Blowin’ in the Wind: Michel Desjoyeaux

By Richard

Michel Desjoyaux arrival in Pointe-à-Pitre - photo © Yvan ZEDDA / Team FONCIA, used by permission

How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind
(Bob Dylan)

Michel Desjoyeaux, the skipper of the 60ft. FONCIA monohull, is known to take music with him when he’s sailing. I don’t know whether he brought that song with him, but no doubt that the wind was the great issue during this 9th Route du Rhum – la Banque Postale.

Basically, it goes like this: when you’re crossing the Atlantic, you have to bypass the Azores High, a high pressure zone where there’s little or no wind. And of course there are two paths you can go by: North or South. And unlike what another song goes (Yes there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there’s still time to change the road you’re on – Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin), this is a strategic choice that cannot be changed during the Route du Rhum.

While most monohulls chose the North road, Michel (along with Arnaud Boissières) chose the South road, the good old Trade winds road.

Unlike the other boat categories, the IMOCA skippers are on their own with the weather forecasts. They are not allowed to be helped by their team ashore, it ‘s strictly forbidden to even allude to the weather and wind forecasts when the skipper and the team communicate. Therefore, the skipper must get the weather forecasts and try to figure out what’s going to happen all by himself, while still skipping the boat of course. A great challenge!

Well, this year it seems Aeolus was in a rather tongue-in-cheek mood, as the wind forecasts didn’t match reality at all. While the northern monohulls had to face hard weather and sea conditions, the two southerners didn’t find the expected Trade winds, which prevented Michel to fight for the fist places. Who knows, but he might have another Dylan’s song on his mind: Idiot Wind

Anyway, the boat went fine, Michel hadn’t any problem with it (I opened the toolbox just once for a small allen key to tighten a small screw on the rudder) , and when he finally found some decent Trade winds, he fought til the end, finally arriving this morning in 6th position after 15 days, 13 hours and 37 minutes at an average speed of 9.47 knots.

As he told himself during the race, a beautiful boat and Michel’s great experience may not be enough if you don’t find the good wind conditions. A good reminder that Nature remains stronger than all our technical excellence and hunger for victory…

Anyway, congratulations to Michel for his race in those rather quirky conditions and on to his next challenge: the Barcelona World Race which starts on December 31st!

Meanwhile, don’t forget the online 60ft. FONCIA 3D visit, we’re constantly improving it.

Michel enjoys a well-deserved Ti'Punch upon arrival in Pointe-à-Pitre - photo © Yvan ZEDDA / Team FONCIA, used by permission

You can see Michel enjoying the traditional Ti’Punch welcoming the skippers in Pointe-à-Pitre. And as we began this post with a song, let’s close it with an appropriate sea shanty:

Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest–
…Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!
Drink and the devil had done for the rest–
…Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!
(Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson)

Stay tuned, and keep 3D-ing!

Richard BreitnerRegards,


Richard Breitner, Passion for Innovation Program Manager

An Italian’s Take on French VR Cereal Gameplay

By Kate

The following blogpost is by Matteo Mannuci, one of the lucky not-in-France recipients of a VR Chocapic cereal box.  Matteo is a practicing architect in Florence, Italy.  I’ve translated his French post to English, and the artwork and photos are his.  Molte grazie, Matteo!

10 p.m.:  Tonight I spent time with one of my best friends and adventure buddies, Luca Aluffi, who also wore his own famous 3D glasses, sent to us by Kate!

Once we cut out and assembled our glasses, we threw ourselves into the game.  My super MacBook Pro had a problem with the plug-in, but with a bit of patience everything worked fine on Windows.  Luca’s little computer beat my powerful MacBook.

The game was excellent!!!! Blam, zam, bling!  The game is so well made and fun, it hypnotized us.  We laughed like children; while the game is very fun to play, it’s also fun to watch Luca playing . . .  Ah! Ah! Ah !

We tried all the levels, and I like the second one the best!!  Thanks again Kate.  We’re ready for the next 3D adventure!


P.S.  Next time will you send us the cereal inside the box too ?  Ah! Ah! Ah ! :p

Harvard Gets Immersive VR with Giza 3D

By Kate

Peter Der Manuelian tells me that Giza 3D at Harvard’s immersive virtual reality Viz Center is up and running, and the 170 undergraduate students in his “Pyramid Schemes” Egyptian archaeology class are loving it!

Here’s a 30 second sneak into the classroom:

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And for a more in depth idea of the content being shared and discussed in the Viz Center, here’s a Peter-guided video though and early version of Giza 3D. 

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I’d love to hear from any of you Harvard students or faculty who’ve tested the experience.  In real life, how is it?


P.S. For more information about Giza 3D, you may enjoy this blogpost.

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