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Grandes Espaces opens La Belle Classe Academy season

Grandes Espaces opens La Belle Classe Academy season / Photo via Yacht Club de Monaco

The season kicked off with a focus on safety at the Yacht Club de Monaco’s La Belle Classe Academy, a training centre aimed at owners, yachting executives and other professionals who need to update their skills in navigation, protocol, etiquette, service quality and safety.

The first session was a five-day STCW “Safety and Survival” course run from 6th to 10th March attended by ten Grandes Espaces guides, specialists in the world’s remotest regions including the Arctic and Antarctic.

A Monegasque tradition

The participants’ profile reflected a long line of famous explorers from Monaco. They include Prince Albert 1st who at the end of the 19th and early 20th century went “four times to Spitzbergen, halfway between the Norwegian North Cape and the North Pole,” noted Christian Kempf, founder of Grands Espaces, the Geneva-based organisation which organises a new genre of expeditions.

“The explorer Prince was a visionary and had no limits. He was assisted by a multi-disciplinary team to carry out his missions. It is exactly the case today.”

It is a tradition perpetuated by HSH Prince Albert II, committed to environmental protection through his Foundation and who in 2006 went to the North Pole to measure the effects of climate change on the pack ice.‎

Grandes Espaces opens La Belle Classe Academy season / Photo via Yacht Club de Monaco

One step from polar ice to Monaco

At a press conference attended by YCM General Secretary, Bernard d’Alessandri, and instructors from the training centre, the professionals spoke of how these destinations they roam unite the group, and the need to validate their training with this type of course. “We have seen a big increase in visitors to these destinations, with 45,000 people a year in the Antarctic. We pay a lot of attention to the safety of our passengers,” explained Christophe Kempf.

According to La Belle Classe instructor, Cindy Veillon, the course has become compulsory, “Not only do they learn all the first aid techniques but also what to do in the event of a fire on board (…). It’s essential when you’re in charge of a group of people.”

Grandes Espaces opens La Belle Classe Academy season / Photo via Yacht Club de Monaco

Obtaining recognised certification was the goal for all the participants, such as Christophe Bassous, a specialist in polar marine bacteria and micro-organisms: “The International Maritime Organisation recently made this type of course essential and stresses the importance of taking it. We always strive for excellence and naturally chose La Belle Classe Academy.”

The course reflects Monaco and the YCM’s expertise in yachting, a skill-set the YCM exports internationally.

Originally published at Yacht Club de Monaco

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