Five year Antarctica circumvention expedition
An Italian steel hulled cutter, Il Giundungo left this week the island of Elba for an unprecedented five year circumvention of Antarctica expedition project.
Before leaving the port of Olbia, in Elba, skipper Davide Freschi said that this adventure would be the dream of a lifetime. "There is nowhere in the world as beautiful as Antarctica" he said at a pre-departure press conference.
The 40-year-old Roman and his 15-meter sailboat 'Il Giundungo', is not expected to return until 2010.
The first stage of the mission will be to make the 7,000-mile trip to Tierra del Fuego, where he and his crew expect to arrive in February after calling in Canary Islands, Capo Verde, Brazil and Argentina.
The following October, early summer in the southern hemisphere, the Antarctica Sailing Project will begin with Il Giundungo's first attempt to circumnavigate the continent of Antarctica.
The four-year project, 2006-2009, will have sports and humanitarian goals as well as scientific objectives.
Il Giundungo was designed by Alex Carozzio, carries a crew of five and can remain at sea for as long as three months.
One of the greatest problems Freschi will have will be navigating in vast un-chartered areas. For this reason, Il Giundungo is equipped with the latest navigation and charting systems available, including state-of-the-art Netnav software developed by the University of Naples Navigation Department.
The university is one of the project's chief sponsors along with the Department of Marine Biology at the Tuscia University north of Rome and the International Center for Radio Medicine.
The project's humanitarian program involves delivering medicines to isolated communities along Argentina's extreme southern coasts.
The Antarctica Sailing Project is also being sponsored by a group of travel agencies which will stage contests to choose the lucky few who can be passenger-tourists on Il Giundungo