News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery : Sailing for the planet - the adventures they seek

Sailing for the planet - the adventures they seek

'The Plastiki - named in homage to the Kon-Tiki'    Plastiki Expedition
David de Rothschild, a sometime polar explorer and all-round adventurer, and one of the Rothschild banking family, is in good company as an environmentalist who makes his point dramatically with his latest sailing project.

With the help of a group of like-minded young men and women, he is constructing one of the most unusual sailing craft ever seen - a 60 ft catamaran called Plastiki made entirely of used plastic bottles. When it is finished, next month sometime, he plans to sail it across the Pacific.

Across the Pacific? Why? To draw attention to the necessity to green our planet. His plan is to turn the symbol of waste into an adventure, by building an all-plastic boat (only the masts are metal) and sailing it across the ocean to show what recycled material can do.

This unique and very green catamaran will be leaving San Francisco in April of 2009 and sailing to Australia, with stop overs in Hawaii, Tuvalu and Fiji on its way to Sydney. A trip estimated to take more than 100 days and 11,000 miles.

De Rothschild hopes his catamaran, now being built on a San Francisco pier, will boost recycling of plastic bottles, which he says are a symbol of global waste. Except for the masts, which are metal, everything on the 60-foot catamaran is made from recycled plastic.

“It’s all sail power,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle. “The idea is to put no kind of pollution back into the atmosphere, or into our oceans for that matter, so everything on the boat will be composted. Everything will be recycled. Even the vessel is going to end up being recycled when we finish.”

Others who have crossed oceans hoping to draw attention to the world's environmental crisis are as interesting as they are diverse. Here are just a few samples:

Ice-cream stick boat -  .. .  

First there was the Viking ship made from ice-cream sticks which sailed for England from the Netherlands

The 15-metre (50-foot) long ship, named after the Norse god Thor, was made from 15 million recycled ice-cream sticks glued together by U.S.-born Robert McDonald, his son and more than 5,000 children. Apart from the recycling message, he had a message particularly for children.

'If you can dream it you can do it ... I want to teach children that anything is possible,' McDonald said.

Badly injured as a child in a gas explosion that killed the rest of his family, he loaded his ship with cuddly toys destined for children in hospitals.


Kenichi Horie on his waveboat -  .. .  
Then there was Japanese master sailor and environmentalist Kenichi Horie set off on March 16 last year, on a first-of-a-kind trans-Pacific voyage powered only by waves.

The 69-year-old solo yachtsman and his boat made from recycled materials embarked on the 3800nm trip from Honolulu bound for Japan, expecting to arrive 'sometime in May'. Well it took longer than he thought, but on July 04, he did it, arriving at the port of Wakayama in the channel between Honshu and Shikoku Islands, just before midnight, thus becoming the first person in history to cross and ocean powered by wave power.

His 9.5m double-hull boat, made partly of recycled aluminium, named Suntory Mermaid II, was equipped with two special fins at the front that move like a dolphin's tail each time the boat rises or falls with the rhythm of the waves.

The theory said that that a vertical motion could drive the boat forward at a speed of three knots. In the event, he averaged 1.5 knots, not the fastest way to travel, but it could spell the dawning of yet another innovative green way of transiting oceans.

'Throughout history, mankind has used wind for power, but no one has appeared to be serious about wave power,' Mr Horie said late last year.

'I think I'm a lucky boy as this wave power system has remained virtually untouched.'


Track of the Pangaea -  .. .  
Then there is Mike Horn, whose goal to raise awareness on climate change and encourage 'a new generation to take an active role in the preservation of their planet' is taking him to both the Arctic and the Antarctic on a specially designed sailing ship, the Pangaea.

The expedition commenced on October 9 last year, with the ship sailing from Punta Arenas in Chile to Antarctica. The route then moves through Australasia, China, Russia, the North Pole, Greenland, and North America, before finally arriving back in Punta Arenas.

Over 22,000 hours of design were pumped into making a ship that can navigate through tropics and rivers as easily as it can through polar regions, without resorting to solutions that were harmful to the environment. The resulting ship, christened Pangaea, is an amazingly versatile piece of work. The 35-meter two master vessel has 600 square meters of sailcloth and 35 meters of mast. It can hold 30 people, and has a 16-seat conference room.

While the sails will provide the impetus for most of the journey, they are inadequate for carving through sea ice. In order to navigate through polar terrain, the Pangaea is equipped with BlueTec engines, which provide comparatively low emissions.

Mike Horn -  .. .  

