Page 1

Blue Planet

Issue 1 • April 2013

Tokelau And Tuvalu Two of the most endangered island groups

Northwest Passage A challenge to overcome Navigating the once impenetrable waterway to highlight the effects of climate change

Cornell Sailing A rich history of international sailing events

The Oceans – Our Heritage for the Future

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Watch the next issue for more news !


2 • Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013


Logbook 04 Message from OceansWatch

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the first edition of the Blue Planet

Log, the official publication of the Blue Planet Odyssey. Our magazine

06 Message from Tokelau

will feature news about the event, articles on the countries to be

visited, reports from participants, information about our educational and scientific programs and much more. In this first issue we are featuring two of the most endangered island groups, Tokelau and Tuvalu. Sailors are closer to nature than most people and probably there is no other section of the population who is more aware of, and concerned about, the effects of climate change than the sailing community. This explains the enthusiasm with which our event has been greeted by sailors from all over the world.

Inspiring sailors to make a difference One small nation leads the way

08 Tuvalu and Tokelau

Endangered Pacific nations

10 Tuvalu – Mo Te Atua

A personal view of apocalypse

12 The Blue Planet Odyssey

An overview

14 Educational Program

The younger generation have their say

15 The Green Machine It is now 15 years since a fleet of 36 yachts carried around the globe the

message of the Expo 98 world exhibition “The oceans – a heritage for

16 Scientific Program

the future”. In the intervening years the state of the oceans, and of the

An environmental club in school

planet generally, has continued to deteriorate and that message is now

more relevant than ever. As this idea reflects our concern for the future

18 Blue Planet Odyssey

of the oceans we have decided to adopt it as our own. By carrying this message, the Blue Planet Odyssey will endeavour to transmit its urgency to children throughout the world by a wide-ranging educational program. This idea has attracted an enthusiastic response both from countries on our route and some of our participants. It promises to be the best way to achieve our aims and this is where we shall focus our efforts.

Contributing to the knowledge of our oceans Route map

20 The North West Passage

A challenge to overcome

26 The Odyssey

A true family affair

28 Blue Planet Odyssey

Confirmed participants

31 Cornell Sailing I have been inspired and encouraged by the interest shown in the Blue

A brief history of events

Planet Odyssey by my grandchildren and, from the other side of the globe, Foua Toloa expresses his own concerns for his grandchildren. It is indeed this new generation who shall inherit the earth. This resonates

Next issue: July 2013

with the Tokelauan ancestral lament he quotes:

Endangered islands: San Blas, Kiribati and Andaman

Tui e!

Tui wake up!

Te ata kua kakau

Wake up as dawn has broken

Lanzarote: UNESCO biosphere reserve

E laga kita ko te fanau

We must wake up because of our children

Aue te alofa e faigata

Oh, our endless love for them causes

London and Kristiansand logistics

so much pain

Associated schools

Offshore communications

Lessons from previous round the world events

Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013 • 3

The Blue Planet Odyssey and OceansWatch have many similar goals

Chris Bone

Message from

OceansWatch OceansWatch is here to facilitate; to help the world’s cruisers to make a positive difference on their journey

Hello to all participants in the Blue Planet Odyssey. I am privileged to be asked to contribute to the first edition of your magazine and thought I would do so by writing an introduction about the organisation I helped form. The Blue Planet Odyssey and OceansWatch (www.oceanswatch.org) have many similar goals so it’s fitting that we get to know each other. The Blue Planet Odyssey team and I are exploring ways we can work together to make a positive difference in the world, whilst we all enjoy our mutual passion, sailing. I have been sailing all my life, arriving in the Pacific 25 years ago on a delivery to New Zealand. I skippered for Greenpeace for a few years then ran a yacht delivery company, which took me to many beautiful Pacific islands. Like many cruisers I had a vision of unspoilt islands and happy local folk living an ideal lifestyle. This image gradually faded as I saw the reality. I first noticed all the pollution, then the lack of food and drinking water in some islands, I saw how cultures were being undermined by western influence and how our “Aid” was undermining self-reliance and disempowering people.

4 • Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013

I had a vision of unspoilt islands and happy local folk” I remember the day I decided to start

company to sell fish food. I also realised,

with. We are not an Aid organisation, we

OceansWatch, sitting around a cooking

after hearing how people walked uphill

help empower and build the capacity

fire with new friends in Papua New

for an hour every day to fetch water, that

of communities to help themselves. We

Guinea. In a few days I had seen three

a simple gravity feed system would free

blend our scientific knowledge with

examples of wasted Aid money, an AIDS

the village women from 2 hours daily

traditional ecosystem knowledge to

clinic that no one would visit because


develop fisheries management plans for

it had been built by the main road

I chatted to a few friends about my

a sustainable future. We honour local

and people were too ashamed to be

ideas, we soon found that we had similar

culture and work in the communities,

seen going in; a diesel generator for

concerns and realised that the world’s

helping them realise their dreams, not

the hospital that had rusted beyond

10,000 cruisers were a huge resource

what outsiders think they need!

repair because the Aid agency had not

that could be harnessed to help, and

We hope that we can help you realise

shown anyone how to maintain it; and

at the same time give purpose and

your dreams for a better world too.

an abandoned fish farm that no one was

direction for people who care. We formed

taught how to manage.

OceansWatch and within a few months

Chris Bone is a professional yacht skipper

I thought to myself “I know how to

were donated a yacht by someone who

and runs a yacht delivery company -

maintain that generator, I understand

shared our vision.

Pacific Yacht Deliveries. He has been an

why no one visits that AIDS clinic and I

OceansWatch is here to facilitate; to

environmental activist for many years,

can see that a fisheries management plan

help the world’s cruisers to make a

including two years as a skipper for

would serve the needs of this community

positive difference on their journey. We

Greenpeace on the yacht Vega.

far better than a fish farm” which it turns

will share our knowledge with you and

out was just a scam for an overseas

develop programs that you can help

Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013 • 5

Despite the impacts that climate change has had on Tokelau, our nation has not sat back and accepted its plight without action” Aliki Faipule Foua Toloa

Message from

Tokelau In the middle of the Pacific Ocean lies a cluster of some tiny atolls named Tokelau


ts total land mass is about 12 km2 with the highest point

As a consequence of the elevated sea temperature, our reefs are

only 3 metres above sea level. It is home to about 1500

stressed, causing coral bleaching within our lagoons. The corals

inhabitants. Its nearest neighbour is Samoa, which lies

are noticeably in poor health, which has affected the quantity

about 300 miles south of the most southern of the atolls,

and quality of food supply for our inshore fish population. The

Fakaofo, the island I call home.

life cycles of our inshore fish are also affected by the extreme

Tokelau like other small low lying atolls is very susceptible to

weather conditions, which have seen a decrease in the number

any changes in sea level and to the effects on sea temperature

and gradual disappearance of some species of fish from

as a consequence of climate change from increasing emissions

the lagoon. Our food supply, with fish as our main source of

of greenhouse gases. Surrounded by sea, Tokelau relies heavily

sustenance, is threatened.

on the provisions from this resource for food. Its Exclusive

The changes to Tokelau and her surrounding environs, as a

Economic Zone is its only source of revenue.

consequence of global warming, make it more and more difficult

For tiny atoll nations such as Tokelau, the impacts of climate

for her inhabitants to live sustainably. And though we do not

change are a way of life. Tokelau contends with more cyclones

want to consider it, our small island homes may no longer exist

and storm surges than ever before. The cyclones and storm

in the near future. With the loss of our lands, we will lose our

surges are more intense and occur more often. The impact

culture, our traditions and our language.

of this is evident as our beaches and shores erode and some

Despite the impacts that climate change has had on Tokelau,

species of plants no longer flourish due to the high saline levels

our nation has not sat back and accepted its plight without

of our soil. The storm surges leave salt on the land; without rain,

action. In October 2012, the Tokelau Renewable Energy Project

this crystallises, hardening the soil. A large quantity of rainwater

(TREP) Stage One was completed, whereby electricity needs for

is necessary to flush it out. This threatens the production of

the three atolls are met with an off-grid solar energy system.

crops that we can grow such as coconuts and pandanus. The

Stage One of this project allows for 93% of total electricity

extreme weather conditions we are experiencing, with an

production through solar energy, making Tokelau number one in

increasing number of hot days during the year and unusually

per-person reduction in greenhouse gas emission in the world

high temperatures during times of the year when we normally

and fulfilling its global obligation. Stage Two will involve the

expect cooler temperatures, have caused droughts and affected

production and use of renewable fuel to provide the other 7%

the health of the more vulnerable groups of our population.

of electricity needs.

6 • Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013

Stage One has cost Tokelau NZ$ 8.4m.

if they are not willing to turn off their

The urgency necessary to reverse the

New Zealand has advanced $7m of

carbon dioxide taps, at least they should

damage being caused by climate change

this cost to Tokelau which is to be

keep the ocean healthy in every other

on the high seas, which seems out of

repaid over four years. In the meantime,

way – robust fish stocks, clean water and

sight and is therefore out of mind, is the

Tokelau is looking for donors to assist

protections for marine life. These are all

challenge being taken on by the Global

with Stage Two. This involves replacing

things that science tells us can soften the

Ocean Commission.

electrical appliances with more energy-

impacts of climate change.

