Yacht Class n°9 (june-july-august 2017)

Yacht Club de Monaco

Last March, la Belle Classe Academy welcomed ten professional guides from the Franco-Swiss company “Grands Espaces”, specialized in polar cruises, for a five-day STCW “Safety and Survival” course run.

Written by Aurore Teodoro – Photos : Mesi / Yacht Club de Monaco.

The reputation of the world capital of yachting knows no borders. Despite its relative youth, the same applies to the Belle Classe Academy, as proven by the ten polar guides, specialized in the world’s remotest regions, who chose the Principality for a five-day STCW “Safety and Survival” course run. “We always strive for excellence and naturally chose La Belle Classe Academy”, underlined Christophe Bassous, “Grands espaces” project manager and a specialist in polar marine bacteria and micro-organisms. Their choice was further motivated by the long tradition of exploration of the Principality, initiated by the Prince Albert 1st who went “four times to the North Pole, an principally to the Spitzbergen” and perpetuated by Prince Albert II, noted the geographer Christian Kempf, also founder of the French-Swiss company.

A five-day course run

Inaugurated last September, the Yacht Club de Monaco’s training centre proposes to yachting professionals (captains, owners, crew members…) courses dedicated to navigation techniques but also to the “Art of Service, Etiquette and Protocol” on board. For the Grands Espaces team, this week was focused on safety. These professional guides, who are in first place bird or ice specialist, ornithologist, geologist, veterinarian, photographer, mountain guide… alternated between theoretical and practical courses: personal survival techniques and first aid at sea, fire prevention and fire fighting, hygiene and safety…Although these cruises have existed for over twenty years, the World Maritime Organization has only recently compelled their guides to get this training, encouraged by an increasing tourism in these hostile territories. While around 7 000 people visited the poles twenty years ago, “we have seen a big increase in visitors to these destinations, with 45 000 people a year in the Antarctic, about 100 000 in the Great North. We pay a lot of attention to the safety of our passengers” explains Christian Kempf, who considers these cruise-expedition as above all a “journey for learning. We do this job because we want our passengers to become the ambassadors of these regions and the protection of nature”. Another great point in common with the Principality!

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