The Swiss Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) is now flying above the Pacific Ocean, having left Hawaii at 06:16 local time on Thursday…
This time it’s project initiator and pilot Bertrand Piccard in the cockpit, after his colleague André Borschberg flew the Japan-to-Hawaii segment last July – a record-breaking solar-powered flight of nearly five days and nights.
This marks the ninth leg of Si2’s round-the-world flight, which will take the plane from Kalaeloa Airport in Kapolei, Hawaii, to Moffett Airfield in Mountain View, near San Francisco. It will be a return visit for the team, as Mountain View is where Solar Impulse kicked off its Across America tour in 2013.
Although the weather forecast was good, windy conditions in the wee hours of Thursday morning forced the crew to pull the plane back into the hangar. But the wind died down, much to the relief of the ground crew, mission control in Monaco, and the onlookers gathered at the airport.
Bertrand Piccard told Susan Misicka of swissinfo: It will be my longest flight with Solar Impulse. It will be around four days and I will be alone in the cockpit. The pressure is high for me since André is the professional pilot in our team and has made a perfect flight for the first part of the Pacific crossing. I have to be at the level of André, too. So there is pressure and a lot of unknowns and question marks, but that is adventure and that is why I am really looking forward to going.
[caption id="attachment_22787" align="alignnone" width="1896"] Caudwell Children Charity Gala. Photo: Louis Pisano[/caption]
If there's one thing Monaco does exceptionally well it's throwing parties for a great cause and getting its guests writing multiple zeros on checks. This particular evening, we were celebrating the end of the Tuscany to Monaco cycle challenge – a 200 mile cycle ride from Tuscany, Italy to Monaco to raise funds for Caudwell Children, a national charity founded by John Caudwell, that provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families.
Organized by John's partner – former Lithuanian Olympic cyclist Modesta Vzesniauskaite – a team of cyclists, including Formula One champion Mika Hakkinen, rode for three days through the rolling countryside of Tuscany, the undulating roads of Rapallo in Liguria, and against strong coastal winds towards Monaco.
On the evening of September 24, just hours after the completion of the cycle challenge, we gathered on the terraces of the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort to celebrate the achievements of the cyclists. Against the backdrop of a blazing pink sunset, guests sipped champagne, or one of the nights’ custom Johnny Walker cocktails by Bespoke Cocktails & Spirits. Over on the step and repeat Miss Universe Monaco 2017 Natalia Shapovalova posed for the cameras, her crown catching the last rays of the sun.
President of the Arctic Club, Sergey Egorov, made the rounds with his wife gladly translating from Russian to English when needed. However, I had my eye out especially for two faces, one of them being the night’s entertainment - the pop singer/socialite Tallia Storm. I’m not going to lie, I had her new song on repeat a good portion of the day. During our pre-dinner chat we bonded over a mutual love of Beyoncé and she shared her struggles and strategies when it comes to her social media presence and what it was like being discovered by Elton John at just age 13.
Just when I thought the other was going to be a no show, as we headed into dinner, Amanda Cronin glided in, in an incredible Alessandra Rich gown. Grabbing my arm to steady herself on her Aruna Seth heels, she gave me the rundown on her outfit. Btw her Stephen Webster jewels are stunning in real life. Instagram does not do them justice.
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As they often are, the dinner was a long and arduous affair of sea bass and champagne punctuated by a fashion show of Nordic Angels collection by Marketta Hakkinen a 11 year old child prodigy from Italy that belted out Celine Dion ballads and had me shook, Tallia Storm who did her best to get guests on their feet but alas the majority seemed content to quietly observe, probably because they had their mind on other things like bidding on Damien Hirst artworks, 70 piece orchestras and John Caudwell’s property in Whistler for a ski vacation.
Sensing a dip in the energy, Modesta, in an ensemble channeling black swan got on the dance floor with her friends, which in turn encouraged others thus kickstarting the party. Amanda Cronin snapped selfie videos for Instagram with her gal pals as we danced the night away to Donna Summer tunes. Meanwhile, John Caudwell continued to hold court at his table as well wishers and friends came over to chat. He divulged to me the secret of his red carpet style. He designs all his suits himself. This particular one featuring diamond buttons and blood red brocade. As the last bids were placed and the music died down we moved into the Blue Gin Bar for the after party. Perhaps in anticipation of a busy week ahead with the yacht show, or just the fact that it was a Sunday night, or maybe because spending money is exhausting, most guests headed home, leaving only about 20 revelers to indulge in Johnny Walker Black label and drunken dance offs.
Turning down a third AFTER after party offer we called it a night, but not before inquiring about how much they think they raised. The next day reps for Caudwell Children confirmed they had raised nearly €160,000, and all in a weekend's work.
Instagram sensation and style blogger Louis Pisano writes SuperficialLivingDiary.com. Article first published October 2, 2017.