Congratulations to the Blue Planet

efficient products, and also establishing

Oceans make up 71% of the Earth’s

Odyssey for having that vision for the

the infrastructure necessary to produce

surface, and the high seas provide

future of the planet and of our children.






resources such as food and minerals.

“May the four winds fill our sails with

complement the solar energy system.

They are key to global trade, and

peace, safety and comfort in preparing

This project, while costly, has put Tokelau

maintain essential ecosystem services

for this event!”

on the map. TREP is Tokelau’s way of

including the production of oxygen. It is

telling the world that while it may be one

scientifically estimated that up to 50%

Aliki Faipule Foua Toloa is a political

of the smallest nations, it can still make

of the earth’s oxygen is produced by the

leader of the Tokelau Fakaofo (Council).

its contribution towards decreasing the

oceans. The ocean also acts to absorb

He was Ulu o Tokelau (Titular Head) in

global emissions of greenhouse gases. It

carbon dioxide; but that is making the

2009 and 2011 and served as Minister

is the principle of the matter. If a nation

water more acidic.

of Finance, Transport and Energy from

with an annual GDP equivalent to a

These facts, while mind boggling, still

2008 – 2012. He is a member of the

fraction of the fees earned by directors of

do not stir up enough concern for world

Global Ocean Commission, an international

small businesses in developed countries

leaders to act in ways necessary to

independent task force working to address

can do this, shame on those nations

address the underlying issues. I want my

threats to the oceans. The GOC will publish

and their leaders for not doing what

grandchildren and future generations

its final recommendations in 2014, shortly

needs to be done so that our future

of my family to enjoy the same benefits

before the UN General Assembly begins

generations have the benefits of our

that my generation has enjoyed from the

discussions on protecting the high seas

environment that we currently enjoy. And



Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013 • 7

One of

Tokelau Pulled out of the sea while fishing


the least visited countries in the South Pacific

okelau lies just north of

each island having a separate local

southeast trade winds. Tokelau is at the

Samoa and consists of three

government. External affairs are run

northern edge of the main hurricane belt,

small low coral atolls: Atafu,

by the Tokelau Liaison office in Apia,

but tropical storms sometimes sweep

Nukunonu, and Fakaofo. One

Western Samoa. There are no harbour

through between November and April.

of the least visited countries in the South

facilities and you can only anchor in

In recent years Tokelau has experienced

Pacific, only a few yachts make their way

the lee of the reef. The anchorage due

three cyclones and this increase in

to this isolated group of atolls, which lack

west of Fakaofo Islet is exposed to the

cyclone activity seems to be related to

natural harbours and for most of the year

southeast trade winds, and fairly often

climate change.

are completely cut off from the outside

conditions are not suitable for anchoring.


An alternative anchorage, recommended

Polynesian legend says that the Maui

by islanders, is northwest of the island,

brothers pulled the three islands out

off Fenua Fala Islet. Channels have been

of the sea while fishing. The islands

blasted into each lagoon and they are

were populated by Polynesians about

accessible by dinghy. There is no airport.

1,000 years ago and were rarely visited

Every island has a radio station, clinic and

by the outside world until the 1840s.

a store selling some staple foodstuffs,

In 1889 Britain claimed jurisdiction

mostly imported.

over them, but in 1925 administration

The climate is tropical, with little variation

was transferred to New Zealand, an

from the 28°C/82°F annual average

arrangement that continues to this day.

temperature. From May to September the

There is no administrative centre, with

islands are under the influence of the

8 • Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013

Tuvalu nine low-lying coral atolls These islands are now facing the tragic prospect of being one of the first victims of the current climate change


ormerly the Ellice Islands, the name ‘Tuvalu’ means

have been plans to open passes into some of the other lagoons,

‘cluster of eight’ although the group in fact consists

this is unlikely to happen.

of nine low-lying coral atolls. Only eight of them

The population is 10,000. Tuvaluans are Polynesians, and both

were inhabited when the name was chosen, but a

Tuvaluan and English are spoken. Funafuti is the capital. There

small community now lives on previously uninhabited Niulakita,

is an airport and flights three times a week from Fiji, but these

the southernmost island of the archipelago. The islands lie just

are often unreliable. Income comes from fishing rights, sale

below the equator and west of the International Dateline. With

of postage stamps and most lucratively, from leasing Tuvalu’s

a total land area of only 26 sq km (11 sq miles), Tuvalu is one of

internet domain suffix .tv

the smallest countries in the world, spread out in half a million

Tuvalu lies within the tradewind zone, but on the edge of the

square miles of ocean. These islands are now facing the tragic

South Pacific equatorial doldrum zone. Prevailing winds are from

prospect of being one of the first victims of the current climate

the easterly quarter but in most years, from December to March,

change. The rising ocean level is already affecting the main

winds between the west and north usually exceed the easterlies

island of Funafuti, which has been flooded on several recent

in frequency. Tuvalu lies on the northern edge of the tropical

occasions, and it is now predicted that all the islands will be

storm belt and occasionally severe cyclones strike the islands,

submerged before the end of this century.

as did cyclone Ofa in February 1990. Temperatures are uniformly

The first inhabitants arrived about two thousand years ago,

high all year round, with the mean annual temperature of

mostly from Samoa, but also from Tonga and Uvea (Wallis).


The northern islands, especially Nui, were populated from Micronesia. A society under the leadership of chiefs developed, and customs and traditions akin to Samoa remain today. The first European sighting of the islands was in 1765. There was little other contact until the nineteenth century when slave traders, known as blackbirders, took hundreds of islanders to work in Peru, Fiji, Tahiti, Hawaii and Australia. The islands became a British Protectorate and then part of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony. After a referendum in 1975, the Ellice Islands separated from the Gilberts and became Tuvalu, achieving full independence in 1978. With the exception of the island of Funafuti, yachts rarely visit the other islands. Although some only have precarious anchorages in the lee of a fringing reef, the lagoon is accessible in at least two islands, at Nukufetau and Nanumea, where visiting yachts are always warmly greeted. A similar welcome awaits sailors at any of the other islands, and although there

Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013 • 9

do this on the occasion of the 25th

Marianne Aschenbrenner


anniversary of Tuvalu’s independence. We arrived in the capital Funafuti in the midst of preparations for a big Polynesian feast to celebrate the birth of their free nation on 1 October 1978. On that day,

mo te atua

Toalipi Lauti, the first prime minister

Tuvalu for the Lord

also a future free of concerns. But 25

of independent Tuvalu, had promised his people not only a return to their traditional self-sufficient way of life but years later, Tuvalu had changed beyond imagination.


Soon after we arrived, the planned uvalu mo te atua is the

of the Pacific stemmed from a previous

festivities had to be scaled down as a

motto of the world’s second

voyage when I had sailed with Jimmy and

high swell brought on by hurricane force

smallest nation, a group of

Ivan from Tahiti to Hawaii. On the way we

winds was pouring large amounts of

nine Pacific atolls spread out

called at the Line Islands, which are just

water onto the unprotected island. Even

like a string of pearls just south of the

as threatened as Tuvalu by the effects of

the plane bringing official guests from


climate change.

other Pacific nations could not land. To

It is now 12 years since Jimmy Cornell,

My subsequent visit to Tuvalu in 2002

make matters worse, the storm coincided

who had visited Tuvalu on three separate

convinced me that I had to do everything

with one of the highest recorded spring

occasions, drew my attention to a brief

in my power to support Tuvalu by drawing

tides, the wall of water crashing over

report, which warned of the imminent

the attention of the international media

the island covering it to a depth of half

disappearance of the islands. The news

to its plight. As an editor at Bavarian

a metre. The seawater seeped through

that this tiny nation might be the first

TV, I managed to secure the support of

the porous coral slabs and contaminated

victim of climate change made a deep

the ARTE channel as well as of my own

both the water table and the little soil

impression on me, and I decided to find

broadcaster to produce a documentary

that was used for farming, thus putting an

out if that statement was indeed true.

about the threatened island nation. We

end to any future crops. The apocalyptic

My deep affection for the gentle people

decided that it would be symbolic to

swell generated by the otherwise gentle

10 • Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013

when our cameraman first saw this tragic scene unfold before him, and had to stop filming as he burst out in tears. Many Tuvaluans have now emigrated, and others plan to follow their example. Threatened by the rising sea levels, they want to protect their community and children by trying to secure a piece of land in one of the neighbouring nations. Helpless before the effects of climate change, their only support is their strong belief in God, they do not expect help from elsewhere. But on their own they are doomed, as they dare not set off for new lands, as their ancestors did to settle Pacific filled the islanders with dread:

That landing strip still runs through

these islands originally.

their age-long trust in the ocean forever

the middle of the island, its widest part

And yet, now that the Blue Planet Odyssey


having been permanently concreted over.

may lead me once again to Tuvalu, as

No one in Tuvalu, neither its people nor

The inhabitants had no choice but to

well to some other Pacific island nations,

climatologists, have any doubt that the

resettle on the edges thus being fully

which should not be forgotten either, I

destruction of their islands is caused by

exposed to the sea. The problem of those

refuse to give up hope that some solution,

climate change. Nor does anyone in Tuvalu

Borrow pits is that they were meant

however small, can still be found to save

believe anymore in the scientists’ earlier

to drain excess water from the runway

those most wonderful people.

prediction that the archipelago still had a

but instead had washed away most of

century before disappearing beneath the

the topsoil, and with it the vegetation

Marianne Aschenbrenner is senior editor at

waves. Even more threatening than the

that helped stabilise the land. There is

Bavarian Television. She is planning to put

rising sea level are the so-called Borrow

now hardly any land left between the

together a film crew to record the progress

pits. These are deep shafts bored into the

ocean on one side and the lagoon on the

of the Blue Planet Odyssey. Marianne is

coral ground during the Second World

other, with nothing to check the crashing

Jimmy Cornell’s niece.

