers on the Tour MER & MÉTIERS - Revealing the vocations of Tomorrow. It will be implemented as soon as April 2024.

 

The Vice-President is Professeur Christian Siatka: Geneticist, toxicologist, University Professor at the University of Nîmes, Deputy Director of the BIOTIN Master's program, Head of the Professional Degree of Biotechnology professions and member of the Unité Propre de Recherche CHROME (UPR CHROME). He teaches Molecular Genetics, Biotechnology, Toxicology and Regulation/Quality. Christian Siatka is Director of the Genotyping and Genomics platform at the École de l'ADN, chaired by Professor Philippe Berta, who is also Member of Parliament for the sixth district of Gard. He is involved in Research programs in Human Genetics, Environmental Genetics and Functional Genomics. Christian Siatka is a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Citizen’s Reserve - "Pôle Judicaire" of the National Gendarmerie and an Expert for the European Commission.

 

General Secretary, Béatrice Witvoet, Lawyer at the Paris Bar since 1992, has a degree in European Law from Paris II University, in collaboration with the Universidad Complutense of Madrid as part of the Erasmus program. She also holds a Master's degree in International Transport Economics and Law from Paris I University. Béatrice worked at the Bouloy Grellet et Associés Office for eight years before founding LBEW with two other lawyers. LBEW is a niche firm specializing in the maritime sector covering transport, logistics and industrial risks, working for transport operators, marine and industrial insurance players, both in France and abroad. In 2004, Béatrice and four other women founded the French branch of the Women International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) network, which now has around around 100 members. WISTA is present in forty countries and has three thousand members. Administrator of the French Maritime Cluster and the École Nationale Supérieure Maritime (ENSM), Béatrice Witvoet works on a number of large-scale projects: promotion of French marine insurance; the legal environment for Marine Renewable Energies (MRE); and the attractiveness of marine business lines to women.

 

Treasurer, Charlotte Bouery, daughter of a Navy officer, spent her youth on the French coast in the major naval ports of Cherbourg and Toulon. After graduating with a Master's degree in Science and Management from the prestigious faculty of Paris-Dauphine, Charlotte then began a career in international finance as an equity trader with CDC IXIS. After a few years' break to devote herself to raising her three children, Charlotte Bouery moved to Monaco in 2005 to focus her career on real estate.

 

A graduate of the French school for new communications professions (EFAP), Philippe de Boucaud completed his academic training in cultural management at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA), then in international relations in Buenos Aires. He then turned simultaneously to the art market in New York and event communications in Paris. However, Philippe took a six-year break for adventure, sailing the oceans on all types of sailing boats. These circumstances led him, for example, to finance and install electricity in Soweto; to collaborate with Paul-Émile Victor's teams; and to join President Carlos Menem's Cabinet. A man of networks, Philippe now heads the BeCLAM influence & Culture Office, helping private and public companies to develop their communications strategy, digital marketing, crisis management, lobbying and change management, using art as a lever for performance. A cultural agitator, TV program producer, fair creator and exhibition curator, this incorrigible entrepreneur has also set up a wine trading company! 

 

Richard Houbron is co-Founder partner of the Paris-based multi-family office: Experts en patrimoine. He is Professor of Finance at the École d'Économie de la Sorbonne. His professional career began in investment banking, where he worked for fifteen years in the Technology - Media - Telecommunications (TMT) sector, before becoming an entrepreneur, looking after the wealth interests of his executive clients and their families.

 

After having strengthened its Board of Directors, the OceanoScientific association is enthusiastically and multi-skilledly committing itself to the 2024-2030 period, whose program will consist of three major actions: OceanoScientific Coral Reefs Expeditions 2023-2030; OceanoScientific eDNA* Expeditions 2023-2027; Tour MER & MÉTIERS 2023-2030 - Revealing the vocations of Tomorrow.

 

The next two weekly Wednesday newsletters from the OceanoScientific association will be devoted to what could be likened to a general policy statement.

 

In two parts, in the form of an interview reviewed and approved by the new Board of Directors, Yvan Griboval will set out: firstly, the main thrusts of CO2-free scientific exploration under sail over the next seven years, on Wednesday 17 January; secondly, the purpose of all OceanoScientific's actions, namely : to guide young people, and in particular high school and university graduates up to Bac + 3, towards the new professions of the Blue Economy generated by the imperative need to adapt to the consequences of global warming/ climate change.

 

*environmental DNA 

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Cruising along the French Mediterranean coastline is a pure delight, especially when passing off the majestic Esterel massif, as in this image taken mid-afternoon on 27 December 2023. Photo OceanoScientific

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