The Microtransat team from ENSTA-Bretagne in Brest, France launched their Microtransat 2011 entry this weekend. See their facebook page at for more details. You can track the boat’s position on the Microtransat website. We are currently experiencing some problems with microtransat.org, so please visit for the time being.
Unfortunately the MOOPs little journey didn’t quite go as planned. After sailing east for a few hours to begin with, the boat then headed north, then west heading further out to sea than the start point. Then after a few loops she headed north towards the Llyn penninsula, just after 20:00 UTC on the 4th of September we received a message from the SPOT tracker showing the boat to only be a few hundred metres offshore near Porth Ceiriad beach. This is a popular, but remote surfing beach with sand across the middle but rocky cliffs on either side. The beach is about 2 hours drive away from Aberystwyth and unfortunately other commitments meant we couldn’t go and look for her until Wednesday 7th.
We got there about an hour after low tide and attempted to walk along the beach towards the last reported position of the MOOP. Unfortunately there isn’t much of a beach in that area, just lots of large rocks. With an incoming tide and increasingly slow progress over the rocks we were forced to turn back, having only been able to get about 500 metres from the last reported position. There was something white visible through the binoculars, which might have been the sail, but it could have been a buoy from a lobster pot or something else which had washed up. Given the size of the rocks on the beach, the boat could easily be hidden between two of them or smashed to pieces by them. It might have been damaged and then dragged back out to sea again. It doesn’t look like we’ll ever find out.