War by the US military to build a runway.

swell. I shall never forget the moment

Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013 • 11


Oceans Our heritage for the future

The Blue Planet Odyssey is a round the world sailing event aimed at raising awareness of the global effects of climate change by calling at some of the most endangered islands: San Blas Islands in the Atlantic Ocean; Tuvalu, Tokelau, Tuamotus, Micronesia, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean; the Maldive and Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean. This global sailing event will also endeavour to highlight the effects of climate change on the Arctic icecap, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Galapagos Islands, all of which lie on the Blue Planet Odyssey route. The route of the Blue Planet Odyssey has been chosen to take advantage of the most favourable weather conditions and to pass through some of the most attractive cruising areas in the world. The route also includes stops or detours to some of the areas where the effects of climate change are already affecting the lives of their populations.

12 • Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013


Entries The Blue Planet Odyssey is open to sailing monohulled and multihulled yachts with a minimum LOA of 40 ft (12.19 m). The maximum


Educational programs The Blue Planet Odyssey will reach out to children in the countries of the participants and those in the places to be visited by inviting

LOA of multihulls is 60 ft (18.29 m). At the discretion of the

their schools to be associated with this global event and follow

organisers, yachts which do not fit into the above description

its progress around the world. Virtual classes will be held in

may join the Blue Planet Odyssey if it is considered that their

places along its route and will be beamed by satellite to schools

participation would contribute to the objectives of the event or

associated with the Blue Planet Odyssey.

may be beneficial for practical considerations.


Route The Blue Planet Odyssey will sail westabout around the world along the classic trade wind route via the Panama Canal and Torres Strait.

This southern route is the main route and is expected to attract


Scientific programs As the route will pass through some of the least travelled parts of the oceans, arrangements are being made with oceanographic institutes

and research centres to use this unique opportunity to receive environmental data gathered by participants.

the majority of participants. Whether starting from Europe, North America, South America or South Africa, the section from the Caribbean to Gibraltar, will be common to all boats sailing the southern route. For those who prefer to sail a more challenging route, there will be the option of a northern route. This route includes a transit of the Northwest Passage (for both


Community projects At every stop at those endangered places, the sailors will take part in community projects, while participants with specialist skills will

the 2014 and 2015 starts) and a winter crossing of the North

take part in local projects and carry out essential repair and

Pacific for the 2015 starts from both Europe and North America

maintenance work.

(east and west coast). There will be several alternative routes or detours along the main route of the Blue Planet Odyssey. Some will call at endangered islands that are off the main route and because of their location can only accommodate a small number of boats and visitors, while other detours will give participants the option of visiting more remote destinations, such as Easter Island.


Starts Participants will be able to start from a port on their own continent or join the event at the nearest point along its route. European

participants sailing the southern route will start from London in July 2014. On the way to the Canary Islands they will stop at several ports before crossing the Atlantic to the Caribbean before continuing to Panama and the Pacific Ocean. The main route will be joined at certain points by participants who have started from Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, New York, Miami, Vancouver, San Francisco, San Diego, Sydney or Shanghai.

Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013 • 13

Doina Cornell

Educational program

Each participating boat will adopt at least one school from their own country


ne of the key parts of

opportunity to discover what it is like

or endangered islands. Information on

the Blue Planet Odyssey

to sail around the world as a child

the scientific research projects being

will be its educational

and visit some of the most remote and

undertaken by the participating yachts,

program, linking schools

endangered parts of our planet.

as well as the community projects, will be

along the route and giving children and

Prior to the start of the event in 2014

regularly shared via the website, social

young people around the world a unique

links will be set up between schools,

media, and newsletters.

opportunity to learn about the current

and where possible members of the Blue

After the Blue Planet Odyssey finishes,

state of our oceans through the eyes of

Planet Odyssey team and/or participants

as each participating boat completes

the islanders and sailors who know the

will visit schools and give presentations.

its circumnavigation and returns to its

seas better than anyone.

During the event, from 2014 to 2017, up

home port, the sailors will return to their

Schools on the route will have the

to date information on the Blue Planet

adopted schools and give a presentation

opportunity to communicate with each

Odyssey’s progress around the world will

to the pupils who have followed the

other as well as with schools in the

be available in a number of forms: via

event around the world.

countries of origin of the participants.

our website and social media, from video

Each participating boat will adopt at

‘viewsletters’ uploaded to the internet, as

least one school from their own country.

well as electronic newsletters. Schools

The Blue Planet Odyssey website, social

will be able to follow the participating

media and other accessible technology

boats via the website as each boat will

such as Skype will be used to maximise

be fitted with a satellite tracker device

contacts between schools.

for automatic updates on their positions.

There will be several families with

Participants will visit schools en route and

school age children sailing in the

this will link into the community projects

Blue Planet Odyssey, which will give

that will be undertaken by participants

pupils in participating schools a unique

in many places, especially the remote

14 • Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013


Green Machine Nera Cornell

An environmental club in school


Current generation of adults should do something about climate change because it’s their descendants who will be affected by their actions

he Blue Planet Odyssey seems like a really good idea as it will bring everything and everyone together to help try and stop climate

change. I am hoping I can travel through the Northwest Passage with my grandfather Jimmy, which I am really looking forward to. I want to go through because firstly, it makes a point and shows exactly what climate change has already done to Earth as that passage has been iced over so long and now because of us it is melting for a few months every year. Secondly, I am really interested in the Arctic and all its wildlife and when I am older I want to become an Arctic conservationist. I think that the current generation of adults should do something about climate change because it’s their descendants who will be affected by their actions. I think that this isn’t

Members of the Green Machine with Nera on the right

fair so we should do something about it. My




an club

called Green Machine and we are hopefully going to twin up with another school around the world. Maybe you should schools




your be

interested to twin up as spreading the word to non-sailing families would be great for our cause.

Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013 • 15

Pablo Aguilera and Shaun Dolk with drifter buoy ready to be shipped Doina Cornell

Blue Planet Odyssey

Scientific Program


he oceans are the last wild frontiers of our planet,

Climate Information

and despite their health being vital to the planet’s wellbeing, scientists admit that there is still much they

NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration)

do not know about the state of the seas. Who better

is interested in involving vessels in deploying a number

then to help expand that knowledge than sailors, who voyage

of drifter buoys in some rarely frequented areas along the

across some of the most remote areas of the oceans? The idea

Blue Planet Odyssey route. In recent years, NOAA has been

of using sailors to help gather scientific data is an integral part

deploying an array of satellite-tracked surface drifter buoys to

of the Blue Planet Odyssey’s vision, and one that participants

gather information on ocean currents, sea surface temperature,

have responded to with great enthusiasm. Several research and

atmospheric pressure, winds and salinity. The data is needed for

scientific institutions around the world have already expressed

climate predictions as well as climate research and monitoring.

an interest in using the opportunity provided by the Blue Planet

Damage to some of these buoys when being launched from

Odyssey to develop or expand some of their research projects.

large ships has sparked NOAA’s interest in a more gentle

Participants will have a choice of projects they want to get

deployment from smaller sailing vessels. One area where they

involved with, depending on the particular route they are

want to deploy drifter buoys is in the Northwest Passage, which

taking and their own interests. Consideration is being paid to

has significant implications for global climate conditions.

ways in which sailors can be involved in such projects with as little impact as possible on normal navigation routines.


This can be achieved by installing special devices on the hull or in the seawater water intake that can be used to monitor

Plastic pollution is a real blight on the oceans and often a

temperature or levels of salinity. Another source of information

danger to marine life. NOAA also has a Marine Debris Program,

could be provided by collecting used filters from watermakers,

which monitors levels of pollution, by logging observations

with location and time details on where they had been used.

of plastic pollution onshore and at sea. Blue Planet Odyssey

This could be a source for researchers to assess the presence of

participants will also be able to cooperate with this program.

heavy metals, radioactivity and pollution levels.