The batteries of the boat are charged by a combination of solar and hydrogen fuelGM-Coskata-Alternative-Fuels cell power. Solar panels cover the surface of the cockpit, and provide the energy required for electrolysis, which separates water into its hydrogen and oxygen components. When the hydrogen is used as fuel, the only emission is water.

The lighting system on the boat uses LED bulbs to reduce voltage requirements. A secondary, dimmed light system is also in place, to further reduce power consumption.

The Pangaea has placed a large emphasis on recycling. The kitchen has separate compartments for different types of waste to make recycling simple and efficient, and the boat is equipped with large nets to collect bottles and bags from the water. Even the ship itself, which is made out of aluminium, will eventually be recycled – as recycling aluminium uses just 5% of the energy required to produce it.

Mike describes his goals with passion: “It is a treasure hunt to uncover the solutions I know are there. By working together with, ingenuity, drive and resourcefulness, the energies of our individual efforts can complement each other and create a collective momentum to inspire change. Together we can tap the world’s most powerful energy source – the younger generation.”

Will these adventurers make the difference that they are hoping for? That may be something to argue about, but there is one aspect that all would probably agree - they're having a great time in the process!

by Nancy Knudsen


Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

9:02 PM Mon 9 Mar 2009 GMT

Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
Environment and the ocean

Related News Stories:

27 Nov 2013  World Oceans Day appeals for funds
16 Nov 2013  Gigantic iceberg sails north from the Antarctic
09 Nov 2013  Sailing and swimming with manatees - Oceans Watch Essay
01 Nov 2013  OceansWatch: cruising sailors give something back in the South Pacific
23 Oct 2013  'The Ocean is Broken' - without fish, there can be no birds
13 Oct 2013  PlanetSolar reaches Paris after successful ocean study
02 Oct 2013  Monaco Yacht Show goes Green
07 Sep 2013  Great Pacific Garbage Patch - the real story
03 Sep 2013  World's largest solar yacht drops anchor after marine science quest
25 Aug 2013  Boat owners: cover vessels to deter seagulls

News - USA and the World

Starboard Hatteras Wave Jam day 5 by American Windsurfing Tour,

470 Men and Women Worlds - Champions decided in Santander by International 470 Class Association,

Royal Cup Marina Ibiza - No racing on penultimate day
Belcher takes record fifth 470 World Championship
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Santander - Day 8 video highlights
2014 Great Lakes Team Racing Championship about to set off
2014 Etchells North American Championship - Day 1
2014 U.S. Multihull Championship - Day 1
2014 Chicago Match Cup - Repechage top four determined in final flight
J/24 World Championship - 35th anniversary preview
470 Men and Women Worlds - Santander medal race line-up confirmed
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Day 8 images by
Royal Cup Marina Ibiza - Quantum Racing stumbles in coastal race
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Americans ready for 470 medal races
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander: Action ramps up with end zone in sight
Big Boat Series - It's not the size, it's the length
ISAF Sailing World Championships Santander - Double French RS:X gold
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Day 8 images by Sailing Energy
ISAF Sailing Worlds - Finn leaders emerge from shifty Santander breeze
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - RS:X winner images by Barbara Sanchez
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Rio 2016 470 spots awarded
52 Super Series 2015 - Outlook looks hot for the 52 Super Series
Starboard Hatteras Wave Jam - Another early start on day 4   
ISAF Sailing World - First entry leaves sailor's reputation in tatters   
2014 Chicago Match Cup - Four go through to quarter finals   
470 Men and Women Worlds - Champs take over leaderboard   
ISAF Sailing World Champ - Buckingham finishes with career-best result   
America's Cup: Oracle's Larry Ellison to step down as CEO   
Classic Yacht Regatta - Sonny takes top classic prize   
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Buckingham finishes with career best   
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Rio 2016 RS:X spots claimed   
ISAF Sailing Worlds - Leaderboards shaping up in Santander + Video   
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Giles Scott continues to extend lead   
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Day 7 images by Sailing Energy   
ISAF Sailing Worlds - Laser and Radial winner images by Jesus Renedo   
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Medal Race images by   
ISAF Sailing Worlds - Dutch dominate Laser and Radial in Santander   
Royal Cup Marina Ibiza - Quantum Racing more than doubles overall lead   
J/24 World Championship - Excitement builds for Newport racing   
Volvo Ocean Race - Seb Marsset joins Team Alvimedica   
Fall Seamanship training opportunities at New York Yacht Club   
Rolex Big Boat Series: More images from San Francisco - Final Day   

For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News  

Switch Default Region to:

Social Media





New Zealand

United Kingdom

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World






Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text


Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery


Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery





Privacy Policy



Cookie Policy



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT