If you or someone in your household is a fashion fan, surely the name agnès b rings a bell. What you may not know is that the French fashion designer, born Agnès Troublé, is also a proud yacht owner. That yacht is the 118-foot sailing yacht Tara, which previously belonged to the late Sir Peter Blake, the renowned sailor who used the vessel to monitor global warming and pollution. (Blake was murdered aboard while in Brazil in 2001.) Troublé is maintaining that eco-minded spirit, having Tara play a key role in Tara Expeditions, an organization that provides samples and data to the global scientific community. For these reasons, the International SeaKeepers Society recently honored Troublé with its SeaKeepers Award, presented annually to someone dedicated to marine conservation.
The award was presented during the Monaco Yacht Show, by SeaKeepers’ outgoing chairman of the board, Michael Moore, during its annual Bal de la Mer. Troublé formed Tara Expeditions with a partner, Etienne Bourgois, who also co-owns Tara. Tara Expeditions is striving to increase the public’s awareness of the world’s ecosystems and is particularly focused on educating children.
Troublé was supported by a special guest and close friend, Lady Pippa Blake, widow of the late Sir Peter Blake. Also joining Troublé for the evening were her nephew, Romain Troublé, who further serves as executive director of Tara Expeditions, and her brother, Bruno Troublé, the noted French America’s Cup captain and head of the Louis Vuitton Cup.
What better way to celebrate the Bal de la Mer and marine conservation overall than by having the event in the great outdoors. While the Bal de la Mer is always held during the Monaco Yacht Show, the setting this year was the rooftop terrace of the Fairmont Hotel, which has the famed Monte Carlo casino as a backdrop and further overlooks the Mediterranean Sea. During the Bal de la Mer, the members of the Women in Yachting and Women in Ocean Advocacy host committee, more than a dozen strong, had a chance to speak with Troublé about the work she’s doing with Tara Expeditions. Among the committee members was Jessica Muffet, YachtWorld’s founder and publisher emeritus.
The International SeaKeepers Society has honored a number of high-profile ocean advocates besides Troublé, such as director James Cameron, oceanographer and researcher Sylvia Earle, and Sir Peter Blake (the latter posthumously). And Troublé and Tara Expeditions aren’t just providing lip service to ocean conservation. Thus far Tara has undertaken eight trips to allow scientists to gather data, in areas such as Patagonia, the Arctic, and the Antarctic. The yacht is returning to the Arctic Ocean next spring, too.
After that, Tara intends to traverse the Northwest and Northeast Passages, if the ice that’s everpresent there permits. Both routes, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans but on different continents, are known for being treacherous. Scientists intend to add to data collected in 2009 from each waterway.
If all goes according to plan, in 2014 Tara will head to the Pacific Ocean for coral reef research.
For more information on ocean advocacy, contact the International SeaKeepers Society.