16 • Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013

Whether sailing in the warm waters of the South Pacific or the icy waters of the Northwest Passage, there will be plenty of opportunities for sailors to make observations and take a close interest in their environment

Marine Wildlife


From tiny plankton to the great whales

There is a great concern that rising sea

of the oceans, marine wildlife is being

temperatures are causing a dramatic

affected by climate change, whether

decline in microscopic plankton, a key part

through increasing ocean acidification

of the marine food chain. Dr Richard Kirby

or the disruption of weather patterns.

from Plymouth University is interested

Blue Planet Odyssey sailors will be able

in monitoring levels of phytoplankton

to gather data on wildlife by noting their

throughout the areas covered by the

observations of marine wildlife spotted

routes of the Blue Planet Odyssey. The

at sea on special logging forms.

data available on phytoplankton is still

A similar project to increase the

very sparse and so the readings taken

knowledge about sea birds, is the

by sailors will enable researchers to find

‘SeaBC’ sea bird reporting project. Sailors

out what real impact climate change

will be asked to take photographs of

is having on plankton populations. The

any birds encountered at sea, logging

science is simple: when large numbers



of phytoplankton are present, they make

longitude, abundance, and interesting




seawater cloudy. Sailors will drop a

behaviour. This data will be sent to

Secchi disk (a simple white disk) over the

Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology

side of the boat, and record the depth at

eBird database, where it will become a

which it disappears from view. The data

permanent resource for scientists and

will be uploaded to an app developed by

conservation efforts worldwide. As Brian

the University. As Dr Kirby has pointed

Sullivan, one of eBird’s Project leaders,

out, there are too few scientists to survey

has said: ‘Any and all data from offshore

the oceans of the world, and in this way

waters are of high value!’

sailors can really help contribute to the ultimate aim of creating a database of plankton populations around the world. The Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Miami has several projects of interest, such as the collection of underwater ambient acoustic data. The installation of hydrophones on the hulls of some Blue Planet Odyssey vessels could make acoustic measurements to assess the effects of climate change on underwater sounds. Another project that is being discussed involves the monitoring of coral reefs, in order to assess the effects of temperature increases and acidification. Whether they are sailing in the warm waters of the South Pacific or the icy waters of the Northwest Passage, there will be plenty of opportunities for sailors to make observations and take a close

Dr Richard Kirby with Secchi dish

interest in their environment.

Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013 • 17

Resolute Barrow





Reykjavik Bergen

Dutch Harbor




San Francisco

St John's New York Norfolk

San Diego


Gibraltar Malta

Bermuda Miami Havana

Cabo Jamaica



Canary Islands

St Martin


Martinique Panama

San Blas Cayenne

Cape Verde






St Hele

Marquesas Tahiti Gambier Pitcairn SOUTH PACIFIC OCEAN

18 • Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013

Rio de Janeiro Easter Island

SOUTH ATLANTIC OCEAN Southern route Northern route North American Atlantic starts North American Pacific starts South American start


The route of the Blue Planet Odyssey has been chosen to take advantage of the most favourable weather conditions and to pass through some of the most attractive cruising areas in the world”







Port Said



Shanghai Dubai Salalah Djibouti

Hong Kong Phuket

Cochin Maldives



Andaman Galle Singapore

Ho Chi Minh


Micronesia Bali Darwin



Cape Town



Fiji Tonga Vanuatu Nouméa

Sydney Auckland NEW ZEALAND

African start Australian start North American Atlantic return routes North American Pacific return routes Easter Island Route



Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013 • 19

I believe that I now have a fairly good idea of what such a transit entails”

20 • Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013

Jimmy Cornell

Northwest Passage T he Northwest Passage is a

waterway highlights the effects of

sea route connecting the

climate change. Nowhere in the world is

Atlantic and Pacific Oceans

this phenomenon more obvious than in

that winds its way through

the Arctic regions where the arctic icecap

the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. After

has been retreating at an increasingly

the successful voyages of the Spanish

accelerating pace. According to NOAA

and Portuguese explorers in the late

(National Oceanic and Atmospheric

15th century, Pope Alexander VI split

Administration), in the summer of 2012

the discovered world in two between

the Arctic sea ice dipped to its smallest

Spain and Portugal. Denied a sea route

extent ever recorded in more than three

to Asia either around Africa or America,

decades of satellite measurements.

England, France and the Netherlands

The global consequences are already

were desperate to find a solution. The

being felt and rising sea levels are now

following centuries saw a succession of

affecting many low lying islands and

unsuccessful attempts, many of which

coastal areas, some of which lie on the

ended in tragedy. It was only early in the

route of the Blue Planet Odyssey.

last century that the Norwegian explorer

One third of the early confirmations are

Roald Amundsen finally managed to

from sailors who plan to sail the northern

navigate this treacherous waterway in

route and shows their determination to

the sloop Gjøa, but even he could only

carry the message of the Blue Planet

accomplish this feat by overwintering

Odyssey into those high latitudes.

twice between seasons. A number of

The start of the Blue Planet Odyssey

specially reinforced ships made the

from London on 20 July 2014 will mark

transit in subsequent years, but it was

the 45th anniversary of the first landing

only in August 2007 that the Northwest

on the moon, an achievement which, like

Passage became open to ships without

the transit of the Northwest Passage, was

the need of an icebreaker.

once regarded as impossible. Both at the

The opening of the Northwest Passage

time and in the intervening years, some

is among the most conspicuous results

people have questioned the justification

of global warming and the fact that a

of space exploration when those efforts

number of Blue Planet Odyssey boats will

and resources could have been put to

attempt to transit this once impenetrable

much better use in solving the many

Richard Hudson showing the way

There is no question that the Northwest Passage presents a considerable challenge

Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013 • 21

problems that we have here on earth. While the far more modest aims of the Blue Planet Odyssey cannot possibly be compared to the feat of landing a man on the moon, the fact that some sailors are prepared to take such a risk in order to highlights one of the greatest dangers faced by humankind today would no doubt attract the approval and praise of their famous predecessors: from Martin Frobisher and Roald Amundsen to Willie de Roos, Eric Brossier and some sixty other valiant sailors who have successfully completed the transit in recent years. Preparations for the Northwest Passage In preparation for the transit of the Northwest Passage, which I intend to do myself, I have been in contact with several sailors who have accomplished a transit in recent years, have attended several lectures on the subject, have read all relevant material that I could find, and have also consulted people who have worked in that area. I believe that I now have a fairly good idea of what such a transit entails. The main conclusion is that compared to other high latitude voyages, such as passages to Antarctica, Spitsbergen or Alaska, which are areas where I have sailed myself, the challenges poised by the Northwest Passage are entirely different. Whereas in the former cases, the success of a voyage depends primarily on the experience of the skipper and crew, as well as the suitability of the vessel, in other words, on objective criteria, in the case of the Northwest Passage, there are several subjective criteria which are entirely out your control and therefore can result in failure unless you are prepared to do

depot. For this reason it is strongly recommended that every

all in your power to minimize those risks.

vessel should carry sufficient fuel to be able to cover 1200 miles

For an east to west transit, as in the case of the proposed Blue

under power.

Planet Odyssey passage, the main points that need to be taken into consideration are the following:

◊ Unless the transit is completed in the early part of the summer, the days begin getting shorter and nights longer,

◊ The fact that the ice usually retreats from west to east

and sailing, or motoring, in the dark, may not be advisable

means that in most years the eastern approaches to the NW

or possible. A late arrival in the North Pacific may result in

Passage are the last to become free of ice. The way to overcome

unfavourable conditions for the continuation of the voyage to

this is to plan on arriving at the chosen point of departure in

British Columbia and the US west coast.

the second half of July, and be prepared to wait until the ice has

The alternative may be to spend the coming winter in Northern

started retreating to such an extent that a transit may be safely

Alaska, or sail to Hawaii and join the southern route in the

attempted. This tactic can entail a long wait, and also that one

Marquesas or Tahiti in April-May 2015.

must be ready to go as soon as conditions look favourable, as

The plan is for the Blue Planet Odyssey fleet to rendezvous in

the situation can change rapidly.

the chosen area by 20 July, and be ready to start the transit in a convoy as soon as conditions are favourable. In the event that

◊ Weather conditions in the Northwest Passage can be

conditions are not favourable and the transit cannot start by 15

unfavourable, with either contrary NW winds, or light winds and

August, the decision may be taken to abandon the transit and

calms, when the only solution is to proceed under power. This

sail south. That would mean joining the start from New York, sail

means having a good reserve of fuel and, although there are

to the Eastern Caribbean, merge with the boats on the southern

fuel depots along the way, being able to refuel at will cannot

route there and continue together to Panama. The other

be taken for granted for a variety of reasons. Some locations

alternative is to sail instead to Florida, take the Miami start, and

may not be accessible because of weather conditions, the depot

sail via Cuba to Panama to join the southern route at that point.

may be out of fuel, or the route may need to be altered because

At the moment, these are the plans for 2014. Those who intend

of weather conditions which would mean missing the nearest

to transit the Northwest Passage in 2015 will need to be

22 • Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013

prepared to keep up a sustained rhythm

Asia and on to Singapore and a long

once they have reached the North Pacific.

awaited rendezvous with the southern

The same considerations apply as for

fleet route.

the 2014 start although a slightly later

There is no question that the Northwest

completion of the transit may not be


so critical as continuing the voyage to

challenge but challenges are there to

Hawaii later in the season should be

be overcome, hence my late decision to

possible to accomplish. From Hawaii, the

have a new boat built and do it myself.

route continues via Micronesia to East

Northwest Passage, here we come!




