MCB faculty Florian Engert and OEB faculty Bence Ölveczky are spending their sabbaticals on the high seas, competing in a sailboat race around the world. They will launch from Cape Town, South Africa tomorrow and sail across the Southern Ocean to Fremantle, Australia.
The Clipper Round the World Race is one of the longest ocean races in the world, covering 40,000 nautical miles in 70-foot racing yachts. The race is divided into eight legs, and Engert and Ölveczky will be racing in leg 3 across the Indian Ocean. Engert will also participate in Leg 5, which goes around Indonesia and north into southeast Asia, and Ölveczky will contribute to the final leg, which crosses the Atlantic.
As members of Team “Washington DC,” Engert and Ölveczky will cross one of the most dangerous stretches of open ocean in the world, the “Roaring Forties,” where tall waves and high speed winds can wreak havoc on sailing crafts. Engert told The Transmitter that he was drawn to the challenge of sailing across the world’s most remote stretch of open ocean.
Engert and Ölveczky, who have been friends for over 20 years since Ölveczky was a postdoc in MCB, spent four weeks over the previous two summers training with the rest of the crew and finetuning their sailing skills. The third leg of the race will take about 23 days. Both faculty are looking forward to a unique experience and to doing some soul-searching while testing their limits.
In the meantime, research is continuing at full tilt in the Engert Lab.“The zebrafish are holding down the fort swimmingly,” the Engert Lab reports in a message to their PI. “We caught them discussing the finer points of optogenetics at the water cooler, and there’s a rumor they’re planning a synchronized swimming performance in your honor upon your return.”
Observers can track Team DC’s progress here.
“Fair Winds and Following Seas” to Professors Engert, Ölveczky and to the other race participants!
P.s.Bence and Florian provided a few pre-race images.