Big Boys' Toys - 20:21.08N 50:14.53W

The Return of Irene III - 2018
Louis Goor
Fri 15 Dec 2017 19:40

Thursday 14 December 2017 - Day 12 at Sea

We were 800 nautical miles from land when Louis decided to take his latest
toy out of its box. He first spotted the Go Pro Hero 6 Karma Drone while on
a business trip to Japan in November. By the time he got home to Co.
Wicklow, one had been procured online. However that didn’t leave much time
to practice his aerial manoeuvres before setting sail from La Gomera.

Having raised our spinnaker for the first time this morning, and also set
our Genoa to port, using the spinnaker pole - the adrenaline was really
flowing. What a perfect opportunity to launch the drone and capture some
spectacular photos of Irene III under sail, in the bright blue sun-kissed

Drones have a homing device which means they will always return to the
launch point where they took off from. But that feature was of little use to
Louis, given that we were moving forward at 10 knots an hour under sail.

Drones also have a ‘follow-me’ feature, which would have been more
appropriate for a moving landing zone like a sailing yacht at sea. But that
requires reading the manual in advance and Louis had stored the user manual
safely at home!

After checking with local air-traffic control, the Karma drone was quickly
airborne. And that’s when the problems began! Firstly, the camera refused to
take pictures or video footage – so a decision to abort the flight was
quickly taken.

With spinnaker and genoa hoisted, Irene III is no slouch and the Karma Hero
6 had difficulty keeping pace. As an “L” plate drone pilot, Louis found it
difficult to fly the craft back to its landing slot on the aft deck. The
trolling fishing line was an additional, previously unrecognised hazard.

If you’ve ever seen TV footage of fighter jets slap-landing on the deck of
an aircraft carrier at sea, that’s what Karma’s return to Irene III looked
like. All four of her rotor blades were smashed in the process – thankfully
the main body of the drone and its camera remained intact. Still trembling
from this near-drone-death Kamakazi experience, Louis was eventually calmed
with a warming cup of herbal tea.

Who would had believed that our close encounter with Motor Yacht Symphony
yesterday afternoon could yet end up in the pages of Hello magazine?

Turns out ‘MY Symphony’ is owned by the second richest person in Europe and
it looks like he’s heading to Antigua for Christmas. Bernard Arnault, is
Chairman and also a major shareholder of the luxury goods conglomerate LVMH,
whose brands include Louis Vuitton, Moët Hennessy, Christian Dior etc…

Bernard, a Frenchman, has a net worth of US$ 38 billion. MY Symphony can
accommodation 16 guests in eight staterooms and has a crew of 27. We thought
that wasn’t quite as good as our own skipper’s staff ratio - which has us
five crew attending to his every whim 24/7.

Once the low-down on MV Symphony was known, Sabine got the ironing board out
and pressed her best party dress. By evening time, her violin had been tuned
and its bow well rosined. She has sent word ahead that she’s available for
duty at Monsieur Arnault’s pleasure once we drop anchor English Harbour in