Compared to other high latitude voyages, such as Antarctica, Spitsbergen or Alaska, the challenges poised by the Northwest Passage are entirely different” Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013 • 23

Comments on The Northwest passage I look forward to welcoming Eric Brossier


you soon in the Arctic!

he Arctic is the harbinger of the world’s climate. It is only 13 years since we started our Arctic voyaging, and in this relatively short time we regularly perceive obvious signs of major changes.

The evidence gathered by Arctic settlements all point in the


ailing above the Arctic Circle was everything we’d hoped it would be: challenging, frightening, beautiful, fulfilling. We’d been hypnotized and dazzled by the stark landscapes, the whales and

polar bears, the never-ending daylight. We’d been humbled by

same direction. The safe navigation season has increased in

the notion that we were passing through the same historic

the last 30 years from one to three months, the ice cap is no

waters where the heroic Roald Amundsen triumphed and the

longer as thick as it used to be in the heart of winter, some

tragic Franklin expedition came to grief.

areas have become accessible, and new plant and animal species

But stepping ashore in Pond Inlet was also bittersweet: due to

are arriving from the south. But higher temperatures do not

the diminished Arctic ice pack, we were one of many cruising

disappoint everyone! Neither does the idea of new employment

boats that have transited the once impassable Northwest

opportunities for young people, with increased marine traffic,

Passage in recent years in record-setting numbers. The Passage

tourism, mining and oil exploration.

remains one of the most remote and difficult voyages on the

Enjoy therefore your transit through the Northwest Passage,

planet, yet it is also a place that seems forever changed.

take the time to observe and listen, forget momentarily what

Herb McCormick

you read in the media, and be a witness on your return. A better understanding of the Arctic and its inhabitants should enable decision makers to make the right choices for the future.

Herb McCormick completed in 2009 a 28,000 miles circumnavigation of the Americas on the 64 foot steel Ocean Watch to raise awareness about the ailing health of the world’s oceans.

I look forward to welcoming you soon in the Arctic!

Eric Brossier

Eric Brossier and France Pinczon du Sel were the first navigators to complete a circumnavigation of the Arctic Ocean by transiting both the Northeast and Northwest Passages in 2002-2003 on their 15 metre steel yacht Vagabond. For the last five years they have been based in the Arctic, doing research work on the effects of climate change and the state of the polar icecap. They are now accompanied by five-year-old Leonie and three-year-old Aurore, and sent us this report from Ellesmere Island at the end of a very cold and dark winter.

24 • Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013

Herb McCormick at Gjөa Haven

Kim Mathiesen and Kirsten Thomsen





knows neither victory nor defeat – it just exists, grimly and sometimes terrifyingly

indifferent to our presence, just like the Southern Ocean. We have been astonishingly lucky and the best we can say is that we have negotiated our way through. We made some really good calls on the way, but each could have been disastrous had we been wrong. It has been the most difficult thing I have ever done – makes Cape Horn look like a jolly by comparison. As to the highlights: wonderful sunrises, sometimes with huge


bergs in glorious orange silhouette. he Northwest Passage has

point. I never gave much consideration


been a fantastic adventure

to how I felt, because at the time I was

superficially more like oversize, white,

for life. It is difficult to

far more focused on practical thoughts

friendly dolphins. I’d never seen a beluga

express in words the many

relating to quickly and safely getting

whale before, but I have to say it was love

impressions we have had on the way. How

out of the Arctic before the autumn. For

at first sight.

do you describe the crystal-clear air, the

example, the day after I got through the

Icebergs: blue, black in silhouette, square

colours, the ever-changing landscapes,

Bering Strait, instead of relaxing with

ones, shapes you can Rorschach into

the ice in all its blue white splendour, the

hot toddies and thinking about having

anything you like, little treelike ones,

midnight sun, the constantly changing

successfully completed the Northwest

huge rockpile ones, slabby ones and all

light, and moving through it all on a

Passage, I was dragging anchor in a


small sailboat? The community spirit and

strong gale in Port Clarence. So all I

Glaciers: mostly remains, as all of them

friendship with other sailors? Or the very

want to say is just how glad I am to have

must once have reached the sea. Now

special experience of having eye contact

done it.

most of them end a long way back up the

with a family of polar bears a few boat

Richard Hudson





slope, some several miles back. Bad news for the world.

lengths away?

Kim Mathiesen

Canadian Richard Hudson transited the

Alex Whitworth

Northwest Passage on his steel schooner Danish sailors Kirsten Thomsen and Kim

Issuma from east to west in 2011.

Australian Alex Whitworth completed his

Mathiesen transited the Northwest Passage

second circumnavigation of the globe

from west to east in 2012 on Sol, a

(2008-2010) via the Northwest Passage on

Beneteau First 42, at the end of a 38,000 mile voyage that took them to Cape Horn

Richard Hudson

the 33 foot Berrimilla 2.

and South Georgia. Alex Whitworth


ailing the Northwest Passage took




spread over three years Once I got delayed with dengue

fever and twice I had to turn back with mechanical problems. I was very happy (and relieved) to have finally completed the Northwest Passage when I passed through the Bering Strait, because I really wanted to get on with my life at that

Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013 • 25

The youngest ARC participant

About friends becoming a family Jimmy Cornell

The Odyssey – A True

Family Affair F rom the moment the first ARC was launched, it

with his preparations but then had a skiing accident and this

became very clear that the rally was going to be a

time his doctor insisted that he call off his voyage. “If you

family affair as the majority of the boats that joined

are all so concerned with the state of my health,” he told his

were crewed by couples. We remarked on this in our

doctor, “then you, the cardiologist and the orthopaedic surgeon

first newsletter in a report entitled “Into the ARC two by two”.

must come along, because I am definitely going!” And so

There were also a

he did, accompanied

number of families


with children and the

grandchildren and the

youngest participant

three doctors.



in the ARC, aged four months, had not even


been born when his

Odyssey must have

parents sent in the

been infected by a

entry form with just a


question mark for the

with several romances

third crew member.

flourishing between


crews from different







boats, not even sparing

America 500 in 1992


also included many

Odyssey team itself,

family crews, several


parents wanting their

Melissa Ellis:

children to sail in this

Lois and Don Babson receiving the Spirit of the Millennium Odyssey Award

Millennium described


When the Blue Planet

special event. Many of those who sailed in America 500 joined

Odyssey departs from London in 2014, it will mark 15 years since

later rallies, among them Don and Lois Babson on Que Sera Sera,

I sailed around the world on my family’s boat in the Millennium

who wrote:

Odyssey. On board were my father (Lou), mother (Jacky), brother (Lou

The most significant decision for us was to join a rally. Had we not

Junior) and two family friends Bill and Tom. But we also cherished

joined America 500, there would have been no Atlantic crossing for

our extended sailing family of the Millennium Odyssey, which to this

us in 1992. Without that experience, and without the Millennium

day includes some of our closest friends. As friendships developed

Odyssey, there would have been no round the world voyage for us

in the Millennium Odyssey, our boat became almost the sailing

either. Without those rallies the friendships amongst the whole

equivalent of the TV show “The Love Boat”. The rally set the stage for

fleet, which will last for many years, would have never developed.

Bill, Tom and my brother LJ each to find partners and get married,

The shared accomplishments will live in each of us forever.

and for me to run off and marry John Ellis, the Event Director of the Millennium Odyssey.

Sailing in one of the early ARCs was Three Generations, a large

We are now spread all over the globe from America and England

yacht whose owner, an elderly Swiss gentleman in his seventies,

to South Africa, with young families of our own, that hopefully one

had been warned by his doctor not to risk an Atlantic crossing

day will have the same opportunities I had to sail the world. The

because of his heart condition. Undeterred by this he continued

last time we all got together was for my fathers’ funeral last year.

26 • Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013

Through this difficult time I came to realise how fortunate I was to have my extended family and also how important it was for my father to have achieved his lifelong goal of sailing around the world with his family. Melissa’s brother Lou, who will be sailing in the Blue Planet Odyssey, also reminisces about sailing as family: Where to start? Best start with the best part, life long memories. My family always remembers the best parts of our trips and the worst seem to fade away. Cool places and fun new friends trump storms and breakdowns every time. The biggest struggle sailing with the family is the close quarters 24 x 7. There’s really no place to escape. On the other hand, I feel that sailing families seem closer than most. During the Millennium Odyssey, our boat Risque was the only boat that started and finished with the same crew that included four family members, even picking up a few including Zetty, my future wife. As we prepare for the Blue Planet Odyssey a lot of thought and research is going into our three smallest crew members’ safety, comfort, happiness and learning needs. We have started increased home learning time so that they get used to the idea of our being their teachers for home schooling. Winters in Wisconsin are good training

John, Melissa, Tom, Zetty, Lou and Bill Millennium Odyssey tempted Ivan to take

determined to play an active part, niece

a sabbatical leave to sail to Antarctica on

Marianne planning to incorporate it in

Aventura III, from where we continued all

her television work, as well as Gwenda

the way to Alaska, being joined along the

and Ivan stepping in whenever their help

way by my niece Marianne. My daughter

is needed.

