Mirpuri Foundation completes seven-day transatlantic voyage
by Chris Jefferies and Roger Lean-Vercoe
The former Volvo Ocean Race 70 yacht Mirpuri Foundation has completed a seven-day transatlantic voyage, with skipper Paulo Mirpuri arriving into Barbados today (February 5).
Formerly known as Green Dragon, this 21.4 metre sailing yacht was built for and competed in the 2008/9 Volvo Ocean Race finishing in fifth place overall, skippered by British sailor Ian Walker. The VOR 70 yachts are among the fastest monohulls ever built. Renamed Mirpuri Foundation, the yacht made the 2,300-mile passage to raise awareness for the Mirpuri Foundation's Save The Ocean marine conservation campaign.
Portuguese philanthropist and businessman Mirpuri (pictured below) led an experienced 10-person crew that was sourced from seven different European countries and complemented by amateur sailors from Europe.
After a carnival-style send off from the port of Mindelo in the Cape Verde Islands on Sunday January 29, the team covered 300 nautical miles during the first night, when winds touched 30 knots — a tough introduction to Volvo-style racing for the amateur element among Mirpuri Foundation’s largely professional crew.
Speaking last month, Belgian trimmer and helmsman Bram Vanderbiest described the Spartan interiors as “very minimalistic with everything done to make it lighter and make the boat faster”. In view of this, the passage was never going to be a cruise, especially as the weather forecast predicted swells of up to seven metres along the way, and during the crossing Mirpuri Foundation recorded a maximum speed of 30 knots on January 31.
This passage was the first transatlantic voyage for Mirpuri, although having sailed since childhood, the skipper does have plenty of amateur racing and sailing experience on yachts measuring up to 50 metres.
Based in Lisbon, the Mirpuri Foundation is active in a wide variety of philanthropic areas, including the Save the Oceans program. An entry for the 2020/1 Volvo Ocean Race is currently being discussed between Mirpuri and the Volvo Ocean Race chairman as a means of spreading awareness for the Save The Ocean marine conservation campaign, which is focussed on pressing issues such as fishing sustainability, acidification of the oceans and the proper disposal of all plastic waste.