Résumé : Abstract The western Antarctic Peninsula is facing rapid environmental changes and many recent publications stress the need to gain new knowledge regarding ecosystems responses to these changes. In the framework of the Belgica 121 expedition, we tested the use of a nimble vessel with a moderate environmental footprint as an approach to tackle the urgent needs of the Southern Ocean research community in terms of knowledge regarding the levels of marine biodiversity in shallow areas and the potential impacts of retreating glaciers on this biodiversity in combination with increasing tourism pressure. We discuss the strengths and drawbacks of using a 75’ (23 m) sailboat in this research framework, as well as its sampling and environmental efficiency. We propose that the scientific community considers this approach to 1) fill specific knowledge gaps and 2) improve the general coherence of the research objectives of the Antarctic scientific community in terms of biodiversity conservation and the image that such conservation conveys to the general public.