Catching up with TIMEZERO Ambassador Maewan Adventure as they sail the Kuril islands

We tracked down Maewan captain Erwan Le Lann who just got back from sailing through the Kuril islands. These islands are somewhat of a mystery as they have been disputed for over 100 years between Russia and Japan. This means that very few people get to sail them.

Maewan Adventure is a project to break boundaries by using the Maewan boat to access some of the most far flung places on earth and to perform extreme sports on these islands or in the waters around them. Snowboarding, climbing and kite-surfing are just some of sports that will take place for in this adventure. To be able to sail in these extreme locations they use the Maewan boat which is a Trisalu 37 ft boat built in 1982 in Quebec, built to perform in the toughest of conditions.

We tracked down the captain, Erwan Le Lann. He is not your typical sailor but probably better defined as a cross sport athlete, being a name in big wall climbing, ice climbing and base jumping as well as sailing. He talked about why he uses TIMEZERO software to help him navigate remote locations such as the Kuril islands.

“The Kuril Islands are aligned from the southern point of Kamchatka, Russia all the way down to Japan. They are protected islands and in a way, this is thanks to the dispute of ownership between Russia and Japan. For us this is a bonus because it is very difficult to get the permission to visit these islands and of course because of their remote location.

Luckily, we had the knowledge of two Russian friends, Sergey and Alexei who were there this past summer and could give us the details of two places to moor.

The currents change drastically between the various islands but also along the coast line, the currents on the eastern side are different to those on the western coast.

The weather is often foggy, the depressions that usually come one after the other in winter calm once May arrives.

The islands are so close together that you have the feeling that you are just sailing on a lake surrounded by mountains with winds that change quickly from one spot to another. We often went from 10knots to 30 knots in little more than 50 meters!

For me the main worry is to know when we moor somewhere whether to sleep in the boat or get to shore. Each place had its own unique challenges. Using the alarms within TIMEZERO, they could be adjusted precisely based on the unique conditions of each mooring spot. This added security was really appreciated.

Once the weather forecast was downloaded from within TIMEZERO, it was easy to use. Using the layers menu, I could easily activate or disactivate the different weather forecast displays (wind, currents, pressure, etc.), and using the color coding to display differences it gives a great overall idea straightaway.

Once a route was created, I could easily adjust it if the forecast (tidal currents, currents, delays) meant that that was necessary.

The 3D view is really an advantage when you’re sailing along the coast because the reliefs can be seen more clearly and when the wind is strong, you don’t want to chance your luck.”

Why did you choose TIMEZERO software?

“It is the software program most known and used by navigators in my domain. I needed a software that I can rely on, that is precise and that will have charts all around the world. It didn’t take long to decide!”

What were your first impressions of TIMEZERO?

“A fluid chart engine with a nice user interface. A complete tool but simple at the same time.”

What is the last trip you took using this software?

“It’s the third year that we are travelling in these remote areas of the planet. We left from France and spent the winter in the North Atlantic and today we are here in Japan having arrived by crossing the Berring Straight, the length of Kamchatka and then down the Kuril Islands. These areas have been hardly even visited and we were the first tourists to set foot in the Kuril islands, so the little information that we got from fellow sailors and TIMEZERO software worked hand in hand to make this possible.”

Why is it important to have a navigation software in your domain?

“I no longer use papers charts and today all the navigation is regrouped in TIMEZERO, the weather forecast, the route, the charts, etc. I’m always discovering new places that have barely been visited before. Without a reliable marine navigation software, the dangers of such an adventure would increase massively.”

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