Green world-challenge sailors reach South Africa
by Nancy Knudsen on 14 Nov 2011
Pachamama, 15 metre expedition yacht being sailed by Swiss Family Schwörer and a changing crew of volunteers since the beginning of their ambitious 'TOPtoTOP Global Climate Expedition', arrived last week in Richards Bay in South Africa. Since the couple began their mammoth endeavour in 2002, to sail the seven oceans of the world and scale the seven top peaks, four children have been born on the boat as they travelled.
Family Schwörer and their four children, all born on the way on the Top to Top Expedition .. .
The expedition is being carried out under the patronage of United Nations Environment Program, and, as a stop along the way, the couple hopes to attend the World Climate Conference about to be held in Durban.
- The expedition aims to demonstrate that great goals and progress can be achieved in balance with nature.
- The mission is to inspire young people for a better future. Along the expedition we show examples of nature’s beauty and promote innovations for a green planet and specially to protect our climate, in class rooms all over the world.
- The key messages are 'climate protection' and 'enjoy nature through sport but also give something back to nature'.
- The vision is that TOPtoTOP becomes a lasting platform which brings active people closer to nature and sports.
The yacht is equipped with 11 Solar Panels and 2 Wind turbines, making it THE example for the cruising world, demonstrating what is possible in extreme conditions with smart renewable technologies. After more than 10 years on their mission, the team arrived Richards Bay hand steering from their last destination Mauritius after the autopilot broke down. There have been the usual run of problems that all cruising sailors experience from time to time but none insurmountable. The biggest disaster sofar was hitting a floating container in the Southern Ocean in 2004.
Pachamama is an Inca word that means much more than 'Mother Earth'. It suggests a lifestyle in harmony with nature.
Bernard Nivelt designed this 50 feet aluminium sloop especially for this extraordinary expedition. The design objective and concept of Pachamama was to develop a vessel that can operate sustainably and fully autonomously (renewable energies) with maximum safety in the toughest marine environments.
With Pachamama, we set new limits and give another example that great goals can be achieved in harmony with nature. Several world-leading companies around the globe are participating to outfit Pachamama with state of the art technologies and products. (See end of article for full data.)
Environmental Eductation as they travel:
This unique initiative is based on environmental sustainability and to prove that great things can be achieved in balance with nature. The goal of the expedition is to bring awareness of environmental issues, to promote the search for environmentally compatible solutions and to encourage the start of projects beneficial to our climate.
A major part of their mission is to inspire children to achieve a better future. They share examples of nature’s beauty and innovations for a green planet in class rooms all over the world and also give presentations to universities, service clubs and other organisations throughout the world.
Already, they have taught over 50,000 children across the globe! They teach students about the importance of nature and give them various fun projects to learn all about sustainability. The students are then encouraged to express their own ideas about how we can care more for our environment and climate in the TOPtoTOP International Climate Solution Contest.
TOPtoTOP has chosen this expedition as an adventurous means to create awareness of global climate change and inspire the world to research and support lasting, environmentally friendly solutions. To expand the reach of this expedition and its aim, TOPtoTOP is working closely with the media, scientists and business worldwide.
Another aspect of the initiative is the clean ups. They have done clean ups at each of their destinations. The last TOPs they cleaned from trash was the top of EVEREST and Kilimanjaro. On the current voyage have cleaned beaches in Malaysia, Cocos Keeling (Australia), Mauritius and La Reunion. It is estimated that the TOPtoTOP expedition has
collected 25 tonnes of waste so far!
After departure from South Africa, next January - February they plan to cross the Atlantic to Brazil, for another climbing expedition, then on to Surinam and French Guinea during July 2012, followed by Venezuela, Tobago and Trinidad. The expedition will not be complete, however, until 2015.
In South Africa they are being afforded support and hospitality through the 'Peri Peri' weather service and the Zululand Yacht Club. For further information and live updates on the expedition’s progress, please visit the
TOPtoTOP website: www.toptotop.org ...and their blog: www.expedition.toptotop.org
Radio call sign: HBY3769
Model: Saranaia 50 from CN Locmeral in France, build in 2000
Length of hull: 15.15 m
Breadth: 4.57 m
Draught: 2.37 m
Displacement: 13'000 kg
Sails: main (68.5 m2), genoa (85 m2), gib (39.5 m2)
Mast: 19.65 m
Good accommodation for 8 people in 4 double cabins
Three toilets and showers
Maximum speed: 12 knots
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