Doina returned to the family fold to help

Apart from the family aspect, we are

with America 500 and continued being

now building up a strong Blue Planet

involved with various projects, including

Odyssey team, led by John Ellis, who was

managing the website noonsite.com. It

Event Director of several previous round

was Doina who played a major part in

the world events. Other people who

the decision to launch the Blue Planet

have worked with us in the past have

Odyssey, on which she is now working

indicated that they wish to rejoin us for

full time. The Blue Planet Odyssey has

this special event and will contribute

now turned into yet another family

greatly from their local knowledge of the


places we shall be sailing to.




for the cold conditions in the Northwest Passage, and we try to expose them safely and make it fun. Zetty and I always knew we would find a way to take our girls long distance cruising. This is part of what we see as vital family life. The love of sailing and adventure as a family is a gift given to us by our own parents and one that we are passing on to our children. But it was not just participants who turned the rallies into a family affair, as the very first ARC was managed just by Gwenda and myself, although we did get some volunteers to help us from among the families taking part. My son Ivan helped launch the first round the world rally in 1991 and also skippered Aventura II for part of her circumnavigation. The

Ivan, Doina, Gwenda and Jimmy Cornell Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013 • 27

Benjamin Riddle and Joseph Richardson

Pablo Aguilera

John and Linda Andrews

It couldn’t be done without you

being our most enthusiastic participant so far, writing: “We are incredibly excited about this, it comes at the perfect time in our lives. This event is my dream come true... I have told people my entire life that I wanted to sail the world and couple that with a higher purpose. And this is truly it.

Blue Planet Odyssey Participants

I would love to help this cause both by being a participant and by helping to raise


awareness both of the event and of its aim.“ rom the very moment the

touch wanting to sail the northern route

Blue Planet Odyssey was

before we had even officially launched

Also sailing the southern route, with a

launched at the end of

the Blue Planet Odyssey. UK based and

plan to take the start from Cape Town,

2012, what has always stood

sailing on Suilven, an Oyster 47, they

are Octaaf and Alma Bulterys.

out are the reasons sailors have given

are already experienced sailors, having

Octaaf is about to take his retirement and

for wanting to take part in this event.

most recently sailed the Beagle Channel

has given a good deal of thought about

Topping the list have been a real concern

and cruised extensively in the Caribbean,

the most suitable boat to sail in the

for the environment and a desire to

Atlantic and east coast of South America.

Odyssey. Alma suffers from seasickness

give something back to the remote

They are planning to join in Bergen and

so an early choice was to go for a

communities we sail to – which just goes

sail the Northwest Passage to Vancouver.

multihull, eventually opting for a Leopard

to show that sailors have understood

48 catamaran called Living for Wind.

very well the ethos which underpins this



Octaaf writes that he decided to join the

unique event.

Benjamin Riddle and Joseph

Blue Planet Odyssey because he has been






dreaming for a long time about sailing

John and Linda Andrews were

their 50 foot German Frers Whirlwind.

around the world with nature’s powers,

among the very first to join, and got in

Benjamin should receive the laurel for

being as carbon neutral as possible.


28 • Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013


The Smart family

Eric and Patricia Franguel

Robert and Andrea Schwamberg

Jimmy Cornell

The Smart family from the UK are

moment and we will be cruising Spain and

and timely. This will fulfil my dream for

one of several families with children.

the Balearics this year. Andrea has yet to

a circumnavigation and I can’t think of a

Julian is British, Albane is French and

experience blue water cruising so we are

better reason for doing so! With my ocean

they have three children; Hugo 10, James

looking for an experienced sailing couple

engineering background and being located

9 and Daisy 6. Albane writes, “We are very

that do not have a vessel to join with us

close to the University of Miami’s Rosentiel

excited by the whole project and we are

and share some expenses.”

School of Marine and Atmospheric Science,

kitting up our boat for the long voyage. We

I decided to see how the program goals of

hope that several other families will join

Eric and Patricia Franguel will

the rally could be developed. Jimmy and

the Blue Planet Odyssey, so it would make

sail their Fountain-Pajot 44 catamaran

I met with graduate students to explore

the experience even more unforgettable for

Gemeaux along the southern route of

the feasibility of setting up monitoring

the children!! Our children are quite excited

the Odyssey. They plan to start in the

instruments to record marine, atmospheric

by the whole concept and understand why

Canary Islands and finish either in the

and possibly ambient sound data while

we are joining. We are happy to share

Mediterranean or back in their home port

the vessels are in transit. I certainly look

notes and ideas with other families on

of Concarneau in Brittany. Eric explained

forward to participating in some of these

preparations and getting ready. We hope to

that he wanted to join the Odyssey


see you on the water!”

because he “had been looking for an event of this kind for a long time.” So much

For Jimmy Cornell, the opportunity

From the other side of the globe

so, that he was the very first to pay the

to face the challenges of the Northwest


registration fee.





Schwamberg. Robert and Andrea live


irresistible, so


commissioned a new Aventura from a

in Byron Bay, Australia, and for the last

Pablo Aguilera first learned about

leading French boatyard. Aventura IV

four years have spent their summers

the Blue Planet Odyssey at a presentation

will be “the embodiment of all that I

sailing in the Mediterranean. “A very

given by Jimmy Cornell at the SSCA Gam

have learnt in four decades of cruising; a

exciting project and worthwhile cause”

in Melbourne, Florida last December.

safe, comfortable, functional and fast yacht

is how Robert has described the Blue

“I was immediately hooked. I made the

perfectly suited for both the tropics and high

Planet Odyssey. “We are now starting to

commitment right there and then to become

latitude sailing, a proper expedition boat.

look at commencing a circumnavigation,

a participant and to assist Jimmy in any

Having searched all my life for the ideal

and the Blue Planet Odyssey seems perfect

way that I could since the climate change

cruising boat, I believe that Aventura IV

for us as our boat is in France at the

theme of the rally is so critically important

will come as close as possible to that ideal.”

Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013 • 29

Confirmed Participants List TBA = to be announced Boat Name








Oyster 47

John & Linda Andrews

United Kingdom




Festina Lente

Discovery 55

Nick Pochin

United Kingdom




Living for Wind

Leopard 48

Octaaf & Alma Bulterys

South Africa


Cape Town


Libby Super

Maramu 53

Terry & Dena Singh





Khujada 2

Ovni 395

Albane & Julian Smart

United Kingdom






Lou & Zetty Morgan






Fountain-Pajot Helia 44

Eric & Patricia Frangeul






Outremer 45

Udo & Regin Bönicke






Outremer 49

Francis Compton






Beneteau Oceanis 40

Pablo Aguilera






Hallberg Rassy 46

Robert & Andrea Schwamberg






Lagoon 450

Paul Hart






German Frers 50

Benjamin Riddle & Joseph Richardson






Beneteau First 47

Richard Lednicky & Andrea Van Hoven



New York




Nick and Anne Drover

United Kingdom




Marco Polo

Outremer 46

Jan Michel Pinto da Silva





Aventura IV

Exploration 45

Jimmy Cornell

United Kingdom



30 • Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013

Jimmy Cornell

Cornell Sailing

Start of the first ARC in 1986

A Brief History of Events

Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) The launch of the first transatlantic rally in 1986 is one of the

years, this continues to be one of its main attractions. A

main achievements of my life and the immediate success of

series of lectures and practical demonstrations held during

the annual ARC inspired similar rallies all over the world. One

the week before the start, focussing primarily on safety,

of the advantages of cruising rallies is that the organisers take

have laid the foundation of the ARC’s good safety record.

care of everything: formalities, docking, weather and routing

Communications have always played an equally important part

information, as well as transits of the Panama and Suez Canals.

and in recent years there has been a dramatic shift to satellite

There is also the safety in numbers factor and being able to

communications. In the past most boats had a SSB radio and

get help or advice in an emergency from fellow participants.

this continues to be the main means of communication among

Another advantage is that there is a fixed schedule, which

ARC boats at sea, even if the number of SSB radios has declined

imposes a certain discipline. As many of the participants are

as increasingly people prefer to communicate by email or

business people, retired or close to retirement, they seem to

satellite phone.

appreciate this aspect and also the fact that they can delegate responsibility, much as they would in their professional lives.

