The heroine of Tara

1989, Antarctica

It sprang from the imagination of the French doctor and explorer Jean-Louis Étienne and the revolutionary vision of Luc Bouvet and Olivier Petit. The schooner took up the challenge of the ice to study the polar regions in Antarctica.

1999, Seamaster

New Zealander Sir Peter Blake, the famous seafarer and ardent militant ecologist, bought the schooner.He was murdered aboard the Seamaster by pirates in the seas of Brazilian Amazonia.

2003, Tara

It was under the colours of French fashion designer agnès b. and Étienne Bourgois that the extraordinary schooner was able to continue its journey.

When Étienne Bourgois decided to take it over, his intention was to continue the work of his two predecessors to the benefit of the protection of the ocean. Armed with a collective experience made up of enriching encounters and unfailing friendships, in 2004, the schooner Tara set off to drift in the Arctic.

The adventure of Fondation Tara Océan then began, supported by a passionate and committed team both on land and sea, mobilised by an incredible desire to serve ocean science and share the results with as many people as possible

  • 2 Masts on the schooner Tara
  • 500,000 km already covered and it’s not finished yet!
  • 36 metres long
  • – 41°C the lowest temperature to which
    the schooner was exposed
© Fondation Tara Océan


A floating laboratory

  • Lenght

    36 metres

  • Mast

    27 metres

  • Crew

    12 people

  • Width

    12 people

  • Draught

    3,50 metres

  • Deadweight tonnage

    130 tonnes

  • Sails

    400 square metres

  • Thickness of the hull

    4.5 centimetres

  • Desalinator

    300 litres/hour

  • Sleeping accommodation


  • Autonomy

    500 nautical milles

  • Flag


The expeditions of the schooner


Current expedition

Better understanding the invisible life of the ocean

Having identified, studied and decoded all the inner workings of the ocean, this new mission decided to take a global approach and treat the ocean ecosystem as a whole. To do that, we needed to get back to basics, to the most important actor present in every aspect of this ecosystem: the microbiome.

What else?


Tara Arctic

A high-risk 18-month expedition drifting with the sea ice on the edge of the North Pole to see the effects of climate change.

Tara Arctic

2006 – 2008


Tara Oceans

An expedition to the heart of the biodiversity of the planktonic world, with the Ocean under the microscope.

Tara Oceans

2009 – 2013

Expedition in progress

Mission Microbiomes

Unravel the mysteries of the first actor present in all facets of ocean biodiversity, its fundamental basis: the microbiome.

Mission Microbiomes

2020 – 2022

Fighting to protect marine biodiversity from pollution

How can we reduce pollution in the ocean?


Discover our history and our commitments

Our partners

Major partner