Round the world rallies

From the very beginning, one of the primary aims of the ARC was to provide a framework of safety and support to sailors who

Symbolic historic events or anniversaries have a special

lacked offshore experience and, in spite of changes over the

fascination for me, so when I started organising international sailing events the rallies were a readymade vehicle to promote and celebrate some of the most significant dates of our times. Europa 92 The success of the ARC served as an inspiration for the first round the world rally, something that had never been done before. Being a great believer in the European concept I had decided to call the first round the world rally Europa 92, wanting to do something to celebrate this burgeoning political union that promised to bring peace and prosperity to a continent that had been divided and at war for so many centuries. Europa 92 started from Gibraltar at the beginning of January 1991. A Gibraltar start was both logical and convenient. The

Europa 92 skippers with the King of Tonga Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013 • 31

Europa 92 fleet in Tahiti

weather was acceptable for a winter start, it was perfectly located

round the world race for amateur sailors that eventually led to

for both the start and finish and was easy for the participants to

the Hong Kong Challenge.

get to from both the Mediterranean and Northern Europe. The route and timing of the rally had been chosen carefully to take

America 500

advantage of favourable seasons as well as winds throughout the projected route. Also, knowing that most participants wanted

Long before the first round the world rally took off, I became

to accomplish a round the world voyage in the shortest time

intrigued by the imminent approach of one of the most

possible and were not interested in dallying too long en route,

important nautical anniversaries of the twentieth century,

the rally was to last a total of only seventeen months. This was

that of Christopher Columbus’s voyage to the New World in

rather a tall order, but in the end proved to be the ideal solution

1492. There were to be several major sailing events to follow

and it was not altered in the following rally.

the historic route from Spain to the Bahamas and I could not

The fleet that left from Gibraltar was joined in the Eastern

resist the temptation to make my own contribution. The idea

Caribbean or Panama by a number of US boats. Everywhere it

of America 500 was soon born, a rally for cruising yachts that

stopped, the rally was received with great enthusiasm, local

would follow Columbus’s original route. Half of the 146 yachts

people and officials welcoming the participants with open arms.

that took part had sailed across the Atlantic to the start from the

Cruising stages of adequate length had been carefully planned

New World, with the largest national contingent from the USA,

in between the offshore legs, giving participants, their crew and

but also yachts from Canada, Mexico and Argentina.

families who were joining underway, a perfect opportunity to

Columbus and his small fleet had left from the small Andalucian

visit some of the most attractive cruising grounds in the world.

port of Palos at dawn on August 2, 1492. Following in Columbus’s footsteps I had managed to obtain permission to bring our own

Europa 94

skippers to the same room in the ancient La Rabida monastery, where Columbus had briefed his captains. Just as happened on

The unquestioned success of that first round the world rally

the eve of their departure five hundred years earlier, the America

proved the validity of its basic concept and was followed

500 skippers had their briefing in the very same room as their

three years later by a similar event along a similar route. Any

illustrious predecessors. The highlight of the festivities was an

difficulties encountered in the first round the world rally

unforgettable flamenco opera based on the Columbus story and

were mostly ironed out in the second, chief among them an

played in an amphitheatre below the walls of the monastery

improvement in communications between the shore-based

attended by thousands of people and all our participants.

rally staff and participants, and also among the participants

At dawn on 2 August 1992, the America 500 skippers and

themselves. Compared to the first rally, participants in Europa

some of their crews attended a special mass and blessing in

94 were more competitive. Such interest in competition, which

the small church of St George where Columbus and his crews

was also becoming evident in the ARC, showed the need for a

had worshipped on the morning of their departure. While

32 • Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013

Columbus had unknowingly crossed the

Hong Kong Challenge

Atlantic at the height of the hurricane

The race marked several significant firsts and will be remembered as such: the first

season (September) it would have been

Never at a loss for inspiration, the rapidly

round the world ocean race to transit the

irresponsible for us to do the same. For

approaching date of the handover of

Panama Canal, the first such event to visit

this reason the Atlantic crossing was

Hong Kong to China in 1996 provided

Hawaii, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

postponed to later in the season when

the theme of yet another special event.

In spite of its toughness and length the

there was no risk of a hurricane.

Because of the location of Hong Kong

Hong Kong Challenge was completed

After the start in Las Palmas de Gran

as well as other practical considerations

without serious mishaps by all yachts, sailed mostly by amateurs. Expo 98 Round the World Rally Soon after the end of the second round the world rally, I started planning a third one and, having drawn a blank with getting any support from Europe, was now actively looking for a suitable theme. One day I read a long report in a London newspaper describing the ambitious plans that the Portuguese government was drawing up for the anniversary of Vasco da Gama’s voyage around Africa in 1498. The planned celebrations were to be incorporated into a big world exhibition to be built on the banks of the river Tagus in Lisbon. The theme of Expo 98 was “The Oceans, a Heritage for the Future”. I knew instantly that there

America 500 participants before the start in Palos

couldn’t be a more suitable theme for my next round the world rally. Fortunately,

Canaria, a symbolic stop was made at

I soon realised that this was not to be

the organisers of the world exhibition

the small island of La Gomera where

another cruising rally. The route and

agreed and offered to sponsor the rally

Columbus himself had left from on 6

weather conditions were much tougher

provided it started and finished in Lisbon

September 1492. After the skippers had

and could only suit larger yachts sailed

and the route included as many current or

had their special souvenir logbooks

by experienced crews. For all these

former Portuguese territories as possible.

signed by the mayor of La Gomera they

reasons the Hong Kong Challenge was

The timing also had to be adjusted so

walked to the nearby church of the

to be a proper round the world race

that we would be back in Lisbon for the

Assumption where Columbus and his

for ocean going yachts. Once again the

grand opening in May 1998.

sailors had prayed all those years ago.

idea was greeted with enthusiasm and

Christmas 1996 found our 36 yachts

The fleet made a fast 3000 mile passage

eventually a dozen yachts sailed in the

tethered to a couple of pontoons in

to the small island of San Salvador

event. From the start in London, where

a commercial dock on the Tagus. The

in the Bahamas, where Columbus and

the iconic Tower Bridge was specially

following day all yachts headed for the

his three caravels made landfall on 12

opened for the fleet to commence its

start line in front of Henry the Navigator’s

October 1492. From there we sailed

passage down the river Thames, the

monument, being helped both by a

over to George Town in Great Exuma

yachts sailed via the Canaries to Panama,

favourable wind and tide. Eight of the

whose large protected harbour was the

transited the Canal, proceeded to Hawaii

yachts were flying the Portuguese flag

only place capable of sheltering such

and Japan before arriving in Hong Kong.

and not surprisingly we were welcomed

a large fleet. It was there that the final

The return voyage took the yachts via the

warmly in all the Portuguese territories.

America 500 celebrations took place, an

South Indian Ocean, around the Cape of

In many of the stops, Expo 98 arranged

unforgettable finale to a unique event.

Good Hope to Brazil, then finally back to

receptions for local dignitaries and rally


participants. On our arrival in South

Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013 • 33

Africa, the rally was welcomed by the King and Queen of the Zulus, who presented all participants with exquisite carvings of wild animals. The stop in Salvador da Bahia was timed to coincide with the colourful carnival and the famous samba groups were joined by our participants with great enthusiasm even if less dancing skill. With perfect timing we sailed up the River Tagus on the day of the opening of Expo 98 and the yachts were docked in a special pool inside the large exhibition. Our crews, including the scores of friends and families who had joined them, had the run of the place as they could roam freely around the exhibition, night and day. It was a wonderful atmosphere that kept some of them there for weeks. The end was not too painful, as I knew that we

The lighting of the Millennium Flame in Jerusalem

would be back with the Millennium Odyssey before Expo 98

into the early history of man I saw that the gift of fire to another

closed. And so we were.

clan or tribe must have been the original symbol of peace, an early instance of man stretching out his hand in help to a fellow

Millennium Odyssey

human being. My idea therefore was for a symbolic Millennium Flame to circle the globe and bring everywhere a message of

The impending new millennium and its huge potential had my

hope, understanding and, above all, peace.

mind already spinning in the early 1990s and I was keen to

The true meaning of the millennium celebrations imposed

organise something unique and original for this very special

its own parameters and, in spite of a certain reluctance, the

occasion. A round the world rally was quite obviously the logical

Christian dimension could not be ignored. The rally, therefore,

answer but, for the first time, I was stuck for a suitable theme. I

had to have a symbolic start in Jerusalem and an equally

mulled over the millennium’s historic significance, international

symbolic finish in Rome - with the whole wide world in between.

implications and its religious foundation… and still could see no

A small fleet of Millennium Odyssey yachts gathered in the

light at the end of the tunnel. But gradually those very elements

Israeli port of Ashkelon early in August 1998 for the start of

started to coalesce, come into focus and the idea started to

the most ambitious project I had ever undertaken. One morning

take shape by itself. This would be an opportunity not only

we all drove to Jerusalem to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre,

to celebrate the arrival of a new millennium, but much more

where the Orthodox Church, who had administered this holy

important, to mark a milestone in the history of humankind

place throughout its turbulent history, had agreed to put on

that after the fall of communism promised to usher in an age of

a special ceremony for the lighting of the Millennium Lamps.

peace, international harmony and understanding. Looking back

These had been specially designed and each participating yacht

Aventura III in Antarctica 34 • Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013

was to carry a lamp and its flame around the world. At every stop the flame was to be handed over to local dignitaries in a special ceremony. Gathered in the smoky gloom in front of the tomb of the Saviour the venerable Russian Patriarch emerged from the narrow tunnel leading to the Holy Sepulchre and, from a blazing torch that he had lit from a candle on the tomb, transferred the flame to the expectant skippers. The moving ceremony having been completed we all went into a neighbouring side chapel where the Papal Nuncio, Monsignor Pietro Sambi, blessed us, prayed for the safe completion of our endeavour and then ended with a statement that filled my eyes with tears. ‘My heart is filled with joy that your very special event has

Millennium Odyssey fleet at the Expo 98 world exhibition

already borne fruit because as far as I know this is the very first

points that were meant to be signed by a high official at each of

time in the 2000 year old history of this venerable place that

the flame handing over ceremonies.

our two religions had actually agreed to give their support and

Among those who signed were the Papal Nuncio in Jerusalem,

cooperation to one project.’

the President of Panama, the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro and HRH

While the Jerusalem fleet made its way across the Mediterranean,

Princess Pilolevu of Tonga. The pages that I treasure most in

another fleet had left London for the rendezvous in Lisbon.

Aventura’s logbook are those signed by all the scientists of the

Having opened Expo 98 in May, the organisers of the international

Ukrainian Vernadsky station in Antarctica, the distinctive stamp

exhibition had enthusiastically agreed to host the Millennium

added by the keeper of the lighthouse at Cape Horn, and the

Odyssey fleet inside the exhibition. The merging of the two

signatures of some of my Pitcairn friends.

fleets in Lisbon was a joyful occasion made even more enjoyable

Special ceremonies, combined with cruising interludes marked

by the many families joining the crews during the exciting last

the rally’s passage through the rest of the South Pacific with

days of the highly successful show. With perfect timing our world

the highlight at the resort of Musket Cove, an unforgettable

voyage departed just as the curtain fell on the world exhibition.

traditional Fijian welcome ceremony. In Bali it was time for

In Las Palmas the fleet split in two as, in order to cover as much

the two fleets to go their separate ways again. A smaller fleet

as possible of the world, I had devised two very different routes:

headed along the more difficult route across the South Indian

a warm water route that went through the Panama Canal and

Ocean and the Cape of Good Hope while a larger group pointed

the tropics, which attracted the bulk of the fleet, and a cold

their bows for the Red Sea and Mediterranean. What stood out

water high latitude alternative via Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope. While the warm water fleet was to head west via the Panama Canal, seven of the more daring yachts set sail south from the Canaries towards Brazil, Argentina, the Falklands and Southern Chile. Nowhere was the symbolic gesture of the handing over of the Millennium Flame appreciated more than at the Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro where a famous Brazilian sculptor had created a huge frame to hold the tiny millennium lamp that was guarded by a Republican Guard in full ceremonial uniform. In Tahiti the smaller fleet was reunited with those that had transited the Panama Canal and which earlier had been joined by a number of American yachts that had started from Florida. From Tahiti, the combined fleet proceeded westward to Tonga, where the skippers were received at the Royal Palace by HRH Princess Pilolevu, her interest in the current rally going back to the very first round the world rally when she had graciously agreed to come to Gibraltar to give the start of Europa 92. A unique feature of the Millennium Odyssey was the special souvenir logbooks that had been produced for each yacht. Each log had the usual pages for daily entries and notes to refresh the memory. Specially designed pages were inserted at the relevant Jimmy Cornell and John Ellis presenting the Millennium Flame to Gaston Tong Sang, Mayor of Bora Bora Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013 • 35

in this part of the world was the enthusiastic welcome the

The Grand Finale

flame ceremony received everywhere from Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims just as in previous countries we had been warmly

The successful finish of the Millennium Odyssey also marked the

welcomed by various Christian denominations.

end of my career as a rally organiser. Or so I thought at the time.

While the main fleet spent some time in South East Asia, a

Increasingly concerned about the effects of climate change,

smaller fleet sailed across the South Atlantic to Salvador da

an issue of such global importance that it must no longer be

Bahia in Brazil, where, once again, the arrival coincided with

ignored, led to my decision to launch the Blue Planet Odyssey

that city’s unique carnival. From Brazil, the fleet continued to

because of my conviction that many sailors share my concern

the Eastern Caribbean and in Antigua it was time to bid farewell

for the future of our planet. The start of the Blue Planet

to the American participants who were sailing home. Early in

Odyssey will mark 40 years of my cruising life. My first Aventura

2000 the larger Millennium fleet sailed across the North Indian

was launched in London on 20 July 1974 and the Blue Planet

Ocean to the Red Sea, Suez Canal and Mediterranean. The final

Odyssey will start from London on 20 July 2014. During these

stop was in Rome’s ancient port of Civitavecchia where we were

four eventful decades I have not only realised my childhood

joined by families and friends that had flown in from all over

dream of sailing the oceans, but have also managed to combine

the world.

it with my professional life, as a journalist, writer and event

Millennium Easter Monday had been set aside for a large

organiser. I have sailed to some of the remotest parts of the

outdoor ceremony in St Peter’s Square where the Millennium

globe and have been privileged to encounter some of the

Odyssey contingent had been reserved places in a special

most isolated communities. Therefore I decided that for me the

enclosure among the 100,000 pilgrims from around the world.

Blue Planet Odyssey will be payback time. I want to show my

I had the great honour to hand over the Millennium Flame to

gratitude to those people all over the world who have welcomed

Pope John Paul II. With a warm smile on his face he asked about

me, as well as countless other sailors, with warmth, friendship

our rally and I explained briefly how the flame had reached him

and generosity. As this Odyssey calls at places where people’s

and how our message of peace had travelled around the world.

lives are already affected by climate change, we want them to

36 • Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013

The start of the Blue Planet Odyssey will mark 40 years of my cruising life” know that cruising sailors care for them and empathise with

3. Take part in local community projects in the places

their concerns.

A logical development was to build a new boat to take part in

4. Take an active part in scientific research programs dealing

this event. Aventura IV will attempt to incorporate everything

that I have learnt during four decades of offshore sailing, and

5. Participate in an educational program aimed at school

come as close as possible to my ideal cruising boat. Once again,

my boat is built to sail in a round the world event, the Blue

6. Use this opportunity to involve your local community,

Planet Odyssey being the most ambitious project that I have

school, radio station, TV channel, newspaper, current

ever undertaken.

work place and colleagues in this worthwhile project.

visited by the rally. with the most immediate effects of climate change. children worldwide.

7. Sail in the company of like-minded people who share your

concern for the future of our planet.

8. Sail in an organised event where some of the tedious

Ten reasons why you should be part of the Blue Planet Odyssey

aspects of cruising are taken care of by the organisers, and

enjoy the security of sailing as part of a larger group, with

the benefit of support in emergencies and help from fellow

1. Sail around the world not just to fulfill your dream of


completing a circumnavigation but do it for a higher

9. Be part of a great adventure and grasp this opportunity to do

purpose: to raise awareness of the effects of climate


10. Be able to tell your children, grandchildren, friends,

it before it is too late.

2. Carry a message of friendship and goodwill to some of the

neighbours and colleagues that you have at least tried

most endangered places on the planet and show those

to do your little bit for the future of the planet.

people that the outside world, represented by us cruising

sailors, cares about them and is concerned for their future.

Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013 • 37

Essential Reading from Adlard Coles Nautical

‘The undisputed authority on long distance voyaging’ YACHTING LIFE Subscribe to the Adlard Coles Nautical newsletter for exclusive discounts, additional content and competitions throughout the year, by visiting


Weekend seminar on long distance cruising cornell sailing

October 13-14, 2013

Maritime Institute

of Technology Conference Center

Blue Planet Log

Linthicum, Maryland Editor Jimmy Cornell Managing Editor Doina Cornell Subeditor Gwenda Cornell Graphic Artist Joerg Baginski

38 • Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013

Day One

Day Two

• Voyage and passage planning • Planning and navigation apps • Essential aspects of voyage preparation • Offshore communications • Weather symbols and chart interpretation • Medical emergencies • Offshore forecasts and weather routing • Downwind sails • Ocean currents • AIG and collision avoidance • Marine weather self-reliance concepts • View from the bridge simulation • Climate change and its effects on voyage planning • Liferaft pool demonstration • Tropical and high latitude navigation • Northwest Passage briefing • Offshore routines • Personal safety Anyone is welcome to join this wide-ranging seminar on all aspects of world cruising hosted by noted experts in their field, such as Jimmy Cornell and meteorologist Lee Chesneau. seminars@cornellsailing.com | www.cornellsailing.com/seminars

Contributors Aliki Faipule Foua Toloa, Chris Bone, Marianne Aschenbrenner, John Ellis, Melissa Ellis, Lou Morgan, Nera Cornell

© Blue Planet Odyssey Ltd. 50 Great Russell Street London WC1B 3BA United Kingdom

Photographs Chris Bone (p. 4, 5), Marianne Aschenbrenner (p. 11), Nera Cornell (p. 15), Richard Hudson (p. 21, 23, 25), Kim Mathiesen (p. 21, 22, 25), David Thoreson (p. 24), Eric Brossier (p. 20), Jimmy Cornell (all others)

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Blue Planet LOG • Issue 1 • April 2013 • 39

Profile for WerbSachen

Blue Planet Log Issue 1  

The Blue Planet Odyssey is a round the world sailing event aiming to raise awareness of the global effects of climate change. The event is s...

Blue Planet Log Issue 1  

The Blue Planet Odyssey is a round the world sailing event aiming to raise awareness of the global effects of climate change. The event is s...